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Off-day comments add even more drama to Game 4

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:46 AM

Associated Press

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Off-day comments add even more drama to Game 4
Washington Capitals vs. New York Rangers

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NEW YORK (AP) -- If the Rangers were bothered by Washington Capitals head coach Bruce Boudreau's recent, widely-publicized negative comments about Game 3 and Madison Square Garden itself, they are keeping those thoughts to themselves.

Appearing focused Tuesday as they prepared for Game 4 at Thhe Garden tonight, the Rangers were concentrating on getting even with the Capitals and staying away from the complaints of their opponent's outspoken coach.

"Our mindset is we're just focusing on what we need to do, which is playing the right way and getting ready," Rangers head coach John Tortorella said after practice on Tuesday. "We have confidence in the league and confidence in the officials that they won't be influenced by all the whining going on."

On Monday, the first of two off-days in the first-round Eastern Conference playoff series, Boudreau claimed the Rangers were targeting the head of defenseman Mike Green, who missed the final 20 games of the regular season because of a concussion.

Boudreau also claimed that the Rangers had deliberately crashed the net and young Capitals goalie Michal Neuvirth. Boudreau added in a radio interview that Madison Square Garden wasn't all that loud, and went on to criticize the arena's locker rooms and benches.

Boudreau also said officials issued warnings during the game, but then failed to call penalties when infractions occurred. The Rangers had seven power plays on Sunday, while Washington had three.

Boudreau and the Capitals will have to deal with the Garden again Wednesday, and the Rangers hope that both teams leave there with the series  tied 2-2 after Washington had jumped out to a 2-0 lead with a pair of victories at the Verizon Center.

In team history, the Capitals are 1-4 in series they have led 2-0. Last year, after winning the Presidents' Trophy, Washington was eliminated by No. 8-seed Montreal in seven games after jumping to a 3-1 series edge.

"This game is really going to swing the series," Washington forward Brooks Laich said. "We could take a stranglehold on it, or it could be a very long series. We understand it. It's the same situation we faced last year. We were unsuccessful last game, so we have to have a better effort."

Neuvirth faced 35 shots Sunday and gave up three goals after allowing only one on 47 total shots in the first two games at home.

With his coach calling out Rangers fans and putting the officials on alert, Neuvirth could have many other things to deal with beside stopping pucks.

"It was a bad game, tough loss," Neuvirth said. "There's still a lot of hockey left. It's all business, and we've got to be ready for Wednesday."

After playing three times in five days, the Rangers and Capitals will now have to get used to sitting around. They are finishing a two-day break, but will then have another before playing Game 5 in Washington on Saturday afternoon.

Momentum often shifts within a series, and that will certainly be the case regardless of which team wins Game 4, but it might be hard to sustain for the rest of the week.

"Can't do anything about it," Tortorella said. "I'd rather play, but TV kind of rules with that, doesn't it? Both team will take advantage. We try to find the best way to use it. We have our process that we'll go through. I'm sure they do, too."

series schedule/results
DateScoreW. Goal
Apr 13 '11 NYR 1 at WSH 2 - OT A. Semin
Apr 15 '11 NYR 0 at WSH 2 J. Chimera
Apr 17 '11 WSH 2 at NYR 3 B. Dubinsky
Apr 20 '11 WSH 4 at NYR 3 - OT J. Chimera
Apr 23 '11 NYR 1 at WSH 3 A. Ovechkin
A. Ovechkin4224-2600
M. Green4044+3400
A. Semin4213+3601
M. Johansson4213+3000
J. Arnott4123+2010
J. Chimera4202-1002
B. Laich4022+2000
M. Knuble3101+1210
N. Backstrom4011-1200
J. Carlson4011-3400
K. Alzner4011-4000
J. Erskine4000+3000
J. Schultz4000+3000
S. Hannan4000+2200
M. Sturm4000+1200
M. Hendricks4000-1200
B. Gordon4000-1400
M. Bradley4000-2200
E. Fehr1000+3000
M. Neuvirth43-171211.45.942
B. Dubinsky4213-2001
M. Gaborik4112+0200
W. Wolski4022+1000
R. Fedotenko4022-1200
V. Prospal4101+1000
A. Anisimov4101+1000
E. Christensen4101+0210
M. Gilroy4101-1200
C. Drury4011+0000
B. Prust4011+0200
B. McCabe4011-1000
M. Staal4011-1000
M. Sauer4011-1000
D. Girardi4000+0000
R. McDonagh4000+0400
B. Boyle4000-1600
D. Stepan4000-4200
S. Avery3000-2200
M. Zuccarello1000+0200
H. Lundqvist41-3101292.08.922
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