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NHL Playoffs: Capitals take Game 1

Capitals ride Ovechkin, Holtby to a 1-0 series lead

Ovechkin, 1 goal, Holtby, 35 saves, lead Caps to a 3-1 win in Game 1

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-- Riding a three goal second period, the Washington Capitals took control of its first round playoff series with the New York Rangers Thursday night at the Verizon Center, beating the Rangers 3-1 to take a 1-0 series lead.

The Capitals came out ready to play in game one, taking the games first nine shots and handling the puck for much of the first period.

Though it looked as if the Caps were in control of the game, a late Carl Hagelin goal put the Blueshirts ahead 1-0 after the first period.

Then the barrage started.

Alex Ovechkin started the scoring for the Capitals with a power play rebound goal off a Mike Green shot that slipped past Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. Seven minutes later Marcus Johansson converted on a beautiful blue line-to-blue line pass from Steven Oleksy, beating Lundqvist glove side and giving the Caps a lead they would not relinquish.

Rangers killer Jason Chimera added the insurance goal the Capitals were looking for less than a minute after the Johansson goal, and Braden Holtby, 35 saves, made them stand up.

Holtby dazzled the crowd in D.C. as he thwarted a Rangers comeback attempt in the second and third periods.

Power play

The Capitals, the leagues top power play team coming into the playoffs, converted on 1 of 5 power play opportunities, which must improve if the Caps will get past New York. Luckily, the Rangers were worse, going 0-4 on the man up and squandering a 5-on-3 opportunity early in the second period.

These teams are fairly evenly matched and the games will come down to which team gets the lucky bounces. On Thursday night, the bounces went the Capitals way.

The Rangers will need more from captain Ryan Callahan, 2 shots on goal, and Rick Nash must find the back of the net, 8 shots on goal, if they hope to avoid a 2-0 hole.

With Ovechkin and Holtby playing the way they are, the Capitals look poised to avenge last year's playoff loss to the Rangers.

The teams will go at it again 12:30 p.m. Saturday at the Verizon Center.

Prediction:

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The Capitals hold serve on home ice and take a 2-0 series lead to New York. Capitals - 3 Rangers - 2

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