|Here we go again? Not yet.|
Thing is, though, we didn't win. The Rangers are back in this series, and now they have the momentum. There is no denying that. But it is not time to panic. As I slowly cooled down from my forecasts of collapse, however, I began to realize a couple of things.
No team has ever won sixteen consecutive games on the way to the Stanley Cup. The Capitals, at least on paper, still have the deeper lineup and the more explosive offensive players. Michal Neuvirth is playing well. Washington came back twice to tie the game, despite several questionable calls which resulted in a mountain of shorthanded ice to kill off. And it took a fluky goal after an awful retaliation penalty by John Carlson for the Caps to actually lose the game.
That is not to say that the Rangers got lucky. They came out hard, they stuck to their game plan, and they earned Sunday's victory. They used their raucous home crowd as a boost. They continue to block shots and they continue to establish a physical advantage early in games. Their game is not going to change. Neither can Washington's.
Now, with two days off, before an absolutely critical game four, it is the Capitals' chance to regroup. They need to get that loss out of their heads, and they need to find new ways to respond to the physicality of John Tortorella's men. They need to find a way to win game four. Because right now, there is just a little bit of pressure on the Capitals. If they falter on Wednesday, it will be time to wonder if we may be left hanging...again.