Rangers-Caps: Game 7

Adam GregoryContributor IApril 28, 2009

NEW YORK - APRIL 26: Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals celebrates a goal by Viktor Kozlov #25 (not shown) against the New York Rangers during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal Round of the 2009 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on April 26, 2009 in New York, New York. The Capitals defeated the Rangers 5-3.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Rangers will make a trip, that they most certainly wish they were not taking, back to Washington to meet Alexander Ovechkin and company. 

After stealing the first two games of the series in Washington, and splitting the next two games at MSG, the Rangers held an unexpected and commanding 3-1 series lead.

The Caps had other plans for this series, however, and have won the past two games in impressive fashion, pushing the series to a Game 7 on their home ice. 

In Game 4, Sean Avery showed why he is a liability as much as he is a benefactor on the ice, taking two idiotic and unnecessary penalties late in a one-goal game.  If not for stellar goaltending from Henrik Lundqvist and solid penalty killing from the Rangers PK unit, Avery could have cost his team the game.

John Tortorella, who publicly derided Avery for his bush league antics while he was a television analyst, decided to bench the divisive winger for Game five. 

Unfortunately for the Rangers, Mr. Tortorella was involved in an episode the very next night that rivaled some of Avery's wost meltdowns. 

Apparently being goaded by the Washington faithful, the coach decided to give a rowdy fan a cold shower, and threw in a water bottle as a souvenir.  While Torts was keeping up the hygiene in D.C., his team was getting washed and waxed on the ice. 

A one game suspension for Tortorella, and a return trip home for Game six at MSG proved to be no help to the Rangers, as they were summarily disposed of by a faster, hungrier Capitals team.  'King Henrik' wallowed in serfdom as he extended his suddenly poor play for the second straight game, and was yanked in favor of Steve Valliquete, the Rangers back-up netminder.

Tortorella and the Rangers further displayed the fact that they were in 'meltdown-mode' on Monday, with the Rangers sending a formal complaint to the commissioner regarding the rowdy nature of the Capitals fans, and Tortorella declining to comment, at all, on being suspended.

Tonight, Game Seven will decide who goes home and who moves on—but with the Rangers collapsing, Lundqvist looking shaky at best, and the Capitals confident and returning home, this one looks as good as done.

Prediction: Capitals 5, Rangers 2

slash iconYour sports. Delivered.

Enjoy our content? Join our newsletter to get the latest in sports news delivered straight to your inbox!