Game Four was an emotional roller coaster. Words can’t possibly do it justice nor adequately explain. It was like watching a lively balloon spring to life, soaring high to the ceiling that slowly but surely sank lower and lower as it deflated.
The Rangers hit their home ice to a rocking Garden on the heels of Capitals’ coach Bruce Boudreau’s (overblown) jabs at MSG. The thunderous cheers were felt throughout the television broadcast, until the third period that is.
Ranger fans even got creative and added a “Can You Hear Us?” chant to go along with the endless “Boudreau” knocks. The Rangers responded in the second period. Artem Anisimov knocked in a “garbage goal” from behind the Capitals’ goaltender to make it 1-0. Brandon Dubinsky and Marian Gaborik scored seven seconds apart. Three to nothing equals jubiliation. Just 20 minutes separated the Rangers and the Garden faithful from a 2-2 series tie.
Where did it all go wrong:
- The power play was still a complete mess. The Rangers went 0-7. Once again, the lack of movement and the failure to get quality shots on net cost them. Defensemen Bryan McCabe looked uncomfortable with the puck and is quickly becoming more of a detriment rather than an asset at the point. It may be time to give the more physical Steve Eminger a shot in the lineup.
- A couple of “tickey-tackey” calls helped swing the momentum back to the Capitals who rallied for three goals in the third period to take the game to overtime. Alex Semin took advantage of a careless pass by Ryan McDonagh to get the Caps on the board. His first shot on Lundqvist was blocked but he came in to the net strong and chipped it in. Although Lundqvist thought he had it secured and pulled it from the goal line on the intial shot, the referee never blew the whistle to end play leaving plenty of time for Semin to drive it home. Marcus Johanssen notched the other two goals to make it 3-3. One came just as a power play for the Caps had ended after a questionable slashing call against Sean Avery. Just before the Rangers were called for the penalty, Ruslan Fedotenko appeared to be tripped up at the other end, but no call was made.
- They let the Capitals take back control. Instead of revving up to steal back a win in the third period, they waited passively for overtime. The first OT was a stressful chess match and the second was no better for blood pressures and fast beating hearts.
- An unfortunate miscommunication and mistake by Marian Gaborik and I would add Bryan McCabe tripped up Lundqvist from freezing the puck in double overtime. Jason Chimera fired a shot that McCabe awkwardly blocked. As it bounced toward Lundqvist, he was going in for the no-brainer to cover it. Gaborik tried to “help”, perhaps thinking he could chip it away, but instead it was stuffed into the net crowning Chimera the hero in the Capitals 4-3 victory. The Caps take a 3-1 series lead back to D.C.
- Missed opportunities. Plain and simple. A 3-0 nothing lead has to be held for 20 minutes, especially when Lundqvist is standing on his head making saves and playing through an obvious sorespot in his leg.
- The King took the loss hard. Rightly so after he stopped 49 shots. Lundqvist made what could have been a series changing save on Alex Ovechkin who flew down the ice alone with 8:58 left in the first overtime.
- Dan Girardi had Derek Stepan’s back and took some serious hits for the team. At 14:44 in the second OT, Stepan accidentally cleared the puck over the glass for a delay of game penalty. Girardi blocked three shots in such rapid succession he looked like Superman deflecting bullets. He blocked nine shots in total and led the team logging 39:45 minutes of ice time.
This one is going to sting for awhile — not because of the missed opportunities, the Gabby gaffe, or the Capital punishment “walk” to the Blueshirt fans “talk”. But because they had it and let it slip away like a balloon.
About the Author
Written by Margaret DeJesus
I'm a recent college graduate looking for a dream job covering hockey. I've been watching the New York Rangers since my grade school days of VHS and Gordon Bombay's "ducks fly together" speech. While studying journalism at Boston University (COM '10), I wrote for the Daily Free Press, the student newspaper. I worked two summers at the Staten Island Advance, my hometown newspaper, writing city news and features. I've also written CD reviews for Music-Reviewer.com. One of my favorite gigs was interning for hockey analyst extraordinaire Stan Fischler covering the Boston Bruins and attending all their home games in the 2009-2010 season. (Yes, including the crushing defeat against the Flyers in the Eastern Conference playoffs.)