Rangers Notebook: Solving Holtby, Hart nominees

Henrik Lundqvist was nominated for the Hart trophy.

Semyon Varlamov was in goal for the Capitals in 2009. Michal Neuvirth tended goal in last year’s series.

As the Rangers and Capitals entered their third playoff matchup in four years, the unknown between the pipes for Washington is Braden Holtby.

The Lloydminster, Saskatchewan native went 4-2-1 with a .922 save percentage and 2.49 GAA in seven regular season games after being called up from AHL Hershey due to injuries suffered by Neuvirth and Tomas Vokoun. One of the wins was a 4-1 season-ending decision over the Rangers at the Garden on April 7, in which he turned away 35 shots.

He outdueled Tim Thomas in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals, finishing the seven-game series with a 4-3 record, 2.00 goals against average and .940 save percentage.

“Even down the stretch when we were battling for [a] playoff [berth], he had to go into Detroit and won; go into Philadelphia — we lost — but got a point. The kid battles. He doesn’t let stuff bother him,” Capitals coach Dale Hunter said during his pre-game press briefing. “With this kid, you don’t have to [make sure he keeps a level head]. He’s one of the hardest working goalies in practice. He just keeps working.

“Down the stretch he played really well for us. He [played well] against one of the top goalies in the league and now he has to do it again. He knows it.”

Familiar foes

Hunter has ties to the Rangers as he coached Dan Girardi, Michael Del Zotto and Brandon Prust when the three played junior hockey for the Ontario Hockey League’s London Knights. Hunter co-owns the junior hockey power with his brother Mark.

“He’s very strong. He can move the puck and he can skate,” Hunter said of Girardi, who played for the Knights in 2004-05. The Knights won the Memorial Cup that year.

“It’s going to be a challenge for [Alex Ovechkin] to go against one of the top defensemen,” Hunter added.

Expect Girardi and Ryan McDonagh to be matched up against Ovechkin’s line throughout the series.

Injuries linger

Tortorella said “no updates” to three questions about Brandon Dubinsky and Brian Boyle’s statuses before the game.

Both Boyle and Dubinsky were scratched. Steve Eminger was inserted into the lineup, skating with John Mitchell and Mike Rupp on the fourth line. It was Eminger’s first game action since spraining his ankle against the Penguins on Mar. 15.

Lundqvist’s second nomination

The NHL announced Friday that Henrik Lundqvist was a finalist for the Hart Trophy. Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin and Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos are the other finalists.


Follow Rangers beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter


Boston Marathon 2014 on high alert, Red Sox…

One year on from the horrific Boston Marathon bombings a ring of steel has been thrown around today's race, and a city stands defiant against…


Boston Strong: One year on from Boston Marathon…

  For more than a century the Boston Marathon has been an even centred around sportsmanship, endurance and athleticism, but there's no denying the face…


Best nature spots for kids in New York…

When it comes to kids and nature, most U.S. parents agree: children should be spending more time outdoors. According to a recent survey by The…


Easter 2014: The year's best bonnets

It's Easter, and that means it's time for Fifth Avenue to turn into a veritable catwalk of bonnet-wearers. The annual march, which kicks off at…


‘Mad Men’ recap: Season 7, Episode 2, ‘A…

Peggy and Lou are horrible, Bert's racist, Don is honest(ish) and Roger and Pete are frustrated. "A Day's Work" not quite worthy of "This Will Be Our Year."


'Game of Thrones' recap: Season 4, Episode 3,…

The problem with the devil you know is that ignoring them doesn’t mean they simply lie in wait. It allows them time to do things…


Discovery cancels 'Everest Jump Live' special in wake…

The Discovery Channel has indicated it will not be moving forward with "Everest Jump Live," a planned special about mountain climber Joby Ogwyn's effort to…

The Word

'X-Men' director Bryan Singer drama continues

  News broke late last week that "X-Men" and "The Usual Suspects" director Bryan Singer is being sued by a man who said Singer molested…


Rangers let chance at victory slip away in…

All the Rangers had to do was hold serve in a raucous Madison Square Garden — roaring in anticipation of putting a hated rival in a 2-0 series hole.


Yankees place Ivan Nova on DL with partially…

Yankees starter Ivan Nova was diagnosed with a partially torn UCL in his throwing elbow Sunday.


Rangers never thought opening round would be 'an…

You might have thought the Metropolitan Division semifinal series was going to be a rout after watching Game 1 Thursday night. The Rangers did not.


Rangers blow two-goal lead in Game 2 loss…

The Rangers got out to an early 2-0 lead in Game 2 and the Garden was rocking. But it went downhill quickly from there.


Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…


Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…


Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…


4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.