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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    Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

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    VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Vancouver Canucks right wing Ilya Mikheyev is set to have season-ending surgery on his left knee.

    Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin said Friday night the 28-year-old Russian forward tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the team’s first preseason game Sept. 25. Mikheyev will undergo surgery next week and is expected to be ready for training camp in the fall.

    Mikheyev was originally listed as week-to-week with the injury and played 45 regular-season games, finishing with 13 goals and 15 assists. He scored in his final appearance Friday night, a 5-2 home victory over Columbus.

    Mikheyev signed a four-year, $19 million contract as a free agent last summer.

    Maple Leafs’ Matthews out at least 3 weeks with knee injury

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    Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews will miss at least three weeks with a sprained knee.

    The team announced the reigning MVP’s anticipated absence Friday, two days after Matthews was injured in Toronto’s victory against the New York Rangers.

    Matthews is expected to miss at least six games and could be out for a few more. The timing of the injury coinciding with the NHL All-Star break and the Maple Leafs bye week prevents this from costing Matthews more time out of the lineup.

    After being voted an All-Star by fans, Matthews is now out of the event scheduled for Feb. 3-4 in Sunrise, Florida. The league announced Aleskander Barkov from the host Florida Panthers will take Matthews’ place on the Atlantic Division All-Star roster.

    Matthews, who won the Hart Trophy last season after leading the NHL with 60 goals, has 53 points in 47 games this season.

    Caufield opted for surgery with Habs out of playoff race

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    MONTREAL — Montreal Canadiens winger Cole Caufield said Friday he wouldn’t be having season-ending surgery on his right shoulder if the team were in playoff contention.

    But with the Canadiens near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the 22-year-old Caufield said he decided to have the surgery to protect his long-term health. The procedure is scheduled to be performed by Dr. Peter Millett on Wednesday.

    “I didn’t want to stop playing,” Caufield said. “I had a couple tests done to look at it more clearly but, in the end, like it could’ve been one more fall and it could have been even worse.”

    Caufield, who leads the Canadiens with 26 goals in 46 games, had three different medical opinions on his shoulder before concluding that his season was over.

    “I think they’ve seen a lot more than I have and they know the differences and what they like or don’t like about it,” he said about the medical opinions. “Long term, I think this is what’s best but for sure it was tough to sit out that game against Toronto on Saturday night.”

    Caufield initially felt the injury in an awkward fall during Montreal’s 4-2 loss at Dallas on Dec. 23. He said his right shoulder popped, and he replaced it himself.

    Caufield felt it again in the Habs’ 4-3 loss at Nashville on Jan. 12. The club announced on Jan. 21 that Caufield would miss the rest of the season.

    Caufield is nearing the end of his three-year, entry-level contract and will be a restricted free agent this summer.

    All-Star Matty Beniers to miss next 2 games for Kraken

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    SEATTLE — Seattle Kraken rookie All-Star Matty Beniers will miss the team’s final two games before the All-Star break after taking a big hit from Vancouver’s Tyler Myers earlier this week.

    Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said after morning skate Friday that Beniers would not play Friday night against Calgary or Saturday against Columbus. Hakstol did not speculate on Beniers’ availability for next weekend’s All-Star Game in Florida.

    The team has not specified what kind of injury Beniers sustained from the hit. He was barreled over by Myers away from the play early in the second period in Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over Vancouver. Myers was penalized for interference on the play. Beniers returned briefly for one shift later in the period but did not play in the third period.

    Beniers is Seattle’s lone All-Star selection this season. He leads all rookies in goals (17) and points (36), and is fifth in total ice time for rookies.

    Seattle also placed defenseman Justin Schultz on injured reserve and recalled forward Max McCormick from Coachella Valley of the AHL. Hakstol said Schultz is improving but there’s no timeline on his return.