OT hero, Jason Chimera (Photo credit: Scott Levy)

It’s already been a storied playoff series between the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals. One overtime clincher, a tightly wound shutout, a blunder-filled heartbreaker, and now this. In what might have been their most hyped hockey game since the Winter Classic, the Caps blew it big time. But only for about 40 minutes. Then, Bruce Boudreau and his boys revealed the content of their character through a soaring victory in enemy territory.

via Josh Wilcox

After yet another scoreless first period, the Rangers’ Artem Anisimov got one past Michal Neuvirth to make it 1-0. In a stretch of seven seconds, the Rangers notched two more via Gaborik and Dubinksy. The Capitals were deep in a 3-0 hole and playing crummy hockey heading into a third period some expected to be dour.

We may never know what happened during that intermission, but I think Bruce Boudreau flipped the gorram switch. Alex Semin pounced on an unsecured puck ‘twixt Henrik Lundqvist’s nethers to start the comeback. Less than a minute later, Brooks Laich hit up Marcus Johansson on the weak side to make it 3-2. And then again MoJo used his body to deflect a John Carlson long bomb for the tying goal.

So we headed into two lengthy overtime periods: an endless grind of nasty hits, exhaustion, and manic penalties. And just when it seemed the Capitals might make their fatal mistake, it was Henrik Lundqvist who couldn’t control a rambunctious puck. And it was Jason freaking Chimera who finally found the back of that utterly crashed net. 92 minutes later. Caps beat Rags 4-3 (OT).

  • Everyone on Twitter needs a warm milk and a Xanax right now. Well done, fans. You weathered the storm, you kept the faith. You did all the things Bon Jovi songs tell you to do. High five the first person you see on Thursday wearing red, ’cause that person went through hell with you tonight and you both came out the other end.
  • This bullet is dedicated to the battle between  Bruce Boudreau and Madison Square Garden. You know the winner.
  • In the bustling world of scoring chances, the Caps were down 7-12 through two periods. After the now-legendary comeback of the third period and two nasty OT sessions, the Caps pulled out ahead to finish up 21-18.
  • CSN’s Al Koken on the second period:  “It was like the Caps stayed in the dressing room.” Well said.
  • How lopsided was OT? Caps led in scoring chances 9 to 3. It was only a matter of time. A matter of a lot of time.
  • Carlzner was tested and found wanting, on ice for 11 of 17 scoring chances and all 3 goals against the Caps. A poor session for the shutdown pair of John Carlson and Karl Alzner, but they did combine to create that tying goal.
  • On the opposite side of the rookie-performance spectrum stands Marcus Johansson. The baby Swede scored the first and second goals of his NHL playoff career and flirted with a third a few times. It’s as if at some point in February, Johansson started acting out Nick Backstrom’s ’09-’10 season.
  • Mike Green was confident and capable throughout the game.  His +4 SC differential (6-2) was the team’s best.
  • And there’s little Michal Neuvirth, everybody. Unflappable for nearly 100 minutes.

Dodge. (Photo credit: Bruce Bennett)

  • Let us speak no longer of last year. Alex Semin has showed up, and it’s exhilarating. And sometimes exasperating. But hey, that’s our Sasha and we love him for it.
  • And congratulations to Neil’s BFF, Jason Chimera, for scoring the goal of his career. That was Chimmer doing his best Mike Knuble impersonation, a tribute perhaps to the team’s sidelined vet.  Let’s hope Jason has many chances to tell the story of how he punished Henrik Lundqvist for that mistake.

Joe B suit of the night

This could have been the worst game of the year. In the first and second period, the Capitals simply were not playing Capitals hockey. It cost them dearly. Even some die-hard Caps fans had a hard time quelling those cynical and acerbic feelings from bubbling within. Those doubting fans have a new role model in head coach Bruce Boudreau, who generaled his troops with a cool hand after the second. The team that showed up in the third period was disciplined and exacting, driving pucks inexorably towards Lundvist’s net. The bad hits the Rangers had been leveling so viciously began to roll off the Caps’ shoulders. Once Alex Semin struck, we were treated to a parade of spectacular(ly ugly) hockey and those woefully missed hockey grins.

I want to leave you with a question: What do you think happened during that second intermission? Was it an F-bomb-laden tirade, a solemn speech with heads hung, or a inspiring address delivered like St. Crispin’s Day but with  more bumbling? Please answer below.

3 down.

Additional reporting by Neil Greenberg.

  • AshleyDC

    In my mind (which is drug addled from having shoulder surgery earlier today), BB just stared at them for 15 minutes and angrily ate Haggen Daaz.

    What a game! Let’s bring it home boys!

  • davidmachineseldombreaks

    I think it was an inspiring address delivered with lots of F bombs.

  • Owen

    Love the gorram Firefly reference

  • Mily

    I want to see BB eating Haggen Daaz angrily.

