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Avery's Antics Can't Get Caps Off Game

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    NEWSLETTERS

    "Avery sucks" was the chant that bubbled up throughout the Verizon Center several times during the Capitals' 2-0 win over the Rangers Friday night.

    It was the first time in the series that the home fans had a chance to break out the oft-heard phrase at NHL rinks across North America.

    The Rangers' super-pest was a healthy scratch in Game 1 of the series, but tried his best in Game 2 to stir the pot and get the Caps off their game.

    They didn't bite.

    It wasn't for lack of effort on Avery's part.

    On his first shift of the game he took on Brooks Laich in front of the Caps' bench -- and ended up on his wallet.

    At certain points in the game he tried drawing a penalty against John Carlson, Jason Chimera, Jason Arnott and John Erskine.

    Didn't work.

    Heck, at one point he found himself mounting Alex Semin in the Capitals' crease, doing who-knows-what under the pile to a player known more for his bongo skills than fisticuffs.

    Even that move didn't earn him or another player a spot in the penalty box.

    Give the Caps credit -- they didn't get suckered in by one of the league's biggest agitators. Discipline was key.

    "It's the most important thing," the veteran Arnott said after the game. "You've got to turn the cheek and keep playing hard and focus in on the big thing, and that's winning."

    While Avery couldn't get the Caps riled up, he certainly got the fans' blood to boil in the stands, leading to many descriptive words hurled his direction -- words that shall not be repeated on the pages of NBCWashington.com. Hey, after all, this is a family show.

    Avery had one last chance to mix things up after a faceoff with just 6 seconds left in the game. As the whistle blew to end it, Avery was still jawing and pushing, but Erskine and Co. would have none of it. They weren't going to join in on his reindeer games.

    Why was he out there at the end of the game, other than to cause trouble? His coach said his line was playing well, so he got the ice time.  Yeah, that's it...

    "I thought in the third period that was a pretty good line -- Prust, Brian Boyle and Sean," John Tortorella said. "They gave us some zone time. I thought we did some really good forechecking with that line."

    Coach Bruce Boudreau, however, knows what Avery was really up to.

    "That's how he plays," Boudreau said. "I thought we did a really good job of staying out of it. It's not like he's a first-year guy in the league any more, and it's something we all know about."

    Knowing about it is one thing.  Making sure you don't get caught up in it is another.