Capitals 5 Rangers 3
NEW YORK — The New York Rangers can expect beefed-up security during a return trip to Washington they never wanted to take. No one else will help protect them on the ice against the suddenly surging Capitals.
John Tortorella’s view from a suite was no better than the one from the bench, and the suspended coach watched helplessly as Washington dominated his Rangers for the second straight game, this time winning 5-3, and put them on the brink of elimination, too.
Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist again didn’t make it to the third period, and Washington defenceman Tom Poti torched his former team in the Capitals’ 5-3 victory Sunday that set up a decisive Game 7 on Tuesday.
“He can’t play every game like a god,” Capitals star Alex Ovechkin said of Lundqvist, who had stopped 141 of 149 shots in the first four games when the Rangers grabbed a 3-1 series lead. “He can’t save the game all the time.
“When we play our game, we play simple. We play hard and nobody can stop us.”
Tortorella served a one-game suspension following a confrontation with a fan Friday during New York’s 4-0 loss in Game 5 that sent the series back to Madison Square Garden. Tortorella squirted water into the crowd and threw a water bottle into the stands.
On Sunday, Tortorella sat high above the ice and rested his chin in his palm as the game turned from bad to worse under the Capitals’ offensive onslaught.
Jim Schoenfeld, Tortorella’s lone assistant coach, ran the club in his absence and said before the game that Tortorella had been sticking up for his players against slurs from the crowd.
Even the return of benched forward Sean Avery couldn’t spark the Rangers, who have been outscored 9-3 since moving within one win of advancing.
“We wouldn’t put this on Torts and we won’t put this on Shoney,” captain Chris Drury said. “We just didn’t play well enough.”