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Henrik Lundqvist and his defense shutting down Ovechkin, Capitals

Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers celebrates

Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers celebrates a third-period goal with his teammates as he skates to the bench for an extra skater against the Washington Capitals during Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, May 8, 2015. Credit: Jim McIsaac

WASHINGTON - You are as tired by now of reading about Braden Holtby and the Capitals' shot-blocking prowess and the Rangers' struggles to score as I am of writing about all that.

So on the eve of Game 6, let's flip the script, shall we?

Because somewhat lost in the discussion of this second-round playoff series has been the extent to which the Rangers' defense -- beyond the obvious exploits of goaltender Henrik Lundqvist -- mostly has put a cap on the Caps.

That includes Alex Ovechkin, who was the best skater on the ice in the first two games but has been relatively quiet lately, with no points in the past three games after two flashy goals in Games 1 and 2 and an assist on the Game 1 winner.

The Rangers have allowed two goals or fewer in nine of 10 playoff games this season, including eight in a row.

The last time they had a streak that long in the postseason? One that lasted 21 games over four seasons from 1928-31.

Naturally, there were some dicey moments. As you surely recall, the Montreal Maroons had chances to tack on a third goal against Joe Miller, playing for the injured Lorne Chabot, in a 2-0 victory in Game 3 of the Cup Final on April 10, 1928.

I digress. Back to 2015: Sure, there have been mistakes, most recently when Keith Yandle pinched a tad too much into the offensive zone Friday night, resulting in a breakaway that produced the Capitals' lone goal.

But let's be fair here: The Rangers have put up these stingy defensive numbers while playing against Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin of the Penguins in the first round, and now Ovechkin and Niklas Backstrom in the second.

All of which should give the Capitals pause as they ponder the pressure on them not to blow this series.

The Caps are on the doorstep of a rare feat -- for them. They last made a conference final in 1998. Ovechkin never has. Neither has coach Barry Trotz, who spent 15 seasons in Nashville without winning two series in one spring.

Understandably, the Rangers were in no mood to poke the bear by gloating about their work on Ovechkin when three of them -- including the top defense pair of Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi -- met reporters Saturday at the team hotel.

"I think we've had some breakdowns that led to goals, and we'd like to clean that up as best we can, but Ovi is still getting his looks and we've got to still try to do a job on him," Girardi said. "He's going to get his chances, we just have to make sure they're not Grade A, right-in-front-of-the-net chances."

Said McDonagh: "We haven't talked about trying to change anything. He's going to get his shots off the wing there and it's a matter of taking away that space for him to make a strong lateral move and get a full windup on a shot.

"Obviously on the penalty kill we need to continue to be aware of where he's at and do a good job of not letting them get to their setup as often."

These games have become a series of coin flips, and there is no telling where it will land Sunday night, beyond the obvious: That the final score will be 2-1, as seven of the Rangers' 10 playoff games have been. Another was 1-0.

Job One hasn't changed since Game 1: Stop Ovi.

"He's been dangerous the whole series," Derek Stepan said. "The way he shoots the puck, the way he sees the ice, it's very difficult. So our best chance is to limit his opportunities and when he does get his chances we need Hank to make big-time saves."

Did I mention that Braden Holtby is playing well also?

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