Fedorov Ices Series For Caps In Game 7

Stanley Cup Playoffs Caps 2, Rangers 1

April 29, 2009|By Tarik El-Bashir | Tarik El-Bashir,The Washington Post

WASHINGTON - Sergei Fedorov scored with 4:59 remaining, rifling a shot past goaltender Henrik Lundqvist to send the Washington Capitals to a 2-1 victory over the New York Rangers in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals Tuesday night.

The victory catapulted the Capitals into the second round for the first time since 1998, when Fedorov's Detroit Red Wings swept Washington out of the Stanley Cup finals.

"Experience sometimes pays off, and [Fedorov] knew what he had to do and when to do it," said coach Bruce Boudreau, whose team became the 21st to rally from a 3-1 series deficit.

The winning play began when Fedorov snagged the puck at the Capitals' blue line, blasted through the neutral zone and ripped a shot past Lundqvist on the short side. It was his first goal of these playoffs and the 52nd of his career in the postseason.

The Rangers outshot the Capitals 8-2 in the first period, but Washington went into the second with the score tied at 1, thanks to a fluky goal by Alexander Semin and the outstanding play of rookie goaltender Simeon Varlamov. Varlamov, who has allowed just eight goals in six games, stopped 14 shots.

"The pressure is not really new for me," said Varlamov, who has competed on the international stage and in Russia's top league.

For most of the first 40 minutes, the Rangers put tremendous pressure on the Capitals defense. But as the Capitals have done so often this season, they turned things around in the third period, when the game - and their season - was on the line. The Capitals were as good in the third period as they were uninspired in the first two.

Nik Antropov was stoned by Varlamov on a breakaway 42 seconds into the game, but the 6-foot-6, 230-pound Russian made up for it five minutes later when he fired a loose puck from point-blank range past Varlamov.

The Capitals didn't record their first shot on goal until the 13-minute mark. But their second shot resulted in Semin's fifth goal of the series.

Washington was attacking on a three-on-two rush when Semin pulled the puck back and whipped it toward the net. It hit Ryan Callahan's stick and then Dan Girardi, fooling Lundqvist (22 saves) at 15:34.

By the end of the second period, which ended scoreless, the Capitals had trimmed the shot disparity to 14-11. But the Rangers seemed to be executing their game plan.

"We were right where we wanted to be," Rangers coach John Tortorella said.

The Capitals will play the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round.

Hurricanes 4, Devils 3: : Jussi Jokinen and Eric Staal scored in a 48-second span late in the third period and Carolina stunned host New Jersey in Game 7 of their first-round Eastern Conference playoff series. It was the second shocking loss for the Devils, who lost Game 4 on a goal by Jokinen with 0.2 of a second left. This time they gave away the series in the final 1:20.

Late Monday

Ducks 4, Sharks 1: : Top seed San Jose was eliminated from the Western Conference playoffs in Game 6 by Anaheim. The Ducks are the eighth No. 8 seed to win a playoff series since 1994.

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