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New York-Washington: Capitals Need to Deal With "A Very Guided Missile"

Martin AverySenior Writer IApril 17, 2009

WASHINGTON - APRIL 15:  Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals checks Sean Avery #16 of the New York Rangers along the boards during Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals of the 2009 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on April 15, 2009 at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Len Redkoles/Getty Images)

The underdog New York Rangers upset the Washington Capitals 4-3 in Game one of their first round round playoff series. Game two in Washington however, promises to be a very different game.

Both teams were missing their captains in the first game but expect them back. Chris Clark adds grit to the Capitals, while Drury brings scoring, leadership, and talent to the Rangers power play.

The Caps could go with their twenty-year-old back-up goalie Lokomotiv Yaroslavl (called "Loko" for short). Jose Theodore looked a little shaky in the first game, even before Sean Avery got to him.

The Rangers will be sticking with Henrik Lundqvist, of course, as he has been great. The Rangers will likely lead with Michal Rozsival and Wade Redden on defence, instead of Marc Staal and Dan Girardi.

Midway through Wednesday’s game, the old guard replaced the younger defensemen on the Blueshirts' blueline. They may be wishing they could change their defense, too.

The Caps defense has been known to be lax on occasion and subsequently they allow too many breakaways. Also, they hold on to the puck too long, looking for one of their high-scoring forwards for a break-out pass.

Some things are expected to remain the same for game two. All eyes will be on league MVP Alex Ovechkin of the Caps and Sean Avery of the Rangers.

As Damien Cox of the Toronto Star pointed out, Ovechkin finished a busy night with 26:07 of playing time, 28 attempted shots, 13 actual shots-on-goal, two assists and six hits. On the other hand, Avery played much less, 16:29, with no points, two shots and two hits. But as Cox pointed out, Avery "had more of a defining impact on the game."

He claimed Avery opened the door for the Rangers first big goal, got involved with the goalie, drew the penalty on John Erskine that led to the power play goal by big Nik Antropov, and sent Mike Green cartwheeling into the Rangers' bench.

Cox came up with a new name for the Avery effect, referring to "the Avery Guided Missile."

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The Caps will be looking for an antidote to Avery, and the Rangers will want to cut down on the incredible number of shots by Ovechkin. This might be tough, though. So far, no other teams have discovered the ideal way to deal with these two players.