Pregame Skate: Capitals have to respond to another tough overtime loss

By Brian Stubits | CBSSports.com

7:30 ET, Rangers at Washington, Game 6 (NBC Sports Network)

For being a "boring" series to watch, as many have opined, this has produced some awfully great games. Everybody loved the triple-OT in Game 3 and the chaotic and crazy ending to Game 5 will be remembered for a long time among Rangers fans.

Especially if the team can keep this run going. Because without this postseason turning into a great run, Marian Gaborik's Game 3 winner or Brad Richards' tally with 6.6 seconds left in Game 5 aren't as "epic."

Now, with the rest of the NHL watching and waiting for this series to end, the Rangers take their first of two cracks at finishing off the Capitals, who have been peskier -- yes, that word fits -- than anybody probably imagined a month or two ago.

Here's a guess: It will be a one-goal game. That's an awfully small limb I just stepped on, I know. But that inability of either team to take a two-goal lead and hold it in this series has helped create these fantastic finishes. That's what makes playoff hockey so great, the games are usually very tight and thus frought with tension and excitement until the horn sounds.

Another key you can probably take to the bank? The first goal wins it. This isn't a series with the Flyers were the first goal is a curse. For Washington especially, it's been the complete opposite this postseason. In Caps games, the team that scored first has won 11 of the 12 postseason games.

That's all because we have two hard-headed teams here going at it. Get ahead and the game-plan changes. The aggression dies down as far as looking to score is concerned. They go into prevent mode where, as we know from football, it seems to only prevent you from winning. While it hasn't been the case so much in this series, it has led to a retalliatory goal almost every time. These teams alternated 12 straight goals before the Caps strung together two in a row in Game 5.

Getting back to that Game 5, dont think that's going to bury the Caps. Just the same way that their 3OT loss didn't, this likely won't either. They have rebounded well from these situations all postseason long. They're 3-0 in the game after overtime losses.

"We control our emotions a little better. I mean, even when we win, we're not bouncing off the ceiling. It's more of a business atmosphere. And when we lose, we know we can bounce back," Brooks Laich explained. "I mean, we have a very good hockey team. We never get too high, never get too low. We stay pretty composed."

Braden Holtby, the Caps goalie, has been equally strong is rebounding from losses. He hasn't lost back-to-back NHL games in 28 outings. It's the yo-yo effect.

Ebbs and flows, like the oceans you can't take them away from this series. The Rangers won Games 1, 3 and 5, the Caps took Games 2 and 4. Does anybody really doubt they don't take Game 6 and head back to Madison Square Garden for one last time?

Daily miscellany

  • With Tom Stillman being approved by the Board of Governors as the new owner in St. Louis, the Blues' nightmare is finally over. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
  • Here is a move that never happened that we didn't hear much about. Another potential Kings trade this season was Dustin Brown for Milan Lucic? (CSN New England)
  • With the possibility of the Coyotes staying growing and growing, are we looking at expansion? (Hockey Journal)
  • With all this talk recently about stereotypes of Russian players, Chris Selley gives his approval on disliking the Russians. (National Post)
  • Even though they lost and are now out, this video is pretty interesting of the Flyers spray painting tweets on the parking lot with the FLYERBOT.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

 
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