LOSE ONE game, win the next. No matter how seemingly devastating a defeat, in overtime or otherwise, the Washington Capitals - from two-time NHL MVP Alex Ovechkin to playoff rookie goalie Braden Holtby - simply do not allow setbacks to bother them.
Ovechkin rebounded from a rare zero-shot performance by scoring after 88 seconds Wednesday night, Holtby made 30 saves, and the Capitals recovered the way they always seem to, beating the top-seeded Rangers 2-1 to force a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference semifinal series.
"We're resilient," Washington defenseman Karl Alzner said. "We have that thick skin. We know when to battle back when we need to and have to."
The Capitals could have folded. Instead, they staved off elimination, and the teams will meet in New York on Saturday to determine who will face the Devils in the conference finals.
"It's where we want to be," Holtby said. "We didn't expect a short series." He improved to 6-0 in games immediately after losses this postseason. That's why the Caps are 4-0 in games that follow overtime losses in the playoffs.
"Everyone, I think, counted us out," said Jason Chimera, who scored in the second period to make it 2-0. "This is the way we are . . . We don't really crack."
About 1 1/2 minutes after the opening faceoff, Ovechkin dropped to a knee as he powered a slap shot just inside the right post from about 30 feet in front of goalie Henrik Lundqvist. It was Ovechkin's 30th career playoff goal, tying the franchise record.
"Obviously, we talked about coming out and starting well, and they get a goal right away on the power play. It kind of set the tone for the game," Lundqvist said. "From there, it was just hard for us to get going."