Monday, May 7, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Rangers 3, Capitals 2 (OT)
By Katie Strang
At a glance: In a stunning turnaround, the Rangers mounted a furious late-game comeback to top the Capitals 3-2 in overtime and take an all-important 3-2 series lead heading into Wednesday's Game 6 in DC. Big-goal Brad Richards brought the team back from the brink of elimination, tying the game on a power-play goal with 6.6 seconds left in regulation. Defenseman Marc Staal then tallied the game-winner in sudden death to shock the Capitals and take the pivotal Game 5 at Madison Square Garden.
Crucial power play: An anemic power play sapped essentially all momentum gained with the Rangers’ one-goal lead but came through to deliver with time winding down in the third. New York failed to register a single shot on three power-play opportunities in the first two periods -- during a particularly frustrating sequence, the Rangers had three shots blocked in a matter of 10 seconds with Washington’s John Carlson in the box for a delay of game penalty -- but scored on the fourth to send the game into overtime. Former Conn Smythe Trophy winner Richards tallied a man-up goal with 6.6 seconds left in regulation to send the teams to sudden death.
Carlson is clutch: With veteran Mike Rupp serving a hooking penalty, Carlson beat Henrik Lundqvist with a long-range slap shot for a 2-1 Caps lead at 4:20 of the third.
Laich it or not: Burying a puck that bounced off Brian Boyle's stick, Capitals forward Brooks Laich scored from the slot to tie the game at 8:15 of the second period. The Capitals entered Monday's game 0-4 when surrendering the game's first goal of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.
Sharpshooter: Defenseman Anton Stralman skated past Washington’s Matt Hendricks to rip a sharp-angle shot from long range to beat Caps netminder Braden Holtby for a 1-0 Rangers lead at 10:44. Stralman now has three goals during the first 12 games of the playoffs.
Restless crowd: The crowd at MSG couldn’t wait until the eight-minute mark to jeer Alex Ovechkin, apparently. The taunts were already in full force less than five minutes into play and continued throughout the game.
Demotion: Benched for almost the entire third period in Game 4 for a costly mistake, Rangers rookie Chris Kreider began Monday’s match skating on the fourth line with Rupp and John Mitchell. He finished with 6:57 of ice time.