The Rangers didn’t lost a game this season when leading after two periods. In Game 4, they led 3-0 heading into the final period, on their way to evening their series with the Capitals. They picked a heck of a time to blow a lead.
Jason Chimera scored in the second overtime after the Capitals completed a thrilling comeback. Chimera’s goal came on a miscommunication between Henrik Lundqvist and Marian Gaborik. Gaborik tried to clear a loose puck that Lundqvist came out to cover. Gaborik accidentally knocked the puck to Chimera, who was standing in front of the crease and an open net. It was a disheartening loss for the Rangers, as they now need to win three straight games to extend their season.
The first period went scoreless again but both teams came out physical, setting an early tone. The second period is perhaps the best 20 minutes the Rangers have played all season. Just over five minutes in, the Rangers scored another one of their ugly goals, as Artem Anisimov scored his first career playoff goal from behind the Caps’ net, banking the puck in off Matt Bradley. Then, in seven seconds, the Garden hit a fever pitch.
With under six minutes to go in the period, Ruslan Fedotenko skated out from behind the net to the circle with the puck on his backhand, sweeping the puck to the doorstep. Gaborik couldn’t miss if he tried, knocking the puck past Michal Neuvirth for his first goal in 12 games, and his first in the playoffs as a Ranger.
On the ensuing faceoff from center ice, the Capitals actually won the draw. But Fedotenko intercepted the puck and skated in on goal, firing a shot just wide of the net. He hustled to the loose puck behind the net, and with another slick backhand pass, fed the puck out to the slot where Dubinsky one-timed it past Neuvirth.
Whatever Boudreau said in his second intermission to his team worked. Just minutes in, Alexander Semin intercepted Ryan McDonagh’s clearance and puched the puck past Henrik Lundqvist. Then, before the blink of an eye, it was a one goal game when Marcus Johansson redirected a Jason Arnott pass in. It all seemed to happen so quick, and right after the Rangers killed off Sean Avery’s penalty, Johansson deflected a shot past Lundqvist. The game was tied, and the Garden was now quiet. The game went to overtime, where Chimera ended it.
The Rangers went 0-for-6 on the power play, being gifted a chance in overtime when the Caps were called for a bench minor for having too many men on the ice. The Rangers’ sorry power play is one of the main reasons their season appears to be all but over. The Rangers are a young, gritty, hard working team, but in the end they are one short on talent, especially offensive talent. Throughout the overtime, they forced Neuvirth into a few tough saves, but never really threatened to win the game. In the third period, their lack of experience showed as they scrambled around and essentially froze up, choking the game and their season away.
Lundqvist was brilliant. It’s a shame the game ended on a play where he was helpless.