    But back to point – like someone said over on Japer’s Rink, (I’m paraphrasing of course) “Maybe it’d be better to not dig a hole for themselves”. This hockey game was exciting but did it have to take 2 periods and a 3-0 score for the team to unleash the fury?

  • Josie

    does BB know how to give a speech without cursing every other word? im going with the F-bomb-laden tirade!

  • Gracie

    Who are we kidding? F bomb tirade

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  • Tim

    I think F bomb tirade from BB, and a calm speech from Arnott. Whatever it was, it worked. Huge props to the Fehr-Johansson-Chimera line for their great play in the 3rd/OT’s.

  • Ian

    I’m kinda wondering what Henrik was saying here:

  • Ian

    Also awesome:



  • Colin

    I think it probably wasn’t BB at all. My bet would be on Arnott. Sometimes, only other players can push a team when it needs it most. I am especially focused on Arnott because who came out on fire in the third? His new BFF, Sasha Prime!

    Have to admit, that one was tough to keep the faith and decades of bad memories flooded back towards the end of the second.

    But what an amazing turn of events. Instead of returning to DC tied with the story being can the Caps stop the collapse, we come back to DC with a chance to put the Rags out if the boys can find their killer instinct.

    My guess, this ends Saturday and a new era of Caps playoff hockey begins.

  • Jimmy C

    D, none of the above. BB clearly had the Caps videographers throw together three chintzy “History Will Be Made” highlights of 2nd period Rags goals. That’s all the boys needed to go to war in the 3rd, 1st & 2nd OTs.

    As a side note, is Gary Bettman suffering from Alzheimer’s? While the new “History” commercials featuring 12-hour-old plays are technically part of the league’s “history” (having occurred in the past), showing a single highlight without the context of the play’s impact on the eventual outcome of the series (or season) is the equivalent of watching “NHL on the Fly” highlights. Go back to the drawing board, NHL.

  • WB

    I think Colin is right about Arnott. Hopefully no more of MSG

  • Robert

    Should we now be expecting a “History” commercial now featuring the Capitals?

  • Chimera score Double OT game winner Capitals win 4 – 3. And Lundqvist is on the 3-1:0 to Yuma

  • Sara BAE

    yeah it was def boudreau screaming then arnott’s words of encouragementttt. omg i was so scared that we were going to get shut out and my heart was racing and beatign so fast.. it started to get hot and i got kinda sweaty from beign so nervous! @jimmy c, i like your comment about 12-hour-plays being hockey @history” it made me laugh

  • Avtopilot

    BB just showed the video of freaking “Mustache monster” making the “NHL history”.
    That was enough.

    If not US – WHO?
    If not NOW – WHEN?
    Stay angry

  • Remember the speech Al Pacino gave the players in Any Given Sunday? Maybe he gave his own version of that. Or maybe BB said little and the players all stepped up and said “enough is enough. We’re not losing this game. Those 60 minutes were not how we got this far. Let’s roll.”

  • Or just maybe, almost nothing was said; BB just stuck in a DVD of the Caps players reaction as time expired in Game 7 vs Montreal last year and then said “Who here wants to relive and feel like that again? Nobody. You know what needs to be done so let’s go do it.”

  • K4

    Can we have the team that played the last 3 periods play the first 3 periods on Saturday? Ranger’s D looked gassed. That’s what happens when you finish your checks. Early effort pays off later in the game.

    “BB just stared at them for 15 minutes and angrily ate Haggen Daaz.”

    As if my smile could get any bigger this morning.

  • @CapFans1426

    Like has been mentioned previously, I think Arnott. On more than one occasion it has been mentioned he is the emotional leader, that has “pulled the lockeroom together” That’s not to say it was not accompannied by a F-bomb tirade, but does it matter?

    Caps win 4-3 in 2 OT! Game On!

    Go Caps!

  • I thought I saw a tweet last night that Arnott had to calm BB down during the game when he hollered at the refs too much. So here’s my take …

    BB stared (or paced) and angrily ate Haggen Daaz while Arnott gave the inspiring speech from St. Crispin’s Day and told them to win it for Knuble.

  • Bucky Katt

    Can’t remember where I heard this but supposedly BB was fairly calm and it was the “team leaders” (aka Arnott IMHO) and Ovi who were spitting fire.

    Robert sez: “Should we now be expecting a “History” commercial now featuring the Capitals?”

    Right on Brother! Should be the Chimera 2OT GWG. Epic.

  • Maybe Coach Boudreau spoke the simple truth (similar to what Locher had intimated during the intermission): “They got a lucky bounce and then played 10 seconds of good hockey…” And he punctuated that with a blue streak of profanity, of course.

    Last night may really have spoken to the true character and abilities of the team. They were in the pits of Hell and clawed their way out, dragging the charred and savaged remains of Satan (Tortorella) with them as a trophy.

