New York Rangers vs. Washington Capitals, 7:30 PM at Madison Square Garden
Game 7, Eastern Conference Semifinals (Series Tied 3-3)
Where To Watch: NBC Sports Network
Where To Listen: 98.7 FM ESPN New York, and newyorkrangers.com
Post-Game Coverage: MSG Network (player interviews, expert analysis, and more)
Live In-Game Chat: 7:15 PM at BlueshirtsUnited.com
For the second time in two weeks the Rangers will host a playoff Game 7 on home ice, with a victory catapulting them into the next round of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs and a loss causing an abrupt end to their magical season. In the first round this spring the Rangers bested the Ottawa Senators 2-1 in Game 7, with defensemen Marc Staal and Dan Girardi scoring the goals. The Rangers are now 4-0 all-time when hosting a playoff Game 7 at Madison Square Garden, and they are 4-5 all-time in Game Sevens. Their most recent Game 7 defeat came in 2009 at the hands of the Capitals at the Verizon Center when Washington completed a comeback from a 3-1 series deficit. Saturday Washington will be looking to complete a comeback from a 3-2 series deficit. They started that comeback with an impressive 2-1 home-ice victory over the Rangers in Game 6 on Wednesday, and will look to ride their stingy defense to another big win Saturday. The Capitals also have had some Game 7 magic during these playoffs, having ousted the defending Stanley Cup champion Bruins up in Boston with a 2-1 overtime victory, courtesy of Joel Ward's game-winner. The Caps might be forced to play once again without injured center Jay Beagle, who sat out Game 6 with an unspecified injury. The Rangers, who seem set to reunite the Chris Kreider-Derek Stepan-Ryan Callahan line, will be missing Brandon Dubinsky again. Dubinsky has missed the entire series with an undisclosed injury.
Rangers-Henrik Lundqvist: Who else really to pick in this category? Lundqvist is the best and most consistent Ranger, and plays the most crucial position. Lundqvist has posted a 1.73 goals against average and .936 save percentage in 13 playoff games this spring, and has allowed 12 goals in six games in this series. Yet again the Rangers will look to their goalie to be their biggest difference-maker in Game 7.
Capitals-Jason Chimera: The player with seven career playoff goals, has scored five of those against the Rangers. This spring Chimera has three goals in six games---to go along with an assist---against the Rangers. he always seems to be in the right place at the right time, and his speed is a major pain in the neck to the Blueshirts. There are bigger names on the Capitals roster, but perhaps none hurts the Rangers more often than Chimera.
"It's pretty exciting. It's going to be fun, I think. We have an opportunity to advance, and they probably look at it the same way. It doesn't matter how we got here, it's 3-3 after six, so just throw it all out and play one more game. It's Game 7 at home. Doesn't get much better than that."-Brian Boyle
There have been only 25 goals scored in this extremely even series: 13 for the Rangers and 12 for the Capitals. Both teams have scored four power play goals, and neither team has scored more than three goals in any of the six games to date.
Twleve of the thirteen games the Capitals have played in the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs have been decided by one goal. The only non one-goal game played by Washington was Game 1 against the Rangers, won by the Blueshirts 3-1.
Plain and simple: do the Rangers win and advance for a third-round meeting with the Devils or do they lose and start their summer vacation?