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Rangers-Caps, Game 2: 5 Things to Watch For

File photo of the Rangers' Sean Avery.

File photo of the Rangers' Sean Avery. Photo Credit: AP

1. Not necessarily more shots, but smarter ones.

With 32 of 57 shots blocked in Game 1, the Rangers did try to throw a bunch of pucks on Caps rookie goaltender Michal Neuvirth, but they weren't effective shots that get through traffic and cause rebounds. Having seen the effect of the lively end boards in the Verizon Center, the Rangers need to think about having their defensemen throw shots well wide, off those end boards, which can have the same effect as a shot that produces a rebound in front. The Caps used the end boards well in the first game to create loose pucks and traffic in front of Henrik Lundqvist.

2. Follow the forecheckers.

Brandon Prust and Brian Boyle were the best Ranger forwards on the forecheck, especially against the John Erskine-Mike Green defense pair for the Caps. The Rangers may have an offense-first line of Vinny Prospal-Erik Christensen-Marian Gaborik together tonight, but that doesn't mean they can't cycle the puck to create space. The Rangers have to have the puck more and force the Ovechkins and Semins to play more without the puck than with it, even if they're not in the Prust-Boyle mode.

3. The matching game.

The Ovechkin-Nicklas Backstrom-Mike Knuble line had a strong first period and got some chances off the rush, so it's not just about having Marc Staal and Dan Girardi on ice against them -- defending Ovechkin starts in the Caps zone with the forwards, and the Brandon Dubinsky-Derek Stepan-Ruslan Fedotenko line that was out primarily against Ovechkin's line did the job for all but the few seconds that led to Ovechkin's tying goal. Expect them out there again, this time from the start of the game.

4. More draws for Drury.

The Rangers captain won 6 of 8 faceoffs in Game 1; the Rangers won 37 of 80 as a team. This is part of the reason Drury is back playing, so he could be utilized as much as Dubinsky (7-for-20) or Boyle (12-for-24), particularly against the Caps' Brooks Laich, who won 13 of 18.

5. He's back, as requested.

The live chatters and twitterers wanted it, and now Sean Avery is indeed in for tonight, replacing Mats Zuccarello. What does Avery need to do? Be himself, but not go overboard. That's a line he's been trying to find in two seasons under John Tortorella, and he'll likely only get between 8-10 minutes of ice time to figure it out tonight.


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