The Rangers head into this afternoon’s must-win Game 6 against Washington with one of their high-priced, big talent players starting on the fourth line.
According to the line rushes in warmups before the game, center Brad Richards is slated on the fourth line with Chris Kreider (filling in for the injured Ryane Clowe) and Arron Asham. In the first five games of the series Richards has one goal and no assists and he along with Rick Nash have been major disappointments.
Curiously enough, however, Richards’ history in elimination games is strong. In 13 career games where his team could be knocked out he has seven goals. A goal or two today would go a long way towards extending the Rangers season. That said, another no-show game might fire up rumors about a possible amnesty buyout this summer once again.
Defenseman Marc Staal returned for Game 3 of the New York Rangers’ first-round series against the Washington Capitals on Monday after missing roughly two months due to a scary eye injury.
The Rangers have moved him back on the sidelines though after he logged 17:17 minutes in his return. He wasn’t statistically noteworthy in the Rangers’ 4-3 victory, but he did have an impact in that contest.
“It’s huge. He makes the D-core calm,” Rangers forward Derek Stepan said after Monday’s game. “He’s got a presence about him that he can just control a game. He did a great job tonight.”
It’s not clear why Staal isn’t playing, but he did admit on Monday that his “eye was kind of acting up” last week, according to the Bergen Record’s Tom Gulitti.
The good news for New York Rangers’ fans is Ryane Clowe will return from an undisclosed injury. He’s projected to play with Derek Dorsett and Arron Asham in his 2013 playoffs debut.
It wasn’t quite the defensive battle the first two games of the series were, but the Rangers did the right things (like scoring goals) to take Game 3 in dramatic fashion 4-3.
It wouldn’t be the superstars doing the damage for the Rangers in this one as Brian Boyle, Derick Brassard, and Arron Asham scored their first three goals. New York finally broke through on the power play on Brassard’s second period tally. It would be Derek Stepan, however, that cast the dagger with 6:25 to play beating Braden Holtby for the game-winner.
The Caps would get a chance late as Brad Richards slashed Alex Ovechkin with just under two minutes to play. Ovechkin helped sell the call by throwing his head back, but the Rangers PK did the rest of the work not allowing a shot on goal in the final 1:56 as the Caps pulled Holtby to make it 6-on-4 in the closing minutes.
Some talking points to digest:
— Even though the Rangers got off the power play schneid, they still went 1-6 on the man advantage in the game. Boyle’s goal was very nearly a PPG, but came just seconds after the advantage ended.
— You can bet your money on the talk being on Ovechkin helping sell the call on Richards. Debate it if you want, but Richards certainly committed a penalty. Do you think an referee is going to book Ovechkin for embellishment there?
— Goaltending had been such a storyline with both Holtby and Henrik Lundqvist playing strong. Not so much tonight as Holtby gave up four on 30 shots. Lundqvist giving up three in 31 shots is rather average.
— They always say it’s not a series til the road team wins and the Caps sure weren’t fazed by the hostile crowd at MSG. Perhaps we’ll have even more of a battle on our hands for Game 4.
Here are the Game 3 highlights:
This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!