Caps defense dead tired during overtime. (Photo credit: Clydeorama)

During the regular season, a full sixty-minute hockey game at Verizon Center starts at 7pm and typically ends around 9:30. If there’s an overtime or a shootout, the game ends at the latest around 9:45pm.

On Wednesday, the Washington Capitals played their fifth game of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs that went into extra time. When Marian Gaborik scored in sudden death to end the game — it was the next day and also the longest recorded game of the 2012 NHL postseason thus far, lasting an insane four hours and 34 minutes. One hour and fifty-four minutes of hockey was played that night. The game was the third longest in Capitals history, and the longest ever at Verizon Center.

So how do the players adjust to such a marathon game and what does the training staff on the bench do to help? I spoke to Capitals Equipment Manager Brock Myles and he revealed the staff’s methods of keeping the players energized, focused, and ready to play.

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Game Over Green: MG52 Nets Game Four GWG

Photo credit: Greg Fiume

The golden years of the Capitals’ “Young Guns” — Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Mike Green, Alex Semin — are over. Back in 2009, they were scoring almost constantly, having career years as the Caps blew out teams on the way to the Presidents’ Trophy.

Mike Green does his best Alex Ovechkin impersonation. (Photo credit: Nick Wass)

Three years later, Bruce Boudreau is gone, the goals are way down, and Washington barely made the playoffs. But Saturday afternoon against the New York Rangers in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals they made a reappearance.

“We’ve been here the longest,” Backstrom told reporters after the game. “We need to step up.”

Ovechkin — whose struggles the past few seasons have been well documented — started the scoring off with a knuckling slapper that Henrik Lundqvist could not handle. Then, after New York tied the game up, Backstrom unleashed a fantastic snipe from the slot. And with the contest knotted at two with 5:48 left in the third, Green fired a bullet from the point on the power play to send the series back to New York even at two games apiece.

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Photo credit: Mitchell Layton

After the grueling march of disappointment that was Game Three, we expected a rallying effort from the Caps. But we weren’t naive enough to expect a different kind of game. We know by now that the Capitals are capable of playing only one-goal games. What we didn’t know is that they could get goals out of Alex Ovechkin, Nick Backstrom, and Mike Green in the same game. It was like 2009 up in here.

Here’s how it went:  After a battle in the corner, Alex Ovechkin ripped a one-timer that beat Lundqvist’s glove for the game’s first goal.

Artem Anisimov tied it up early in the second by beating Braden Holtby, who was left helpless when Brooks Laich and Alex Ovechkin couldn’t block a weirdly bouncing pass. Nick Backstrom reasserted the lead by tenderizing Artem Anisimov and then putting Chimera’s pass in the net. Artem Anisimov won an icing race against Jeff Schultz and set up Marian Gaborik for another tying goal through Holtby’s five-hole.

Mike Green put the Caps up with a powerplay goal late in the third. It was the game-winner. Caps beat Rangers 3-2.

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Photo credit: Greg Fiume

After losing in triple overtime in Game Three, Game Four was a must-win for the Washington Capitals.

Luckily, for Caps fans, Alex Ovechkin brought his sniper stick today.

In his first shift after the Verizon Center crowd erupted in their “Ovi! Ovi!” chant at the 8-minute mark, Ovechkin capitalized on a brutal Chris Kreider turnover in the Rangers’ zone. As Kreider attempted a no-look pass to the center of the ice (a no-no in every professional hockey league except for the KHL) the puck went right to Ovechkin instead, who one-timed the puck past Henrik Lundqvist’s glove.

Video is below the jump.

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16 years ago when I was in middle school, I suffered through the second longest Capitals game in franchise history. The Caps were playing the Penguins in the 1996 playoffs and boy did I hate the Pens. Of course, you know the story. Petr Nedved ended the game in quadruple overtime with a harmless wrist shot from the sideboards past Olie Kolzig. The game ended around 2 AM and I cried all night. The next day, depressed and without any sleep, I failed both an English and a math quiz.

Well, apparently I’m not the only one that overtime playoff hockey does this to.

On Wednesday night, Hockey Night in Canada showed a montage at the end of the game showing Caps General Manger George McPhee freaking out during sudden death overtime. The normally poker-faced McPhee looks like the most uncomfortable man in the arena, standing up, sitting down, twisting and turning with the action as if he could steer the players. As the CBC announcer so beautifully states: “The pressure on McPhee: you can just see it in his face.”

Check out the video below the jump. Trust us, it’s worth a look.

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