Capitals expect early push from Rangers

Capitals expect early push from Rangers
April 16, 2011, 6:58 pm
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Saturday, April 16, 2011, 2:56 p.m.

By Ryan OHalloran

Having spent parts of two seasons with the Rangers and as a visiting player for the last decade, Mike Knuble knows exactly what the Capitals are in for early in Sundays Game 3 at Madison Square Garden.


Its going to be absolutely crazy in there the first 5-10 minutes, Knuble told reporters after Saturdays practice. Theyre going to come out with a very strong effort and use the momentum and energy of the crowd.

The Capitals have so far done their part, taking a 2-0 series lead over the Rangers by playing two quality games on home ice. The next step is taking that consistency to New York and putting the Blueshirts in a vice grip.

Ultimately you havent accomplished anything yet, Knuble said. You have a lead in the series but nothing is settled. Its still up grabs. To win a series, you have to do something on the road, play well on the road and we intend to do that.

Knuble and Co. wont be intimidated by the raucous atmosphere. Many of these players were on Capitals teams that have won three Game 6s on the road.

It will be up to us to be equally stingy early and maybe take the momentum back by making them play in their own end, Knuble said.

The Capitals have a 2-0 series lead for the first time since playing Pittsburgh two years ago. In Game 3, Pittsburgh won in overtime and eventually won four of the last five games. Last year, the Capitals won Games 3-4 in Montreal only to turtle in a seven-match defeat.

Despite that gory history, coach Bruce Boudreau scoffed at the notion the Capitals need to overcome a figurative speed bump.

Were just looking at tomorrow, he said. We havent looked at the past, we havent brought up the past in anything. The only people who make it a hump to overcome are the media.

The keys for the Capitals continue to be sticking to the plan that worked so well in Games 1-2 and not looking ahead.

You try to prepare every day and you try to keep them focused every day, Boudreau said. But I wish I had the crystal ball that said, OK, this is what we have to say or do so we dont lose the next game.

We want to play similar to what were doing, only better. We feel every game, we have to be better because we feel the Rangers will be better and over time, more desperate.

Goalie Michal Neuvirth will again start and no line-up changes are expected.

When youre up 2-0 on a really good team, everybody is playing good, Boudreau said. The question is, can you sustain it? Thats our question and hopefully we can.

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