Throughout the playoffs we’ll boil down each Capitals game to the highlight-worthy moments on their quest for the Stanley Cup. Here's a look at the key moments from the Caps' 2-1 OT win in Game 5.
Pivotal Moment: Game 5 goes to OT
For the second time this series, and the second time at home, it all came down to sudden death overtime. Luckily for the Caps, they came away victorious once again and took a 3-2 lead in the best of seven series.
Mike Ribeiro claimed first star honors for grabbing the win at 9:24 into a high-powered OT that saw both teams trading rush for rush.
"It was two desperate teams out there that just wanted to bury it to end the game but we got the last line in," said Joel Ward. "We had a few chances there. It was back and forth."
"For some reason overtime is just a run and gun game. It's 3 on 2 on one side then 3 on 2 on the other," said Mathieu Perreault. "Probably not what we wanted to do but it worked out for us."
Game Changer: Joel Ward's PP goal
After weathering two Rangers power play opportunities in the first period from questionable boarding and elbowing calls, the Capitals undoubtedly started having flashbacks to Game 3's penalty party. At the end of the first period, New York led by one and their aggressive offense appeared to hold the momentum.
"We didn't really get our game going in the first, a lot of penalties, found ourselves on the PK," said Perreault. "It's hard to get yourself going. We were trying to get the crowd into it. It's not the start we wanted but we did well in the second."
The Caps came out much more aggressive to start the second and were finally rewarded with their own power play opportunity when Mike Ribeiro drew a slashing penalty from Brian Boyle. Joel Ward then capitalized on the opportunity just 11 seconds in. Sitting in the slot, Marcus Johansson and Nicklas Backstrom completed a beautiful passing sequence to get the puck cleanly through to Ward, who knifed a snap shot by Henrik Lundqvist. After evening the score, the Capitals did not take their foot off the gas, pouring 22 more shots on the Rangers' net, including some excruciatingly close calls, before Ribeiro finally broke through Lundqvist almost 40 minutes later.
"The first ten minutes were passive, I think," said Backstrom of the Capitals' start to Game 5. "But after those ten minutes we start playing better. We got the puck deep and we worked harder when finishing checks and that's what gives us energy then you create chances off that. That's what got us going there."
Top Goal: Mike Ribeiro. You can't argue with an overtime game-winner in the playoffs.
Top Save: Henrik Lundqvist on Alex Ovechkin, x3
The Capitals received their second, and final, power play opportunity of the night to start the third period. Though Ovechkin had only recorded one shot on net heading into the period, he would turn things up in the third and subsequent overtime periods to lead all skaters with nine shots by the end of the night, including three that came in breathless fashion in the aforementioned power play.
Ovechkin delivered all three strikes from the left doorstep, where he sat waiting to pounce on anything Lundqvist coughed back up. Lundqvist gobbled up Ovechkin's first and his next two were thwarted incredibly by the stickless netminder.
"Oh it's frustrating, but it's the game," said Ovechkin. "If I could do that again I should probably just a little bit wait because I was by myself. It was three shots in sync on that position and one goes in his glove and one he saves blocker side.
"He gives lots of rebounds, especially when we shoot from the blue line so we have to have bodies there because he gives the rebound and we can score a goal."
Lundqvist stopped 33 of the Capitals' 35 shots on the night and 152 so far in five postseason games.
"I'm sure you'd agree other than the Chimera goal in Game 1 he's been lights out," said Holtby of his Rangers counterpart. "We know he's going to bring that every night. He's the best goalie in the game. He kept them in and gave them a chance to win and we know he's going to be that good or better in Game 6 so we're going to have to match him."
Breakout Performance: Mike Ribeiro
Ribeiro had been fairly quiet on his equally mum second line so far this series but made a deafening statement to end Game 5 on his first -and only- shot of the night. It was his first goal since April 18 and his first playoff tally since his 2008 campaign with the Dallas Stars. In addition to the OT goal, Ribeiro drew the Rangers penalty that helped the Caps even things up in the second and was the best skater on the ice in the face-off circle, winning 19 of his 27 draws, including a near-perfect nine out of ten in the defensive zone.
"I did some push ups before the game, I felt stronger today," joked Ribeiro. "I felt good right away. I think last game I had a bad game in the circle and a lot of times when you have a good game in the circle your focus is better, you start with the puck, you're not chasing as much. That was important for me to bounce back."
"He play hard, he finish checks. He can do two-way play," said Ovechkin. "He plays well defensively and offensively and tonight he just show up for us and it's big.