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.
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).
One of my Christmas gifts this year was a ticket to see the Washington Capitals play the New York Rangers at the infamous Madison Square Garden. I didn’t realize on that rainy Christmas morning that the ticket would gain me admission to witness the record-shattering winning streak, Alex Ovechkin’s 500th career point and Bruce Boudreau’s 200th game as the Capitals bench boss. Wow. To say I was anxious to attend the game, would be an understatement. I had never followed a team into a rival arena, and there I was amongst all the of the Rangers faithful. The Rangers were having a rough time recently and the Washington Capitals were unstoppable for 2 weeks. All the elements were in place for MSG to get rocked last night.
I had been in Manhattan the week prior to the game trying to find an apartment to move into. This gave me a chance to figure out the NYC public transit (FYI, DC’s is far superior and a whole lot less confusing). So after taking the green 4 to the gray S, to the red 2, I arrived at Madison Square Garden, total trip time: 45 minutes to travel a little over 4 miles (Oy!). I figured I could follow the masses of blue and red to the main entrance of MSG. Wrong! The Rangers fans don’t support their team the way Caps fans Rock the Red. I made it through the bag check and up to where my ticket was going to be scanned and was halted. It was 15 minutes before 6pm, and no one was allowed inside the arena yet. So there I stood in my red coat concealing my Capitals gear, surrounded by people much bigger than me decked out in blue. It took me 10 minutes to work up the courage to show my Capitals pride, that and it was hot as hell and I couldn’t take it anymore.
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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