The stage is set in Washington for Game 7. The Rangers have been called out by their GM and every man has to step up. The crowd in DC is going to be all over Torts and the Rangers, so they'll just have to go out there and work hard every shift.
The lineup changes you'll be seeing:
For Washington, Donald Brashear, the biggest goon left in pro hockey will be serving the first of a six game suspension handed down by Colin Campbell. Returning to the lineup will be the Capitals Captain Chris Clark. Clark has been out since early February with a wrist injury and was supposed to be done for the season. Clark, a Clarkson University Alumnus and friend of mine, was in good spirits when I ran into him in the Garden on Sunday. He was eyeing a return in the second round if they made it. Clark is a gritty power forward with a strong sense for defense and he will hit you. When I think of Clark, I compare him to Craig Conroy, another Clarkson alumnus (both wore #7), they will not light up the scoresheet but they will give you a strong game at even strength and on the PK. (When I saw Clark at the Garden on Sunday in my Clarkson hat and Rangers shirt, his first words were "Nice hat"... he made no comment about the shirt.)
For the Rangers, Blair Betts is done for the season and possibly longer. The Rangers have called up Hartford's leading scorer Artem Ansimov for game 7. Ansimov has 81 points in 80 regular season games in Hartford and has 2 goals in the first round of the Calder Cup playoffs. The former second round selection has played in only one NHL game, earlier this season against Atlanta.
Unfortunately when I look at these lineup changes, I see the loss of Brashear as a net gain to the Caps. They get back their captain, a top penalty killer and a smart physical player. The Rangers lose one of their best penalty killers and bring up a green rookie (and hopefully not another soft Russian.)