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Rangers-Capitals Game 3 in review
Posted By Carp On May 3, 2012 @ 3:42 am In Hockey,New York Rangers,NHL | 272 Comments
1) Holy shishkebob. I’d been covering this team since 1978, and had never seen one of these triple-overtimes. Saw them with the Islanders, saw them with the Devils. Never with the Rangers. And in my lifetime, there had only been one—the Pete Stemkowski game in 1971—and I’m pretty sure I heard that one on the radio, though I’ve seen the replay so many times that I feel like I saw it. But this was a first for me … and the longest Rangers game any of you who weren’t born before 1939 have ever seen. Quite an experience.
2) And the Rangers made it an experience. The Capitals, too (they’re 0-4 in games of three OTs or longer, and have lost all four series in which those games were played). But you forget the loser of a game like this for two reasons: A) they lost, B) the Rangers deserved it, as Henrik Lundqvist said. They won it not on skill, but as Marian Gaborik said, on will. And this is the way they play. They changed nothing, through 114:41 of play, that stretched into their day off (and isn’t that extra day between Games 3 and 4 looking good now?) They played the way they play, blocking shots, physical, grinding it out, patient—how many times did they forecheck and come up empty, only to go right back to the forecheck the next shift?—sacrificing blood, bones, facial configurations right on through the third overtime.
3) I completely believe John Tortorella was right because I said so during that third OT—the Rangers looked fresher, like they weren’t going to let fatigue beat them. And while the Capitals sacrificed too, and you could see it in Mike Knuble’s busted-up face, it looked a little bit like they were out of gas toward the end. 
4) Marian Gaborik. Give the guy this. He’s been shut down at times, he’s been partly at fault for that, he wasn’t having his best game, even with the assist early and the goalpost he hit about three minutes before the winner. But he kept going, kept plugging. And he got the kind of goal he’s supposed to get, the kind the Rangers need from him.
5) Ryan McDonagh, Ryan Callahan, Dan Girardi, Brian Boyle, Marc Staal, Michael Del Zotto = Beast Brigade. If we were any one of them, we’d be in a hospital this morning, and hoping to stay there for about a week. In addition to the blood loss and whatever else they suffered during that 114:41, some stats: McDonagh a game high 53:21 played (Girardi didn’t get there because he was off being “sutured” for a while: “It’s just a couple of flesh wounds”) with eight blocked shots. Callahan was only listed for four hits and five blocked shots and I don’t believe either is even close to what he actually had in 41:52, which is not believable for a forward (he also had a goal way way back in the second period. Girardi had six hits and six blocks. Boyle had nine hits and a couple of blocks (one with his chin, which was split open) … (he also blocked one by Mike Rupp). Staal played 49:30, nearly killed one of the Caps cleanly, had six hits and three blocks. Del Zotto 43:37. Just sick numbers. I could go on. Big as the building.
6) Did I mention the goalkeeper yet? Henrik Lundqvist, who had lost seven consecutive playoff OT games since 2007 (and his team was one off the NHL record) wouldn’t let them lose. Yeah, he had some breaks, like Alex Ovechkin’s shot off the post in one of the OTs, I forget which. How about the 3-on-1 save on Brooks Laich in regulation? So many saves. Sometimes just getting enough of the puck to keep it out. Just a remarkable performance. Listen to Tortorella’s post-gamer talking about his goalie.
7) This was the best game of the whole season, 92 games in, for the fourth line, and that includes the Winter Classic. Mike Rupp was a force (Boyle blocked his shot, too, a winner into an empty side). Brandon Prust … well, he’s had a lot of good games, and he was really strong in this one. And John Mitchell probably had his best game as a Ranger. Get this. The guy had gone the entire playoffs, nine games, without a shot on goal. He had five shots in this one. Nearly won it a couple of times.
8) Brad Richards. I was joking that his contract was only going to have six years left by the time this game ended (and that Prust didn’t have a beard when it began). Seriously, the guy’s been money in big moments, and he was again in this game. Looked for a few moments in the third OT that he couldn’t move his legs. Then all of a sudden, he got a second wind. And he made so many good plays, I lost count, including the winning pass. 
9) Geez, I’m starting to feel bad about guys I didn’t mention, because the effort really was top to bottom.
10) I thought Callahan’s hand looked to really be bothering him when he got run over by Matt Hendricks and couldn’t break his fall with his right hand. But, well, what else can you say?
11) When did Hendricks become a clean version of Chris Neil?
12) The Countdown Guy played some game, too, didn’t he?
14) I was noticing that the replays were better and much more plentiful, and that the cameras were zooming in on the right guys at the right times. Then I realized I was watching the CBC feed, and not the NBC feed.
15) Saw The Captain after the game. I asked Mess if he was glad he wasn’t playing. He said it’s tougher to watch a game like that than it is to play one.
16) Whatever high you’re feeling about this game, no matter how devastating it must have been for the Capitals, or how uplifting for the Rangers, remember this. Game 4 will start fresh, as every game does. I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if Washington wins that game. Not in the least. As Lundqvist said, and I paraphrase, all this one means is they’ve won two, and they need four.
My Three Rangers Stars:
1) Marian Gaborik.
2) Henrik Lundqvist.
3) Ryan McDonagh/Dan Girardi.
Latona’s Three Rangers Stars:
1) Henrik Lundqvist.
2) Ryan McDonagh.
3) Ryan Callahan.
AP photos, above.
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