Capitals Lose Game 3 in Triple OT
By Stephen London
It took almost twice as long as a regulation game for the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers to finish Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series.
The Rangers scored the game-winning goal during the third overtime period and the Capitals lost another playoff game at the Verizon Center, 2-1, on May 2. The Capitals have played five playoff games thus far in Washington, but have won only one of the five home games.
Last night's game was more of a coin flip than other home losses the Capitals endured during their opening series with the Boston Bruins. Both goaltenders -- the Capitals' Braden Holtby and the Rangers' Henrik Lundqvist -- had more than 45 saves and a save percentage of at least 95.9. With both goaltenders at the top of their game, it was going to take a defensive miscue to cause this game to end.
The first goal of the game came during the second period on a Rangers power play. A shot from the point hit off of two players, then landed directly in front of Ryan Callahan for a bang-in goal. The Caps were playing man down because Brooks Laich was called for hooking Marian Gaborik in open ice.
The Capitals responded less than five minutes later, getting on the score sheet when defenseman John Carlson went after a bouncing puck in the offensive zone. After corralling the puck, Carlson beat Lundqvist on a high shot. Despite being a defenseman, Carlson led the Capitals in goals (three) against the Rangers during the regular season.
Matt Hendricks and Alex Ovechkin were using their bodies early and often throughout Game 3. One of the biggest hits came during the first overtime, when Hendricks crushed Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh. The hit was vicious, but legal.
There was a bit of lopsided refereeing in overtime, with the Capitals receiving two penalty calls and the Rangers receiving none. Alex Semin was called for tripping during the first overtime, while Mike Green committed a high-sticking penalty during the third overtime. Green accidentally caught a streaking Mike Rupp in the face with his stick.
The Capitals had chances to change the outcome of the game. Ovechkin had a takeaway in the offensive zone and fired a shot past Lundqvist, but it rang off the post. Troy Brouwer also had an opportunity to put the game away with a shot from point-blank range which whistled wide.
The game ended because the defense left Marian Gaborik open in front of the net. A pass from Brad Richards was all Gaborik needed to put this game away, beating Holtby through the five hole.
The Capitals have time to regroup for Game 4, which is May 5, giving the Capitals an extra day to rest after the marathon of hockey they played last night. With some players getting upward of 30 minutes of ice time last night, the Capitals need at least one day of good rest.
Last night’s triple overtime loss puts pressure on the Capitals to win Game 4, which would tie the series at 2 rather than trail 3-1 when the teams head back to New York City for Game 5. If the Capitals prepare and execute their game plan on Saturday, they may be fighting a losing battle.
Posted May 3, 2012