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Rangers 5, Capitals 0

The SportsXchange

WASHINGTON -- Before his team caught a flight to the nation's capital ahead of Monday night's seventh and deciding game against the Washington Capitals, New York Rangers coach John Tortorella told reporters that Game 7 is when "you make your legacy as a player."

Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist took another step toward sealing his, stopping 35 shots in a 5-0 win over the Capitals in front of a stunned crowd at the Verizon Center. The shutout was the second straight for Lundqvist against the Capitals and the eighth of his playoff career.

Arron Asham, Taylor Pyatt, Michael Del Zotto, Ryan Callahan and Mats Zuccarello scored for the Rangers, who rallied back from a 3-2 series deficit and won a Game 7 on the road for the first time in franchise history.

With the victory, the Rangers advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals, where they'll face the Boston Bruins, who staged a miraculous rally to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs in their Game 7 Monday night. Boston trailed 4-1 in the third period before winning 5-4 in overtime.

For the Capitals, the loss capped another season of failed expectations in the playoffs. Since Alex Ovechkin arrived in Washington in 2007, the Caps have won five division titles and have been to the playoffs six straight years but have never made it past the second round.

Lundqvist and the Rangers withstood an early barrage by the Capitals before Asham got them on the board with 6:41 remaining in the first period.

In a pivotal series of events, Capitals defenseman Mike Green saw a clear path to the New York net and took it, only to be stopped by Lundqvist. The Rangers turned the puck the other way, with Chris Kreider feeding Asham for a short-side blast past Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby.

The Capitals generated 32 attempts at the net in the first period -- 13 were stopped by Lundqvist, 13 were blocked and six missed the net -- but entered the first intermission trailing by a goal.

The Rangers took the game over in the second period when Pyatt and Del Zotto scored their first goals of the playoffs 2 minutes, 10 seconds apart.

Pyatt was alone at the side of the Capitals net when a shot by Steve Eminger caromed off the stick of teammate Derek Dorsett and onto Pyatt's awaiting stick for his ninth career playoff goal.

Del Zotto made it 3-0 on the Rangers' 13th shot on Holtby. The Rangers defenseman found a shooting lane from the top of the left circle, and his shot caromed off the skate of Washington forward Troy Brouwer and through Holtby's pads.

Del Zotto's goal put a hush over the crowd, and Lundqvist did the rest, protecting the lead for his 29th career playoff victory.

Holtby made 22 saves.

NOTES: The Capitals are now 3-9 all-time in Game 7s and 2-5 since Ovechkin's playoff arrival in 2008. Ovechkin has two goals and two assists in seven career Game 7s. ... The Rangers are now 6-5 in Game 7s and 1-5 in Game 7s on the road. ... The teams' biggest stars struggled throughout the series. Ovechkin was limited to one goal and one assist, while New York's Rick Nash had just two assists. ... Holtby, 23, played in his third career Game 7. He entered the game 1-1 with a 1.48 GAA and .952 save percentage. ... In three career Game 7s before Monday, Lundqvist was 1-2 with a 1.33 GAA and .946 save percentage. ... Dating back to Game 5 of the 2009 conference quarterfinals, the Capitals are 10-2 in their last 12 home playoff games against the Rangers. Before Monday, their only loss in that span was a triple-overtime defeat in Game 3 of last year's conference semifinals.
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