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Playoffs 2013Rangers' Clowe close to return, Staal more uncertain

Posted: Monday, May 6, 2013 | 02:26 PM

Categories: New York Rangers, Playoffs 2013, WAS vs NYR, Washington Capitals

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Marc Staal hasn’t played since March 5 due to an eye injury. (Elsa/Getty Images) Marc Staal hasn’t played since March 5 due to an eye injury. (Elsa/Getty Images)

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It appears that winger Ryane Clowe, who suffered an unconfirmed concussion in the next-to-last game of the regular season, will be in the New York Rangers' lineup for Game 3 against Washington, probably taking the place of Arron Asham.
By Jay Greenberg, Special to CBC Sports

NEW YORK -- Marc Staal, the first Ranger off the ice at Monday morning's skate, did not hang long enough afterwards to tell the media again what he has been saying all along: He is getting closer and will play when he's ready.

But it would appear that winger Ryane Clowe, who suffered an unconfirmed concussion in the next-to-last game of the regular season, will be in the Rangers lineup for Game 3, probably taking the place of Arron Asham.

"I feel pretty good out there, what I have been telling you guys," said Clowe, who has 18 goals and 27 assists in 68 career Stanley Cup playoff games with the Sharks. Those are numbers that beg ice time for team that has not scored in the last 116 minutes of playing time.

Henrik Lundqvist, reportedly stung by a shot in practice Sunday, was not on the ice Monday morning.  But there was no indication the Ranger goalie is suffering a problem that would prevent him from starting Game 3.

Home away from home

This being the fourth Rangers-Caps series in five years, Alex Ovechkin says the Caps, who won one game out of four (including two overtime losses) at Madison Square Garden in 2012, one out of two here in 2011, and two out of three in New York in 2009 , have grown comfortable with the place.

"We know what the fans are going to do," said Ovechkin. "Maybe they are going to do something new tonight but we have lots of experience to play in this building.

"This is a fun place to play."

It's not about the wins, until it is

"I think a big part of coaching is addressing your team on how they played, not what the result is," said Rangers coach John Tortorella about 3-1 and 1-0 losses in the first two games in Washington.  "I think they have been a hell of a lot more even than a lot of other people think.

"It doesn't matter, we need to win a game.  It doesn't matter what has happened in the other two."

Good he clarified that.

But as long as Tortorella says it's that close...
"I'm not sure we want it as loose as [practice] was this morning," said Caps goalie Braden Holtby. "You never want to get too comfortable.

"We have to prepare like we are down 0-2."
One question later, Holtby was called away from the media to a "penalty killing meeting."  We have obtained complete minutes from that meeting, convened for a unit that has not surrendered a superior chance in killing seven of seven Ranger opportunities in the series:

"Keep keeping them to the outside, boys. You want corned beef or pastrami?"

History dept.
Only once in their history have the Rangers lost the first two games of a series and come back to win: in a 1996 first-rounder against Montreal.  Both losses were at Madison Square Garden.  They won that series in six, then lost in five to Pittsburgh in the next round.

The Capitals are 4-5 all-time in series in which they've held a 2-0 lead, three of those losses occurring when the Patrick Division semifinals were a best-of-five.

Follow Jay Greenberg on Twitter @ScribeJG.

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