Nicklas Backstrom

Chimera on Ovechkin: ‘I have no doubt he’s going to score a big goal’

The Washington Capitals haven’t been getting point production from their big top line of Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Joel Ward lately, but the company line seems to be “it’s just a matter of time.”

Jason Chimera more or less predicted a big goal for Ovechkin while speaking with the Washington Post about Game 6 on Saturday.

“You can’t keep a guy like that down too long,” Chimera said. “He’s got his looks, he’s playing hard, you’re not going to stop him. You can limit his looks but he’s going to get those looks and they’re going to go in eventually tomorrow. I have no doubt he’s going to score a big goal tomorrow.”

The attempts have been there, at least to an extent. Ovechkin has 11 shots on goal in this three-game drought, although only two came in Game 5.

Backstrom’s only had two SOG in this span (all in Game 5), yet that isn’t overly concerning considering his role as a passer. Joel Ward hasn’t been shy to shoot (nine SOG in three games, including five in the past one).

It all gives at least some credence to the belief that the Caps’ first line is getting its looks.

Actually, the real company lines are “you need everyone to step up” (Barry Trotz to the Post) and “we don’t care where the offense comes from” (Brooks Orpik to the Post).

That said, considering how tight this series has been, a breakthrough from Ovechkin – Backstrom – Ward could be enough to punch a ticket to the Eastern Conference finals.

Capitals’ third line stands out in Game 3

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It seems premature to even talk about the possibility of the Washington Capitals winning the Stanley Cup, but if it happens, it likely won’t be because Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom carried them there. They’ll have to be major contributors, but Chicago didn’t capture the Cup twice exclusively because Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews were at the top of their game just as Pittsburgh didn’t win it all in 2009 thanks solely to Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby.

Winning a championship typically requires star players in key areas, but it also demands depth. The Blackhawks have it and at one time so did the Penguins. The most dangerous teams in the league can get key performances out of their third line. That was the case tonight for Washington as Jay Beagle, Andre Burakovsky, and Troy Brouwer had a great game. The trio combined for the lone goal in Washington’s 1-0 win over the Rangers in Game 3, but that’s not all they did, as Bob McKenzie noted:

“I sort of said, we’re going to need some new heroes every night,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz said, per the Washington Post’s Alex Prewitt.

Of course the Rangers are still very much in their second round series. If Washington is to capitalize on its 2-1 edge, it will need help from a variety of different players.

Rangers hang on, even series with Caps

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Entering Saturday’s game between the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers much of the talk centered around the standard of officiating in the playoffs.

Rangers’ coach Alain Vigneault wasn’t happy with how things ended in Game 1 following Nicklas Backstrom’s hit on Dan Boyle. Barry Trotz told reporters on Saturday morning he didn’t feel things changed much in the postseason.

Officiating took a back seat to the goaltending performances by Braden Holtby and Henrik Lundqvist in Game 2.

Lundqvist made 30 saves back-stopping the Rangers to a 3-2 win evening the series at 1-1.

Holtby finished with 32 saves in the loss.

“(Holtby) kept us in the first. We weren’t good, we weren’t winning any races, but he’s grown as a goaltender, and he will continue to grow,” said Trotz.”He’s just entering the prime of his career right now. There’s a lot of good things that he’s learned this year and he will to continue to learn.”

The win snapped a six-game losing streak for the Rangers in Game 2s on home ice dating back to 1996.

Chris Kreider and Boyle gave New York a 2-0 lead after one period.

Boyle’s goal, which came with Joel Ward off for hooking, was the first power play goal allowed by the Capitals in these playoffs.

Evgeny Kuznetsov’s fourth of the playoffs got the Caps on the board in the second period.

Derick Brassard scored the eventual game-winner at 6:07 of the third.

Alex Ovechkin scored in highlight-reel fashion to pull the Caps to within one midway through the third; however, there were no last-second heroics from Washington on Saturday afternoon.

“I thought they had some good looks at the end there. Hank had to come up with a couple big saves,” said Vigneault of the final minutes. “They pulled their goaltender and they were coming at us with everything they’ve got.

“Our guys were working real hard and every time we were real close to getting it out, they were finding a way to pull it back in. It was a tough last couple minutes.”

New York’s last eight playoff wins have all been by one goal.

Game 3 goes Monday night at the Verizon Center in Washington. You can catch the game at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

WATCH LIVE: Capitals at Rangers

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The New York Rangers will look to rebound from their Game 1 loss this afternoon when they play host to the Washington Capitals in Game 2 at MSG.

New York enters today’s contest hoping history does not repeat itself. The Rangers have lost six straight Game 2s on home ice dating back to 1996.

Washington took a 1-0 series lead in controversial fashion on Thursday night. Joel Ward scored the game-winner with 1.3 seconds remaining following a questionable hit by Nicklas Backstrom on Rangers’ defenseman Dan Boyle.

Puck drop this afternoon is at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC. You can also watch online using NBCSports.com’s Live Extra.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Some relevant linkage for tonight’s affair:

Trotz on Ovechkin: ‘I wanted him to be more active’


Rangers add depth, recall Bourque

Vigneault: ‘Standards have been set’ after Ovechkin, Backstrom hits

Lundqvist thinks Backstrom’s hit caused Rangers to lose focus before game-winning goal

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The Washington Capitals took Game 1 of their series against the New York Rangers thanks to a clutch goal by Joel Ward with less than two seconds left on the clock. However, just before that goal Nicklas Backstrom delivered a questionable hit to Rangers defenseman Dan Boyle.

Backstrom wasn’t penalized for his actions and Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist thinks there was a direct correlation between Backstrom’s actions and the way the contest ended.

“Obviously the last few seconds there, I feel like we all just kind of stopped when Boyle went down,” Lundqvist told the Bergen Record. “We lost our focus a little bit and gave up the last chance.”

Marc Staal, who qualified his comments by saying that he was going off of what was described to him as he didn’t see the incident in question, thought what Backstrom did “seems cheap.” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault, who seemed angry after the hit and subsequent goal, refused to comment on the referees after the game. For his part though, Backstrom defended his actions.

“I didn’t see the puck but I knew there was five seconds left and everything can happen,” Backstrom told CSN Washington. “I mean, it’s something we’ve been taught from when we were kids, to play until the whistle and that’s what we did.

“To be honest with you, I haven’t seen [the hit], so I can’t really say anything about it. But it looked like he was standing by the wall there. Hits like that happen every game, so …”

You can see what happened for yourself below (the hit occurs with about 5.5 seconds left on the clock):