- Thursday, May 3, 2012 3:36 AM
- Written By: Josh Marks
In what is shaping up to be an epic series, it is perhaps fitting that Wednesday night's Game 3 at the Verizon Center had to be decided in triple overtime. The New York Rangers defeated the Washington Capitals 2-1 when Marian Gaborik ended it past midnight off a feed from Brad Richards. Gaborik scored his first goal in nine games and Rangers fans have to be thrilled that the drought has ended for their star forward.
When a game gets into the third overtime session, what is there to say except both teams put forth heroic efforts and left everything on the ice. Caps goalie Braden Holtby stopped 47 shots while Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist turned aside 45 shots. Both goalies were brilliant. Blood was on the ice, on the jerseys, and on the faces of warriors like Brian Boyle, Dan Girardi and Mike Knuble. That is what happens when two teams full of heart and character collide. They both want to win so badly that they will sacrifice their bodies to get any type of advantage over their opponent.
Alex Ovechkin had a glorious chance to win the game in the first overtime when his shot beat Lundqvist but clanked off the right post. The Caps and the Rangers traded chances until the game winner by Gaborik.
The Caps have a chance to bounce back after this tough loss and even up the series on Saturday afternoon. Both teams will have a couple of days to rest and heal and they will need it after that intense battle last night. And if the Caps are looking for ammunition, they need look no further than Rangers head coach John Tortorella's post-game comments. He did not give any credit to the Caps at all and instead said his team was mentally tougher:
"When you get into that many hours of playing, it becomes a mental game," Tortorella said. "I felt if the game got longer and longer, our team was at an advantage."
Really Torts? Kudos to the Rangers, but mentally tougher? They are playing against a team that defeated the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins in a record seven straight one goal decisions, including three overtime games and one double overtime game. And game seven was won by the Caps in overtime at TD Garden.
So again, how can Tortorella not give any credit to the Caps for battling and then say his team is mentally tougher? Juxtapose this press conference with Caps coach Dale Hunter, who every time win or lose gives the other team credit for battling.
"It's a long game and both teams are in the same boat. They're battling and it's whoever gets the break and they got a break behind the net, a pass out and it ended up in the net."
Those are wise words from a classy and humble individual. Hunter is smart keeping any negative or boastful comments close to his vest. He doesn't want to give any ammunition to the other side.
Well, Tortorella opened his big mouth and the Capitals should post his comments in the locker room. I guess we'll see who is mentally tougher on Saturday.