NEW YORK (CBSDC) — It’s amazing what can happen in one minute and forty-two seconds.
The Washington Capitals are on the brink of elimination after giving up two goals in a span of one minute and forty-two seconds, including the equalizer with 6.6 seconds left in the third period. Then, just 1:35 into overtime they surrendered the game winner and fell 3-2 to the New York Rangers and are one win away from beginning their summer vacation.
“I cost us the game with a terrible play,” Caps forward Joel Ward said. “It happened pretty quick.”
He might have cost them a lot more than that having caught Carl Hagelin with his stick with 21.3 seconds left in the third and received a double-minor due to blood coming from Hagelin’s face.
“I got my stick under him and you know, that was it,” Ward said.
The Rangers, who were 0-for-3 on the power play and without a shot on goal before then, took full advantage of the penalty. First, Brad Richards snuck a rebound by Braden Holtby and through a diving John Carlson to tie the game up with 6.6 seconds left. Then with only a few seconds left on the second minor, Marc Staal blasted a shot from on top of the circles, through some Capitals, and by Holtby to win it for the Rangers 1:35 into overtime.
“It’s a little mental disturbing for sure right now,” Ward said. “It’s tough to be in that position when you’re letting a team down.”
“No one feels lower than him right now, but it’s not his fault,” Caps forward Troy Brouwer said. “It’s a tough break. Our kill’s been good all series long; we just didn’t have it.”
For his part, the standout rookie goalie Holtby had another solid outing, stopping 35 of 38 shots, only came up short in the end.
“I didn’t see a thing,” Holtby said on the game winner. “Whether it had a lane or not, I’ll have to look at the video to see if I could have done a better job seeing around the traffic. That’s what happens when we play a style where we block a lot of shots. Sometimes those go in and it just happened to be in overtime today.”
The Caps didn’t start the game particularly good either. The Rangers out shot them 17-4 in the opening period and Washington was on their heals for the majority of it.
The Caps, who came in 0-4 when letting their opponent score first in these playoffs, knew how big the first goal of the game was and tonight the Rangers got those honors. Anton Stralman fired one from the corner five hole passed Holtby just past the midway point of the first period to give the Rangers a 1-0 advantage after one.
The Caps rebounded strong in the second. Even though they were out shot 9-6 in the period, they kept the Rangers shots coming from the outside and prevented them from getting any good scoring chances. Brooks Laich though got a good scoring chance when he beat Henrik Lundqvist on a one-timer set up from an Alex Ovechkin shot that went off a Rangers defenseman’s stick in front to even the game at one.
In the third, John Carlson came through on the power play when he put a one-timer through traffic from the point and by Lundqvist to give the Caps a one goal lead with 15:40 left in the game. The Caps had a few odd man rushes in the third, but couldn’t convert, which ended up costing them in the end.
“[The Rangers] came out pretty hard,” Capitals Head Coach Dale Hunter said. “But we regrouped and came back. They were throwing pucks from the corners and stuff and just throwing everything on the net. Holtby had to be strong; that’s why he had lots of shots because they were shooting from everywhere. He was strong again tonight.”
The Rangers ended up with 78 total shots (38 on goal, 25 blocked, 15 misses). The Caps had 35 total shots (18 on goal, 10 blocked, 7 misses).
Alex Ovechkin had 0 shots on goal for the first time in these playoffs and second time in his playoff career. Ovechkin played a total of 19:08, had one shot blocked, one miss, three hits, one giveaway and blocked two shots.
The Caps will have a quick turnaround and will need to win on Wednesday at Verizon Center to keep their Stanley Cup dreams alive.
“It’s having a short memory,” Caps defenseman Karl Alzner said. “You forget about it right now, and we’ll approach the next game the same way we’ve approached all the games.”
Every time the Caps have lost a game in overtime in these playoffs, three previous times, they responded with a win.
“It’ll be good,” Alzner said on their response. “We’re just going to do it the same way we have been doing it. A loss is a loss. We know we should’ve won that game, so we have a good feeling in this game. It’s not like we got beat 5-0; it was a close one that we should’ve put away in the third there. It’s just a game.”
Listen here to what Dale Hunter, Joel Ward, Braden Holtby, Mike Knuble, Troy Brouwer, Matt Hendricks & Karl Alzner had to say following the loss.
2nd 8:15 Laich (2), Ovechkin (4), Brouwer (1)
3rd 4:20 PP Carlson (2), Wideman (3), Brouwer (2)
Dale Hunter Postgame Audio
Joel Ward Postgame Audio
Braden Holtby Postgame Audio
Mike Knuble Postgame Audio
Troy Brouwer Postgame Audio
Matt Hendricks Postgame Audio
Karl Alzner Postgame Audio