Rangers blank Capitals to force Game 7

NEW YORK, N.Y. -- John Tortorella does not think Derick Brassard understands the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

And the coach of the New York Rangers believes that is a positive.

"Look at (Brassard). He doesn't give a crap what's going on the ice," Tortorella said after the center, acquired at the trade deadline, scored the only goal in the New York Rangers' 1-0 win over the Washington Capitals in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden.

"He's just playing. He doesn't understand (playoff pressure)."

The best-of-seven series is tied at three games apiece. Game 7 is Monday night at the Verizon Center in Washington D.C.

New York played two games sevens in last spring's playoffs, beating Ottawa in the first round and Washington in the second. Unlike those series, the Rangers do not have home ice advantage. All time, the Rangers are 0-5 on the road in Game Sevens. The last Game 7 the Rangers played on the road was a 2-1 loss to Washington in the 2009 Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series.

"I think when you get to Game 7, with our group here going through so many last year, it's going to help us," Tortorella said.

Henrik Lundqvist made 25 saves for New York in recording his seventh career shutout in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. It was Lundqvist's first shutout since Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final. The Rangers won that game, 3-0.

"You try to be active to find pucks," Lundqvist said. "There are definitely bodies in front of you, but if you're active and try to find it, it's a lot easier. I felt like this was going to be the type of game where there were one or two goals, tops."

Both teams had opportunities in the first 49:39 spanning the first and second periods before Brassard snapped the scoreless tie with a slap shot from inside the blueline which bounced off Capitals' defenseman Steve Olesky as it sailed past Braden Holtby.

"I think the crowd in the second period was chanting to 'shoot the puck,'" Brassard said. The crowd of 17,200 expressed its frustration with the cautious New York attack by loudly chanting "shoot the puck" at the Rangers.

"I didn't see myself giving a pass to one of my teammates there. I think I had to shoot. They obviously want us to shoot. On the ice, it's a little different. We try and make plays. Sometimes it can work. Sometimes it doesn't work. I just took two steps and ripped it as hard as I could."

Brassard's goal was Holtby's lone mistake in a 28-save performance.

"It's obviously frustrating and disappointing," Holtby said. "We move on. We will be ready for it tomorrow."

Washington's frustration boiled over at the final buzzer, as all ten players on the ice engaged in a fracas in the left corner near Lundqvist's goal. The Capitals were irritated with New York right wing Derek Dorsett, who they believed slew-footed defenseman Mike Green with 6:14 left. Green retaliated with a cross check to Dorsett's face, which was penalized.

"I was bleeding from my upper and lower lip," said Dorsett, who drew three penalties in the game. "It is what it is. It doesn't matter. We got the win and that's all that matters."

One of the themes in New York's three losses in the series has been the Rangers' penchant for taking penalties. That was not an issue yesterday because New York was not penalized until the 20:00 mark of the game. Center Derek Stepan and defenseman Dan Girardi were each assessed two minute minors for their roles in the melee.

"It's key for us," Brassard. "They have a good power play. We just want to stay out of (the penalty box). It kills our momentum because we need to kill for two minutes. The guys did a good job tonight."

However, New York's power play is still an area of concern. The Rangers went 0-for-4 Sunday and are now 2-for-25 in the series. Washington entered the day 3-for-14 with the man advantage in the series.

NOTES: Did Tortorella have any nerves about his team heading into a do-or-die elimination game? "I always feel good about my team," Tortorella said in a 26 second pre-game press conference Sunday afternoon. ... Due to an undisclosed injury suffered in the 2-1 loss in Game 5, Ryane Clowe was replaced in New York's lineup by Chris Kreider. Skating on a fourth line with Brad Richards and Arron Asham, Kreider skated five shifts totaling 4:05 of ice time. ... One of the unsung players that contributed to Washington enjoying a three-games-to-two series lead before Game Six was Troy Brouwer. The right wing had two points (a goal and an assist) in the first give games of the series. "To me, (Brouwer) is one of our captains," Washington coach Adam Oates said during his pre-game press availability. "He's probably been our most solid guy all year, night-in and night out. I play him in every situation he's been reliable. I think he's had a terrific year. He's been through (the playoff) grind. He knows what that means. His addition on the power play has been vital to us. He got off early and had some success, and he's carried it through the lineup all year." ... John Moore's primary assist on Brassard's game-winning goal was the defenseman's first career point in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.