The first three games of the New York Rangers and Capitals’ second round series have been determined by one goal and Washington has won two of those contests. Since the playoffs began, Washington is 5-2 in one-goal games, putting them ahead of every team but the Chicago Blackhawks (5-0) in that regard.
The ability to win close contests can be vital in the playoffs and Washington’s success in this area is in contrast to its playoff runs from 2008-13 when it posted a combined 18-22 record in one-goal games.
“The pressure definitely gains during the games when it’s only one goal. Every mistake or mishap can go in the back of your net. And you obviously don’t want to think that way, but the pressure’s there,” Capitals defenseman Mike Green noted, per the Associated Press.
“But I think we’ve done a good job of handling it, really. You don’t really feel that panic out on the ice or on the bench that maybe in recent years you felt.”
Green thinks there could be a lot of different reasons for that, including maturity and experience, but it could also be the influence of new Capitals coach Barry Trotz. Rangers forward Martin St. Louis has noticed a change in them.
“They play a heavier game, probably, now. They probably get pucks in deep a little more. They’re allowed to sustain offensive zone time. It’s a team that’s good off the rush and heavy down low,” St. Louis said.
Even still, Washington’s edge over the Rangers has been thin thus far. New York has an opportunity to even the series tonight (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN).