• BREAKING NEWS Shelter in place lifted after prisoner captured

Caps force Game 7 vs. Rangers

April 26, 2009 2:54:30 PM PDT
John Tortorella's view from a suite was no better than the one from the bench, and the suspended coach watched helplessly as the Washington Capitals routed his New York Rangers for the second straight game. Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist again didn't make it to the third period, and Washington defenseman Tom Poti torched his former team in the Capitals' 5-3 victory that tied the first-round playoff series and set up a decisive Game 7 on Tuesday night in Washington.

The Capitals had trailed the series 3-1.

Tortorella served a one-game suspension following an confrontation with a fan Friday during New York's 4-0 loss in Game 5 that sent the series back to Madison Square Garden. Tortorella squirted water into the crowd and threw a water bottle over the glass and into the stands.

On Sunday, Tortorella sat in a suite high above the ice and rested his chin in his palm as the game turned from bad to worse under the offensive onslaught unleashed by the Capitals.

Jim Schoenfeld, Tortorella's lone assistant coach, ran the club in his absence and said before the game that Tortorella was sticking up for his players against slurs from the crowd.

Even the return of benched forward Sean Avery couldn't spark the Rangers, who have been outscored 9-3 since moving within one win of advancing.

Tortorella will be allowed to coach Game 7 back in Washington, where the Rangers claimed in a letter to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman that security was lax - a factor the team said led to the water incident.

The Rangers are having enough trouble controlling the Capitals on the ice, let alone worrying about the crowd. Their biggest concern might be the poor play of Lundqvist.

Poti, the subject of Rangers fans' wrath during his three-plus seasons with New York, had a goal and two assists as Washington built a 5-1 lead through two periods.

Lundqvist, who shone during a 2-1 win in Game 4, was downright ordinary again. When Alex Ovechkin tipped in Poti's drive for a power-play goal with 3:16 left in the second period, Lundqvist was touched for his ninth goal in 34 shots.

Lundqvist sat out the third period for the second consecutive game in favor of backup Steve Valiquette. The lone bright spot for New York was Scott Gomez's goal that tied it 1-1 8:15 in and snapped the Rangers' 0-for-18 skid on the power play since Game 1.

The Capitals took a 1-0 lead on Milan Jurcina's first NHL playoff goal 7:09 into the game, and fellow defensemen Mike Green and Poti staked Washington to a 3-1 edge before the first period ended. Viktor Kozlov and Ovechkin pushed the advantage to four goals in the second and chased Lundqvist.

That made for another easy game for rookie Simeon Varlamov, who finished with 29 saves.

For the second straight year, Washington has forced a Game 7 in the first round after trailing 3-1. The Capitals fell short at home against Philadelphia in the deciding game last year, but the Southeast Division champions are riding a wave now that could make them the 21st team in 230 chances to come all the way back from that hole.

Frustration got to the Rangers in the second period when Brandon Dubinsky received 14 minutes in penalties following a hit from behind against Green into the boards. Dubinsky slammed his helmet as he walked down the tunnel to the dressing room.

Notes: The Capitals have won one series in which they trailed 3-1, the 1988 Patrick Division semifinal against Philadelphia. New York has never lost such a lead. Montreal was the last team to make such a comeback, beating Boston in the first round in 2004. ... The Rangers used Ken Gernander and J.J. Daigneault - coaches from AHL Hartford - as Schoenfeld's assistants. ... Rangers C Blair Betts didn't return after being laid out by a high, hard hit from Donald Brashear in the first period that wasn't penalized.


NEW YORK SPORTS AND MORE

USEFUL LINKS:
SEND TIP OR PHOTO  || REPORT TYPO ||  GET WIDGET

 EYEWITNESS TWITTER ||  FIND US ON FACEBOOK


Load Comments