The Washington Capitals will try to advance to the second round of the playoffs, as they visit the New York Rangers on Sunday in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
However, the Rangers do appear to have an edge heading into Sunday's game, as the home team has won all five games so far in this best-of-seven set.
Washington claimed Games 1 and 2 in D.C. before the Blueshirts posted a pair of 4-3 wins over the next two meetings at Madison Square Garden. However, the third-seeded Caps grabbed a 3-2 edge in the series after recording a 2-1 overtime win in Friday's clash at Verizon Center.
"Obviously it's going to be their barn, their building, their people," Capitals head coach Adam Oates said of Game 6. "It's going to be electric. We've got to handle the first 10 minutes of the game. Once we get into the game, we're okay."
The Rangers went 16-6-2 as the host during the regular season, while Washington was 12-10-2 as the road team.
Mike Ribeiro's goal 9:24 into overtime lifted the Capitals to a win in Friday's pivotal battle.
New York's only goal came just 53 seconds into the game when Brian Boyle notched his second marker of the series. Braden Holtby surrendered the early goal to Boyle, but he proved unbeatable the rest of the way and finished with 24 saves.
The Capitals' lone regulation goal was Joel Ward's power-play tally at 7:44 of the second period.
Henrik Lundqvist came up with 33 saves for New York, 13 of which were registered during a scoreless third period in which Washington dictated play most of the way. The reigning Vezina Trophy winner later kept the game ongoing by stoning Mathieu Perreault on a breakaway 2:16 into the extra session, then got a piece of an Alex Ovechkin wrister on a Caps' rush not long afterward.
Washington kept up the pressure, however, with Mike Green causing a turnover in the New York zone and getting the puck to Karl Alzner for a long drive that deflected off teammate Troy Brouwer and straight to Ribeiro, who scored into an open right side to put the Capitals one victory away from a series win.
"We didn't have a forecheck, which means our [defense] faced a lot tonight," Rangers forward Brad Richards remarked. "[The Capitals] were coming hard and we didn't do enough to keep the puck in their end and take the pressure off."
It was the 10th win for Washington in the last 11 postseason meetings against the Rangers at the Verizon Center. The Rangers also fell to 6-13 on the road in the playoffs since head coach John Tortorella took over in 2009, the worst mark in the NHL during that time frame
If the Capitals lose Sunday, they will host a decisive Game 7 battle on Monday.
These two clubs are familiar foes in the postseason of late, as this is the fourth time in the past five years they have met. The Capitals took the first two matchups, but the Rangers won a seven-game series in the conference semifinals last year.
Washington has won four of the seven all-time playoff series between these two clubs.
The Rangers could be without forward Ryane Clowe in Game 6. Clowe exited Friday's game after being slammed into the boards by Washington's Jason Chimera 4:40 into the first period. Clowe had missed the first three matchups of the series with a suspected concussion before returning in Game 4..
Forward Darroll Powe (upper body) could also miss Sunday's contest, but defenseman Marc Staal (eye) is questionable after practicing on Saturday. Staal returned from a two-month absence to play in Game 3, but has sat out the last two games for undisclosed reasons.
Washington forward Martin Erat sat out Friday with an arm injury sustained in Game 4. Rookie Tom Wilson took his place on the roster and made his NHL debut for the Caps. The 19-year-old Wilson, a first-round pick by Washington in 2012, is expected to be in the lineup again in Game 6. He saw just 6 minutes, 24 seconds of ice time on Friday, but registered a shot and four hits.