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Caps top Rangers to avoid exit

GOALTENDER Simeon Varlamov proved inspirational in the Washington Capitals' 4-0 shutout win over the New York Rangers on Friday, as the home team staved off elimination in their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.

The 20-year-old rookie stopped 20 shots to become the first Capitals goalie to register two shutouts in the same series since 1998 as the team pulled to within 3-2 in the best-of-seven showdown.

"He's very comfortable and he gives us great confidence. He's relaxed," Caps winger Alex Ovechkin said of his teammate. "All the guys understand we can have no mistakes right now, it's a very important time for us."

Matt Bradley netted twice and Ovechkin, the National Hockey League's leading scorer in the regular season, notched his second goal of the playoffs late in the second period to help the Capitals finally get the better of Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist

Lundqvist, who had made 141 saves in allowing just eight goals in the first four games of the series, was pulled after the second period with the score already 4-0.

The Capitals will try to force a decisive contest when they play Game 6 in New York tomorrow.


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