Thursday, May 03, 2012

4 Hours, 34 Minutes Later...

Capitals 1, Rangers 2 3OT New York leads series 2-1
Game Summary - Event Summary

It would take three overtime periods, 95 combined shots, 105 combined hits, and the longest NHL game in nearly 41 years. Marion Gaborik would end the action with just 5:19 left in the third overtime gave the Rangers the series lead 2-1 and end the game with the same tally 2-1 over the Washington Capitals.

The Capitals came out with a fire in their belly in the first period. They were flying, out shooting the Rangers 13 to 10 and more chances on a New York team that was just weathering the storm. But the Capitals could not crack Henrik Lundqvist and fell behind in the second period when the Rangers got a power play. Ryan Callahan buried the loose puck in front as it bounced off of two Caps and caught Holtby out of position.

It did not take long for the Capitals to respond, John Carlson skated the puck into the Ranger zone and followed the bouncing puck until it settled on his stick. He wrist it past Lundqvist over his right blocker. But that was as much offense the Caps could muster. There was a keen chance for the Caps late in the second period when they had a three on one break. But Brooks Laich just ran out of room to get a quality shot off.

Alex Ovechkin nearly ended it when he hit the post. It would sound the horn and the crowd went nuts. But it was clear in the replay that the puck solidly hit the post. 

Matt Hendricks played his best player as a Washington Capital. He was a hitting machine, and nearly ended the game early in the first overtime with a thunderous hit on Ryan McDonagh then stole the puck and found Troy Brouwer in front of the net. But Brouwer's shot sailed high and wide of the top corner allowing the overtime period to carry on.

“It’s tough," Hendricks said of the emotional overtime game. "You invest a lot every night, no matter what, if it’s a 60-minute game or extended into overtime. When you extend into overtime you are investing more and more and you are putting everything you’ve got into it. Unfortunately, we didn’t win tonight, but we can’t let that bother us. We just need to get prepared for the next one.”

Hendricks deserved a better fate in this game, but he would end a -1, finished with a team high 11 hits, 6 shots on net, and was 71% in the face off dot. Not too shabby. He also had a great shot early in the second period, but the puck trickled wide behind Lundqvist.

(Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
The goaltending was spectacular on both ends. Holtby and Lundqvist faced a much different game than in games one and two. In the previous games, shots were hard to come by. They were grinding, clogged up games. Game three was in contrast, fast skating, open play and it seemed to favor the Washington Capitals for most of the game. Holtby would finish with 47 saves, his counterpart finished with 45 stops.

Alex Semin played a great game two, nearly scorning in the open moments of the game. He would get an assist on Carlson's goal. But as the game wore on, he seemed to disappear in the play.

As much as the Rangers would like to think they have a strangle hold on the series, it is just one game. New York takes the series lead, but the Capitals have been here before. Nearly parallel to the series with Boston, the Caps were able to split the first games in Boston and back in Washington. The Caps will look to do the same in two days when both teams meet on Saturday at Verizon Center for game four.

“It’s a loss. It’s no different than any other one," Holtby said. "A hard fought battle. We will be ready for the next game. It was a good game.”

Cap Notes:
  • It was the fourth time the Capital franchise they have reached triple overtime.
  • Visitors are 13-6 in overtimes this playoff season.
  • Both teams have opted out of practices tomorrow.
  • The Capitals killed off two penalties in overtime, a tripping call on Semin in the first overtime and a high stick call on Mike Green in triple overtime. The Rangers were not called for penalties in any of the overtime periods.

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