Photo credit: Mitchell Layton
The Washington Capitals returned home with hopes of gaining a series lead over the New York Rangers. Fans got involved with some rousing “O! V!” cheers, the Caps got their offense moving, and the ice was as soupy as you’d expect in the D.C. spring. But this game was unlike any others. It was a thing of History. Capitals history. And you can probably guess from that alone how it turned out.
After a scoreless first, Ryan Callahan converted a power play by tapping in a puck served up for him after bouncing off of Matt Hendricks. John Carlson tied it up with a dangle-icious wrister that went top shelf.
The third period was tense, but offered no resolution to the game. And so we went to overtime.
Alex Ovechkin rang the post on a huge breakaway– leading to some goal lights and a bit of premature celebration, but it was waved off. And thus we needed double secret overtime.
Brian Boyle blocked Mike Rupp’s sure-thing game-winner, and thus we needed triple overtime.
In trip OT, Jeff Schultz made the block of his life using his pants. Yeah, his pants. That’s how weird stuff got.
But then Marian Gaborik coordinated with Brad Richards to finally end it with some behind-the-goal-line action.
Rangers beat Caps 2-1 (3OT).
- Caps Escape Goat Dennis Wideman served an awfully long shift in the second period. Clocking in at 2:06 per our pal JP, Wides was ground down to fine dust. Wideman lost the offensive zone twice, once leading to a dangerous shorthanded opportunity. He just plain old had a rough time–and that was magnified by his hefty time on ice. But we’re not on a tirade here: Wides had some magical moments on offense, including a set-up for MJ90 that should have been the GWG. Like an hour before the real ending.
- Meanwhile, Infiltrator lamb John Carlson continued his playoff awesomeness streak, scoring his first goal of this postseason to tie the game. It wasn’t the JC74-signature slapshot either– it was a soft-hands wrister that you’d expect from a finesse guy. Not that we’re complaining. That was Carlson’s first goal since the last game of the season, which was also against the Rangers. JC74 had boku chances to end this, but didn’t everybody?
- Humidity. This is the latest game the Caps have played in DC since 2009, and you know what summer in DC is like. The ice was a mess and probably played a big role in the grind that this game turned into.
- Matt Hendricks had another monster great game– breaking out of the gates with a few great shots on with some supersized shifts. Hendy leveled some of the game’s best hits and drew a great retaliatory slashing penalty from Ryan Callahan. Hendricks’ OT hit on Ryan McDonagh was the biggest (clean) hit of the postseason so far.
- Speaking of Rangers D, they were dropping like flies. Dunno what Stu Bickel‘s deal was, but he saw hardly any ice since the second period (3:24). Dan Girardi missed some ice after colliding with Henrik Lundqvist during OT. Massive respect for Ryan McDonagh for not missing a shift after Hendricks leveled him.
- Man, Stu Bickel. What do you do on the bench for so long? Sudoku? Read Game of Thrones? Pinterest? Would Torts allow that? I think he would. He’d understand.
- The 8 -19 -90 line was expected to produce, but a weak spot revealed itself in winger Marcus Johansson. Mojo had the worst possession numbers on the team (minus-5) and more than his fair share of turnovers, but the real crime was his hesitancy to shoot. At the end of the second and start of the third, MJ90 was teed up for primo scoring chances, but he waited too long for his shots. The hunger to win really woulda been helpful. At like 10 PM.
- Nick Backstrom is partly at fault for Johansson’s rough possession numbers. Backy went an embarrassing 10 for 29 on the faceoff, which is bad enough to suggest that something bad wrong on that Swedish physique. The Caps may need to activate Jeff Halpern for a faceoff boost next game if Backstrom can’t be relied upon.
- Mike Knuble gets paid to crash the net. Every once in a while that will result in a penalty. That’s what happened in Game Three, but it was a total scam. Knuble stopped politely at Henrik’s grill but was promptly cross-checked by a pair of NYR D. A weak whistle any time of year– an infuriating one at the end of the playoff regulation.
- I saw Alex Semin shove a Ranger out of the crease. With my eyes. It actually happened. So did him committing a trip in overtime though, so it’s a wash. I really thought Sasha got all those stick penalties out of his system, but he’s averaging a PIM per game this postseason.
Series record: Capitals 1, Rangers 2
Well you just witnessed history, and once again the Capitals were on the losing side of it.
This game was punishing in a way we haven’t seen in a generation. As a fan, I feel like I have the flu. I can’t imagine the suffering the players are experiencing right now.
It’s dumbfounding– simply astonishing– how many near-goals there were. How many miracle saves, how many posts rung, how many sacrificial blocks. Players on both teams deserve our admiration and respect after this effort. All of the enmity we like to dump out on the other guy just doesn’t seem right now. This loss stings worst than any before, but it’s different because of the marathon that preceded it.
The game began at 7:40 pm on May 2nd. It ended at 12:16 am on May 3rd. It was the third longest game in franchise history. It was a cataclysmic heartbreaker.
Dennis Wideman clocked over 40 minutes on the ice. Dan Girardi was damn near 45 minutes. That’s herculean. Stu Bickel… three and a half minutes.
And Ryan McDonagh played 53 minutes and 17 seconds. Stand up and clap for that.
Hey. Braden Holtby and Henrik Lundqvist played world-class hockey. If you’re a Caps fan, you’re allowed to hate Henrik, but you’ve gotta respect him. And Holtby might given up the 3OTGWG, but he stopped 47 pucks over a couple hours of hockey. Not a quantum of blame involved.
Wow. Just wow. It’s like Steve Jobs’ death rattle right now.
Okay, we’re in a bit of a hole now, but Game Four holds a lot of opportunity. It’s a nooner, so we’ll have to figure out some way to get pep in our step. In the meantime, let’s all get some rest.
Don’t despair. This thing ain’t over, it’s just late.