Caps Lead Rangers 2-1 in Playoffs; Nats’ Bats Show Signs of Life


caps_logoMay 7, 2013
Ceci Ferrara
Sports Writer
Sports Insider

The Capitals had a chance to completely deflate the Rangers on Monday night.

If they had won game three, they would have had a commanding 3-0 lead against New York, just one win away from vindicating last year’s loss. Instead, the Rangers’ desperation won out.

In a game that saw a lot of shifts in momentum, the Caps, down by one, had a chance to tie late in the third period. With less than two minutes left, the Caps found themselves in a six-on-four power play thanks to a slash penalty on Ovechkin by forward Brad Richards. Despite the prime opportunity, the offense was unable to make even one shot. As the clock ticked down, it was obvious the Rangers would come away with at least one victory this series.

Washington’s 4-3 loss was disappointing, as the Capitals failed to take a 3-0 series lead for the first time in franchise history. Still, they hold a 2-1 lead in a best-of-seven series, and with just one game left in New York before the series heads back to DC, the odds seem in their favor.

On a night that ended with the Rangers cheerfully saluting their fans at Madison Square Garden, the Caps remained focused on winning the next one.

“We’ll regroup here tonight,” Mike Green told reporters after the loss. “It’s obviously disappointing, but that’s why it’s seven games. It’s unfortunate. We obviously wanted to be up three, but we’ve got a lot of work to do, and we know that. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy.”


After a sluggish start to the season, the Nationals’ offense (17-15, .531) has come alive in the last week, with the team winning four of their last five games.

Though they dropped the first two in the much-anticipated series against the Braves, they won the last two, including a 2-0 shutout on May 1.

They then left Atlanta for Pittsburgh, where they won two of three against the Pirates, including a 6-2 win on Sunday.

Adam LaRoche and Danny Espinosa have been two of the biggest factors in Washington’s turn around—LaRoche in particular. In the last week, he has turned around a 0-for-26 slump, going 13-for-29. Espinosa, meanwhile, hit a two-run homer in Sunday’s game, and has shown improvement at the plate since his manager-imposed two-day hiatus.

Jayson Werth is set to return to the lineup Tuesday night, after sitting out the series in Pittsburgh due to hamstring tightness. Having his bat back in the lineup will be a welcome boost for the team.

The Nats next host a home series against the Tigers and Cubs, where they will be tested as to whether or not their bats are really getting hot, or if they are still lukewarm.


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