Reporting Sky Kerstein
The Capitals came out with a lot more energy then they did in game three, they were fired up, but so were the fans. The fans were yelling at Bruce Boudreau for most of the first two periods for his comments about Madison Square Garden. Bruce though had the last laugh when the Caps scored four unanswered goals and Jason Chimera nailed the game winner twelve minutes in the second overtime to give the Caps a 3-1 series advantage heading back to Verizon Center.
For the fourth straight game nobody scored in the first period, but a more energetic Caps team lead on shots 10-6. It looked like this was going to be another one goal game, but that wasn’t the case. Artem Anisimov got the scoring going for the Rangers when he threw it from behind Caps goaltender Michal Neuvirth and it went off Caps forward Matt Hendricks stick and in. The MSG faithful were going nuts and really giving it to Bruce Boudreau and the Capitals. Eight minutes later though was a huge turning point in the game. The Rangers scored two goals in seven seconds, the first was from Marian Gaborik when Ruslan Fedotenko found Gaborik right in front of the net and then Fedotenko found Brandon Dubinsky who beat Neuvirth and within a blink of an eye it was 3-0 Rangers. The Capitals could’ve given up and scrapped this one heading home with their tail between their legs and with the series tied 2-2, they didn’t.
Showing desperation for the first time this postseason, only 2:27 into the third, Alexander Semin shot it on net and followed up his own rebound which was behind Henrik Lundqvist and put it in to give the Caps a little momentum. Fifty-seven seconds later Marcus Johansson got a perfect pass from Brooks Laich and Johansson put it by Lundqvist to cut the lead to one early in the third. Less than ten minutes later, coming off the power play, John Carlson blasted one that went off Marcus Johansson and in and tied the game up at three. It was a huge comeback for the caps and with all the momentum they went to overtime.
In the first overtime the Caps had a few chances, including an open Alex Ovechkin breakaway that Lundqvist stoned him on. But in the second overtime, that Caps firing shots left and right and with Neuvirth making some spectacular saves, they finally solved Lundqvist on a weird play. Jason Chimera fired it on net, but Lundqvist couldn’t cover and then Gaborik tried pushing it into him, but the puck got loose behind Lundqvist and Chimera followed up his inital shot and knocked in the puck for the game winner and gave the Caps a commanding 3-1 series lead heading back to DC for game five on Saturday.
Michal Neuvirth continued his strong play and didn’t get rattled after giving up two goals in seven seconds. Neuvirth stopped 36 for his third career playoff victory. The Rangers Henrik Lundqvist was unbelievable and stopped everything. Lundqvist stopped 49, but from the beginning of the third period on the Caps really took it at the Rangers for the first time this series and it worked.
Capitals Head Coach Bruce Boudreau said after the game, “In between periods [2nd and 3rd] we never gave up. We were able to relay history…San Jose came back last night. We talked about the Rangers coming back against Boston. I said, ’even we came back here last year from four goals down.’ You get one and you never know. When we got both goals really quickly I thought we believed we were really in it.” He also was very pleased with Michal Neuvirth’s game, “He is not ordinary. He is a good goalie. As years go on you are going to find out he is a great goalie.”
The Rangers once again won the power play battle, seven power plays to the Caps four, but both teams each had two power plays from the third period on. Fatigue will definitely be an issue going forward as the Caps John Carlson led the team with time on ice at 34:50 followed by Mike Green at 33:38. For the Rangers Dan Girardi played 39:45 and Marc Staal played 36:55.
Mike Knuble missed the game with what is believed to be a right hand injury, so Jason Chimera started on the first line. Halfway through the game, Bruce Boudreau, move Chimera to third line and Brooks Laich to the first line and it worked. Boudreau thought his third line was the least fatigued in the second overtime and they came through. Game five is Saturday at 3 pm from Verizon Center and it will be the second year in a row the Caps will have a chance to clinch the first round in five games at Verizon Center.
Check out what Bruce Boudreau, Jason Chimera, Michal Neuvirth, Brooks Laich and Marcus Johansson had to say following the win.
3rd 2:47 Semin (2), unassisted
3rd 3:44 Johansson (1), Laich (2), Green (4)
3rd 12:07 Johansson (2), Carlson (1), Alzner (1)
Second OT 12:36 Chimera (2), unassisted
Bruce Boudreau Postgame Audio
Michal Neuvirth Postgame Audio
Jason Chimera Postgame Audio
Brooks Laich Postgame Audio
Marcus Johansson Postgame Audio
Sky Kerstein is 106.7 The FAN’s Capitals Beat Reporter and co-host of “Morning Skate” every Sunday from 9am-10am on 106.7 The FAN. Also you can find video recaps of every Caps game and post-game interviews on www.1067thefandc.com. You can get in touch with Sky on Facebook or via Twitter at www.twitter.com/SkyKerstein.