Caps fall in triple OT

Caps fall in triple OT
May 3, 2012, 4:25 am
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Whats more difficult than losing at home in overtime against one of your fiercest rivals?

Having two full days to stew over it.

Marian Gaborik scored off a centering pass from Brad Richards 14 minutes, 41 seconds into the third overtime Wednesday night, giving the New York Rangers a 2-1 victory over the Capitals at the Verizon Center in the third-longest game in Capitals history.

With the win, the Rangers seized back home-ice advantage in the best-of-seven series, which resumes Saturday afternoon at the Verizon Center.

Gaborik positioned himself in the slot and ripped a one-timer from Richards through the pads of Capitals rookie goaltender Braden Holtby, who stopped 47 of 49 shots.

Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist earned the win woith 45 saves.

The Capitals killed off the only penalty of the first overtime period after Alex Semin tripped Ryan Callahan with 2:28 remaining.

Nearly everyone in the building thought Alex Ovechkin won the game with 5 minutes remaining in the first overtime period, but after stripping Rangers defenseman Anton Stralman of the puck Ovechkins shot rang off the right post to keep the game alive.

Holtby had a rough start to the first overtime period. In the opening 90 seconds he failed to catch an easy shot by Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto, then had to stop a Derek Stepan backhander in front after his own giveaway to Ryan Callahan.

The Caps best chance to score came about 4:45 into the first overtime period when Matt Hendricks separated Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh from the puck with a menacing shoulder, then set up Troy Brouwer all alone in front. Brouwer shot it wide right.

Both teams had chances to win the game with power-play goals near the end of regulation but failed.

The Rangers, who opened the scoring with a power-play goal by Ryan Callahan, were awarded a man-advantage with 5:35 remaining in the third period when Capitals forward Mike Knuble was whistled for interfering with goalie Henrik Lundqvist.

The Rangers failed to generate much of an attack on Caps goalie Braden Holtby and when Brad Richards went off for tripping Roman Hamrlik with 3:48 remaining, the Caps failed to get a puck past Lundqvist, whose biggest save came on a bullet from Alexander Semin.

After playing tight defensive hockey while splitting the first two games of the series in New York, both teams opened it up in Game 3 with one offensive rush after another.

Lundqvist stopped all 13 shots he faced and Holtby was a perfect 10-for-10 as the two teams took a scoreless tie into the second period.

The offensive flow continued in the second, with each team pinning each other in their zones so often coaches Dale Hunter and John Tortorella had to burn a timeout to give his players a breather.

The Rangers got on the board when, with Brooks Laich in the box for hooking Marian Gaborik, Ryan Callahan converted a Michal Del Zotto rerbound for his third goal of the playoffs.

Del Zottos shot deflected off Washington defenseman John Carlson and forward Matt Hendricks before falling behind Callahan, who wheeled around and slapped the puck past Holtby 6:41 into the second period.

It was the Rangers second power play goal of the series and both came from the stick of Callahan.

The Capitals didnt take long to answer. Less than 5 minutes later John Carlson took a pass from Alexander Semin and rumbled down the left side. Carlson had the puck poked off his stick and swerved to his right before snapping a shot high past Lundqvists catching glove.

The goal was Carlsons first of the playoffs and breathed life into the home crowd. The fans were moved to the edge of their seats minutes later when the Capitals broke out on a 3-on-1, but Lundqvist came out to stop Laich in close for the biggest stop of the game.

Notes: Entering Game 3, Rangers captain Ryan Callahan led New York with 16 hits in the series, followed by Derek Stepan (8), Brian Boyle (6) and Brandon Prust (6). Matt Hendricks led the Caps with 8, followed by Jay Beagle (7), Roman Hamrlik (7) and Brooks Laich (6). Capitals left wing Jason Chimera entered Wednesday nights game with six career playoff goals and four of them have come against the Rangers. Three of those six goals have been game-winners. Dating back to last season, Capitals rookie goaltender Braden Holtby now has gone 25 straight games without losing back-to-back games. Entering Wednesdays action, the Rangers ranked first in the NHL with 184 blocked shots in the playoffs. The Capitals ranked second with 178. Rangers rookie Chris Kreider is the first Rangers rookie to record two game-winning goals in the playoffs since Mike Allison in the 1981 playoffs. The Rangers have won their last six playoff series in which they held home-ice advantage. All-time the Rangers are 31-11 when winning Game 1. Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist entered Game 3 ranked third on the Rangers all-time list with 18 playoff victories but has not led the Rangers past the second round.