Rangers Win Marathon Game 3 In D.C.

  • Thursday, May 3, 2012 3:36 AM
  • Written By: Josh Marks

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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.

Mike Green Suspension Adds To Caps' Season Of Adversity

  • Friday, March 9, 2012 5:11 PM
  • Written By: Josh Marks

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It’s been a tough season for the Washington Capitals. Going into this campaign they were considered a Stanley Cup contender and now they are desperately fighting just to get into the postseason. Along the way head coach Bruce Boudreau was fired and replaced with former player Dale Hunter; number one center Nicklas Backstrom was sidelined with a concussion, possibly for the season; stars Alex Ovechkin and Alex Semin have been underperforming; and offseason pickups Joel Ward, Roman Hamrlik and Tomas Vokoun have not lived up to expectations so far.

Now comes the news that defenseman Mike Green has been suspended three games for his hit on Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brett Connolly. Green has already missed a significant portion of the season due to injury. NHL vice president of player safety Brendan Shanahan has added to the adversity the Caps have faced all season with this suspension.

I agree that hits to the head must stop and that Green’s hit could be considered dangerous, although there was no penalty assessed and Connolly was not injured. I also agree with Caps commentator Alan May when he said after the game that players need to be aware on the ice at all times and take responsibility for their own personal safety by not putting themselves in vulnerable positions.

Regardless, the suspension has made what was already going to be a hard road trip even harder. I guess we will find out how the Caps react to this latest round of adversity Saturday afternoon in Boston against the defending Stanley Cup champs.