After a triple overtime loss on Wednesday night, the danger existed the the Capitals would stumble, break a leg and get blown away by the Rangers on Saturday afternoon. The Caps came out of the gate strong, fought through a weak second period, and finally crossed the finish line ahead, winning the game and tying up the series at two games apiece.
Even with two days off after the epic three overtime match on Wednesday, there was the danger that the Caps would not be conditioned well enough to keep up. The Caps proved their critics wrong and surged to an early lead in the first period, absolutely dominating play for the entire twenty minutes. After subjecting Rangers’ goalie Henrik Lunqvist to a withering barrage of shots, the Capitals finally broke through on an Alex Ovechkin goal. Ovechkin intercepted an errant Rangers pass in the slot in front of Lundqivst and fired a screamer that hit Lunqvist’s glove and bounced into the net, to the delight of the red-clad throng.
The second period, however, was a much more even affair, with both teams jockeying for position up and down the ice. The Rangers scored first, when Artem Anisimov was left unguarded in front of the net by some blown defensive coverage. Anisimov used a craft deke to beat Braden Holtby and cash in from in close.
The Caps quickly returned the favor, however. Nicklas Backstrom laid waste to a Rangers’ defender below the red line, then moved into position in front of the net to take a beautiful feed from Jason Chimera and score the Caps’ second goal of the game. The Rangers responded with a score after Dennis Wideman and Jeff Schultz both inextricably stopped playing on a washed-out icing that evened the score at two apiece.
Washington got their third and final lead of the game with just under six minutes left in the third period. Mike Green sent a slapshot galloping past Lunqvist through several defenders and the Caps were able to hang on for the win. The tied series moves to New York for game 5 Monday night and then back to DC for game 6 on Wednesday night.