Wednesday night’s game between the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers, which bled in to Thursday morning, was en epic clash of two big, strong, physical teams. The game stretched to three overtimes. By the end, players were bloodied and sucking down energy supplements. It was four hours and 34 minutes of war.
“Oh my god,” said Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist. “I thought it would never end.”
Eventually it did end, 14 minutes and 41 seconds in to the third overtime. Brad Richards won a battle behind Braden Holtby’s net and fed the puck in front to Marian Gaborik, who had not scored since game one of the first round. Gaborik was able to chip it through Holtby’s legs just before the rookie could slam his pads shut.
And that was that. The Rangers took a two games to one series lead, and left the Verizon Center crowd shocked and stunned. For the Capitals, it left them a long two days before Saturday afternoon’s game four. Washington had their chances, and they simply were not able to convert on them.
“It was that kind of game. I think both teams fought very well. That kind of moment, you just have to use your chances,” said captain Alex Ovechkin. “They had it and they scored. Unfortunately we had it during that 4-on-2 and we didn’t use it. I think we had a great chance to score some goals, but [Henrik] Lundqvist made the save.”
Ovechkin, who has been probed and prodded this postseason because of his erratic ice time, had the best chance of any of the overtimes. Less then ten minutes into the first overtime, Ovechkin jumped the boards and went down the heart of the ice, intercepting a clearing pass from New York defenseman Anton Stralman and had a clear shot at the net.
The horn went off. The spotlights went on. The crowd erupted. But the puck stayed out. Ovechkin had hit the right post, beating Lundqvist’s outstretched glove hand but not the red iron surrounding the net.
“That kind of opportunity, you just have to put it in,” said Ovechkin.
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