Alexander Ovechkin’s torrid pace helped the Caps post an 8-1-1 record in their final 10 regular-season games, but it hasn’t been all about Ovi. Mike Green’s reemergence and goaltender Braden Holtby’s solid play have helped Washington go from Eastern Conference basement dwellers to legitimate contenders.
Although the Rangers also finished up their regular season strong—7-3-0 in their final 10—the Capitals were considered the favorites on the eve of Game 1. If the Rangers are to have a shot at toppling the rampant Caps they’ll have to not only neutralize Ovechkin and the rest of Washington’s high-octane offense, but they’ll also have to overwhelm Holtby, who nearly denied them last spring when the two teams met in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
For that to happen, not only does the team have to perform well as a whole, but a host of individual players will need to take their games to another level.
There are five Rangers in particular who will be leaned on heavily throughout the course of the series, and their ability to handle the pressure will determine whether or not the Rangers come out on top.
Let’s take a look at those five and discuss why they are the most important players for the Rangers against the Caps.