On the first off day of the Eastern Conference semifinals between the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals, it was easy to see which club jumped out on top in the opener.
The top-seeded Rangers held an optional practice Sunday, a day after their 3-1 victory at home over seventh-seeded Washington. The Capitals had everyone on the ice at Madison Square Garden, and lined them up in quite a curious manner.
Alexander Semin, who had three goals for Washington in its first-round upset of defending Stanley Cup champion Boston, skated as a fourth-liner Sunday after he took two penalties in the series-opening loss to the Rangers. Semin was on a line with Mike Knuble and Keith Aucoin, but it might have just been a practice ploy by Capitals coach Dale Hunter and not a predictor of what might occur tonight in Game Two (7:30 p.m., NBCSN).
"Just mixing the lines up," Hunter said after practice.
In St. Louis, the Blues will try to even their Western Conference series with the L.A. Kings (9:30 p.m., NBCSN).
Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo was not at practice the morning after getting checked face-first into the boards by Dwight King in St. Louis' 3-1 loss. He is day to day.