  • Katie

    I wore a red Caps hoodie to Game 1 and Game 2, which I had only worn once before at the Class. I didn’t wear it at home during Game 3. When I saw the Caps had made it 2-3, I put the hoodie back on. I see a pattern here.

    Also, I have to choose between going to a wedding as someone’s date on Saturday and going to the game. Maybe go to the wedding but wear the hoodie?

    I hope that loss really demoralizes the Rags. The truth is we have a more talented team, but for some reason, NY is a team we haven’t matched up that well against this year. But I’m operating under the belief that you can only contain true talent for so long, especially after you added veteran leadership like Arnott to it and had some character building bumps in the road.

  • Mo’s Mom

    No matter that I had to order 2 venti’s from Starbucks this am….it’s the best kind of tired, this day !!! Though her dad went to bed, muttering something about the Caps having, “…no heart…,” Morgan & I kept the faith & celebrated together, jumping, whisper-shouting with much waving of the hands…2010 is dead & gone….Go, go Mojo-Jojo & Company…let’s end it Saturday for all the nation to see….Go Caps Go………..!!!!!!!!!

  • Devin Shannon

    I was so excited to see Jason (Chimera) get that goal! He was so gracious with his time when William had his wish earlier this month. As far as the locker room goes, Arnott brings leadership that has been missing the past few years. I’d like to see him as a Cap for the next few years.

    As a former USA Hockey official, I always support the officiating in the National Hockey League. However, 15 power plays in 2 games needs to be investigated. The Caps spent half a hockey game killing off penalties and they are not that dirty of a team.

  • Greg

    History doesn’t care about the first 40 minutes.

    But I mean honestly… I was in a zone of resigned indifference after 40- the kind of feeling only accompanying a blowout. I had no emotion. Game 3 was a killer, but once it was 3 – 0 I was calmly doing a crossword.

    Once this game got into 2OT and both teams looked like they had been hit by a bus, my stomach was in my throat. Never expected that comeback, but I’m glad I didn’t give up and shut it off.

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  • Ryan

    I think he called them [Ed note: something that rhymes with wussies] and commanded them to prove otherwise in the third period.


    I aged 5 years last night – and I’ve never been happier!!!

    I’m also VERY happy to report that my family of rabid Ranger fans back north are as miserable as we are ecstatic! To a man, they predict Saturday to be a mere formality – Rangers are toast!

    GO CAPS!!!

  • bb

    @Katie I wore my shirseys for the first two games, and not for the second. I wore it in this game when I saw they were down 3-0…another pattern developing here.

  • Joanne

    BBBB just rallied the shitbums to get it together…they will NEVER give up!!!

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  • Andy

    I was sitting at a bar in Richmond while I watched Game 3 and I was drinking Heineken. I sat at a bar last night and drank Heineken (it’s what was on special, Heineken isn’t really my thing) for the first two frames. I switched beers in between 2nd and 3rd and the Caps skated their way to a win!

    I, Andy, do solemnly swear to never drink Heineken, any Heineken, and everything but Heineken on a Caps Game Day, so help me John (Erskine? Carlson? Either one)

  • “High five the first person you see on Thursday wearing red, ’cause that person went through hell with you tonight and you both came out the other end.”

    and it’s national high-five day, y’all. http://www.nationalhighfiveproject.org/
    high-five the crap out of any and all caps fans you see. what a game.

  • Rhino40

    Can’t begin to say just how GREAT it felt to see the Caps come out on the right side of such a marathon for a change–especially after the über-lucky GWG the Rags had gifted to them in Game 3.

    –Who knew Sasha Minor could be so adept at finishing in the “Dirty Areas”? Yeah, I got yer “Euro-Softee” right here!

    –When MaJo scored twice, I heard the ghost of Jim Morrison singing: “Mister Ma-Jo Risin’…”

    –Whoda thunk ol’ Concrete-Hands would come up the hero twice in the same series? Go figure!

    –Still a big disparity in power play chances, but at least the zebras made it clear early on, that overt charging of goalies would not be tolerated.

    For Saturday: let’s finish this thing. For those fortunate enough to afford tix: Please be classy and don’t stoop to the same level as the denizens of MSG. OTOH, we want the Rags to feel beaten before the puck even drops and have no hope of dragging this series back to their smelly old building.

    Coach is crazy…like a fox.


  • Pat

    I really get a: “it’s us against the world” feeling…….. I LIKE IT!!!

  • lilmikeymom

    i think it was a combination of all three. But the last part he probably used the F bomb with something like this “Do you really want to go back to that F’n MSG again??” That’s all it took!

  • Ian

    And this is what makes player-to-fan interaction awesome:

    @joshwilcox hahaha I loved that picture. Gave everyone on the team a good laugh. Thanks for thatless than a minute ago via Twitter for iPhone Favorite Retweet Reply

    I’m really happy for you, Josh!