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Rangers need just one more win

The task facing the Rangers sounds simple — win just one game.

The task facing the Rangers sounds simple — win just one game.

"We're focused on that," Brandon Prust said after the Rangers congregated at Madison Square Garden early Tuesday afternoon for a team meeting and brief on-ice practice before taking a train to Washington.

The Rangers and Capitals will play Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series Wednesday night at the Verizon Center (7:30 PM, NBC Sports Network). The Rangers are 3-6 in nine all-time playoff games at Verizon Center.

The Rangers lead the best-of-seven series three games to two following their improbable 3-2 overtime win Monday night.

Brad Richards scored the game-tying goal with 6.6 seconds remaining in regulation and Marc Staal's drive 1:35 in overtime was the game-winner. Both goals were scored during a four-minute power play after Joel Ward high-sticked Carl Hagelin in the mouth.

"Richie's goal was huge. We just wanted to tie it up; we wanted to score and send it to overtime," Prust said. "We did that. We're happy about that. It gave us a boost for sure and we carried it over onto overtime.

"It was definitely an emotional turnaround. You're down a little bit, the game's almost over and you're kind of thinking loss, [then] all of a sudden you've won," Prust said. "It's pretty overwhelming."

The Rangers are on the verge of advancing to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 1997, because their cornerstone players led the way.

Henrik Lundqvist only had to make 16 stops but the ones he made after Washington took a 2-1 lead early in the third period kept the Rangers in the game. The top line of Richards, Hagelin and Marian Gaborik were credited with 11 shots on goal with 14 others that were blocked or missed the net. Richards also won 12-of-18 faceoffs in 22:59 of ice time.

"He makes a big play last night. The intangible he brings as far as a pretty young hockey team here is very important," head coach John Tortorella said.

"He's got 'it.' He just has 'it.' He's made big plays at key times," Tortorella said. "I don't have to say a word to him about [responding from a poor performance]. Early on in his career, yes. But Brad — that is what he is. He knows how to assess his game. I don't have to assess his game.

"With Richie, he knows what he is, he knows what he's supposed to do," Tortorella added. "He knows when he's doing it and when he's not doing it."



Follow Rangers beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.

 
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