Washington Capitals v New York Rangers - Game Four

Capitals erase a 3-0 deficit, beat Rangers 4-3 in double overtime to take 3-1 series lead

Last night the San Jose Sharks proved that no lead is safe in the NHL after roaring back from a 4-0 hole to beat the Kings in overtime 6-5. Tonight, the Capitals did their own part to make people remember that the game is truly never over until the clock hits zero.

Tonight, it took until double-overtime to cast the decision, but the Capitals roared back from being down 3-0 in the third period to tie things up and win it 12:36 into the second overtime to win 4-3 and take a 3-1 series lead on the New York Rangers.

After all the talk leading into Game 4 from Caps coach Bruce Boudreau about how Madison Square Garden isn’t so great and isn’t a loud place to play, the Rangers went out of their way in the first period to prove him wrong getting goals from Artem Anisimov, Marian Gaborik, and Brandon Dubinsky to go up 3-0. The goals from Gaborik and Dubinsky came just seven seconds apart and had the crowd at MSG chanting, “can you hear us?” to Boudreau and the Capitals.

The electric atmosphere would last through until the third period when the Capitals stopped playing like they were in mud and started to assert themselves as the best team in the Eastern Conference. There Alexander Semin scored once while Marcus Johansson added a pair of goals to send the game to overtime.

In overtime, the Capitals had a tremendous opportunity as Alex Ovechkin had a breakaway opportunity on Henrik Lundqvist (49 saves) that saw Lundqvist come up huge.

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The game would move on to double overtime where Marian Gaborik would again be a major factor in the game. Only this time it would work against the Rangers as he’d end up helping out Jason Chimera score the game-winning goal.

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The loss is demoralizing for the Rangers because they had full control of this game after 40 minutes. As it turns out, they desperately needed the full 60 minutes of effort to lock this one away as the Caps dominated the third period and got the breaks needed in overtime. Now they’ll have to win in Washington on Saturday afternoon to prevent being sent out of the playoffs.

For Washington, the word of the day is “heart.” Being down 3-0 in the zoo-like atmosphere that Madison Square Garden provides can make things go downhill fast. To see this team toughen up like that and not give up shows that this Caps team is made of tougher stuff than we’ve seen out of Caps teams in recent years. Now they get to reap the benefits of home ice and finish things in front of their home fans on Saturday at 3 p.m. ET on NBC.

Here are all the highlights from tonight’s game courtesy of Versus.

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Pavelski’s late goal helps Sharks grab 2-0 series lead over Preds

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The San Jose Sharks became the only team in the second round to jump out to a 2-0 lead in their series. The Sharks did it by beating the Predators 3-2 in Game 2 on Sunday night.

San Jose opened the scoring in the second period when Logan Couture buried a rebound by Preds goalie Pekka Rinne. Brent Burns took the initial shot from the point and extended his playoff point streak to four games.

The Predators finally got on the board at the 12:56 mark of the third period when Mattias Ekholm tied the game at one.

Here’s the goal:

Nashville’s good fortune didn’t last very long. Sharks captain Joe Pavelski gave San Jose a 2-1 lead less than five minutes later.

Pavelski also picked up two assists in the game. The 31-year-old has at least one point in six of his seven postseason games in 2016.

Joe Thornton then added an empty-netter in the final minute of play before Ryan Johansen scored with four seconds remaining.

Despite the loss, Preds head coach Peter Laviolette wasn’t too disappointed by the way his team played.

The Predators outshot the Sharks (39-25), they outhit San Jose (46-26), but they just couldn’t outscore them.

Like the old saying goes: “you’re not in trouble until you lose a game on home ice.” The Preds still haven’t done that, which means they’re not done yet.

The series now shifts to Nashville for Game 3, which will be played on Tuesday night.

Video: Marc-Edouard Vlasic saved by his visor after taking Shea Weber shot to the face

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It’s a scary night for players getting hit in the head with pucks.

After Brian Elliott was hit in the head by a Jason Spezza slapshot, it was Marc-Edouard Vlasic‘s turn to narrowly avoid disaster.

In the third period of Sunday’s game against the Predators, Vlasic took a puck to the face. The end result could have been catastrophic had Vlasic not had a visor.

You can see the incident by clicking the video at the top of the page.

It’s nice to see that Vlasic was in a joking mood after the game:

Hockey Twitter breathed a collective sigh of relief after Vlasic got back up:

It sounds like Olli Maatta won’t be ready for Game 3

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You’ve all seen it by now (if you haven’t, click the video at the top of page). Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta was forced to leave Game 2 against the Capitals after taking a late hit from Brooks Orpik. Not only was the hit late, but Orpik also caught Maatta in the head.

After the Penguins’ optional skate on Sunday, Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan wasn’t optimistic about Maatta’s chances of playing in Game 3 on Monday night.

“Olli’s being evaluated as we speak, so I don’t have any real update as far as his status is concerned,” Sullivan said, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “He’s being evaluated today, we’ll probably have more information in the morning.

“I don’t have a lot of sense of his availability. I’m probably not optimistic, though.”

After the game, Capitals coach Barry Trotz stood up for his defenseman.

“We’ll let the league handle it,” Trotz said, per CSN Mid-Atlantic. “If you know anything about Brooks, he plays hard, he plays clean. He’s not a dirty player.”

And the league certainly did handle it, as they suspended Orpik for three games.

Related:

Penguins coach takes issue with late, high Orpik hit on Maatta

Brooks Orpik suspended three games for hit on Olli Maatta

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Brooks Orpik has been suspended for three games for his hit on Olli Maatta (top). The Caps defenseman will be forced to miss Games 3, 4 and 5 of the best-of-seven series against the Penguins.

Orpik delivered a late, high hit to Maatta in Game 2. The Penguins defenseman was wobbly getting off the ice and he was unable to return to the game.

Here’s how the Department of Players Safety saw the play:

“Orpik steps up to pressure Bonino, who quickly moves the puck to Maatta. Orpik peels off Bonino to pressure Maatta, who releases a shot from the top of the circle. The two continue on their path toward the goal line, as the puck is kicked into the slot. A full second after Maatta releases the puck, Orpik delivers a high, forceful hit making significant head contact. This is interference.”

To watch the NHL’s Department of Player Safety’s full explanation, click the video below.

This is the third time Orpik’s been suspended in his NHL career.