Rapid Reaction: Rangers 2, Caps 1 (3 OT)

May, 3, 2012
5/03/12
12:15
AM ET


What it means: It took three overtime periods to do it, but the Rangers finally snapped a seven-game overtime playoff losing streak that had dogged them for the past five years. Which is about how long Wednesday's game seemed to last. Marian Gaborik tallied 14:41 into the third overtime period to give the Rangers a 2-1 win against the Capitals in Game 3 and a 2-1 series lead heading into Saturday's Game 4 at Verizon Center. It was the Blueshirts' first overtime playoff win since April 29, 2007, and the team's longest game in more than 41 years.

Quick stitch: Top defenseman Dan Girardi was forced from the game early into the overtime period after catching Henrik Lundqvist's stick to the face. He left the Rangers' bench for the trainer's room, presumably to receive stitches, and returned later in the period.

Big break: The Rangers got a big break on the game’s first goal, in the second period. Ryan Callahan snapped a scoreless draw at 6:41 after Michael Del Zotto’s shot deflected off both John Carlson and Matt Hendricks, and landed at the captain’s feet. Callahan spun to sweep the shot past Caps goaltender Braden Holtby for a power-play goal and 1-0 Rangers lead.

Nice move: Carlson earned some redemption later in the period, tying the game for the Capitals with his first goal of the playoffs. The 22-year-old defenseman made a deft move to shake Marc Staal and snipe a shot past Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist at 11:10.

Ovi of old: Just one game after being limited to a mere 13:36 of ice time -- a career playoff low -- Alex Ovechkin came out buzzing for Game 3 and was rewarded accordingly. With 14:49 over the first two periods of the game, Ovechkin played the most of any forward on the ice from either club.

Musical wingers: Chris Kreider earned an audition with the team’s top line with center Brad Richards and fellow rookie Carl Hagelin in Game 2, and the promotion stuck to begin Game 3. Despite pregame line rushes that suggested otherwise, Kreider played with Hagelin and Richards while struggling sniper Marian Gaborik flanked Derek Stepan with Ryan Callahan on the team’s second line for the first period. Those combinations were scrapped in the second, however, when Callahan replaced Kreider on the top line.

Dubinsky down and out: The Rangers played their third straight game without injured forward Brandon Dubinsky. The 26-year-old has not skated since suffering a lower-body injury in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals, and was watching from the press box with crutches and a boot on his right foot, a likely sign he is not nearing a return to the lineup.
Katie Strang covers the Rangers, Islanders and Devils for ESPNNewYork.com. She is a graduate of Michigan State University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
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