Caps' best were better than Rangers' best

Washington Capitals' Alexander Semin (28) and Alex Ovechkin

Washington Capitals' Alexander Semin (28) and Alex Ovechkin (8), both from Russia, celebrate Ovechkin's goal in the third period of Game 1 of a first-round NHL hockey playoff series with the New York Rangers. (April 13, 2011) (Credit: AP)

WASHINGTON -- Entering this series, there was a gulf separating the Capitals and Rangers forwards in talent.

Now that the series is over, the gulf seems even wider.

Alex Ovechkin and Alexander Semin totaled six goals in the five games, and each had one in the Capitals' series-ending 3-1 win Saturday. The Rangers as a team scored only eight goals in the series, with Marian Gaborik scoring one.

"At critical times, if maybe one or two goes in, it'd be totally different," said Gaborik, who scored one goal in the final 14 regular-season and playoff games. "It's frustrating. It's disappointing."

There were no such feelings on the other side. Ovechkin scored the prettiest goal of the series in the second, blowing past Marc Staal and flipping a backhand off the inside of the post. Caps coach Bruce Boudreau was much more enthused by Ovechkin's all-around play Saturday.

"Today was his best game of the series, easily," Boudreau said of his captain, who led all scorers with six points in the five games. "In the other games, he had flashes of brilliance, then he'd been not so visible. He was very visible every time he was on the ice today, doing the right things."

Gaborik was less so, much the way his entire season went. The Caps assigned young defensemen Karl Alzner and John Carlson to Gaborik, and if not for a couple of bursts in Games 3 and 4, Gaborik would have been a complete non-factor.

He did have 20 shots on goal, but the Caps kept Gaborik to the outside and didn't allow any traffic or rebounds in front of Michal Neuvirth.

Brian Boyle, who had 21 goals in the regular season, had zero on a team-high 27 shots. Brandon Dubinsky, who led the Rangers with 24 this season, had two goals on only seven shots -- and had no shots on goal Saturday.

The Rangers were far more limited in their creativity coming into the series, particularly without Ryan Callahan (broken ankle). They needed their top forwards to seize control, but it didn't happen for them.

It did for the Caps.

"When your best players are your best players, the rest of the team sort of picks up from it," Boudreau said. "Our best players were our best today. They were all vested. You could tell from the first shift on."

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