Despite minuscule margins of error, the Washington Capitals now have a 3-1 series lead over the New York Rangers after a 2-1 win in Game 4.
Much like in Game 3, Braden Holtby was brilliant. This time around, the other Capitals hero was young gun Andre Burakovsky. He scored both of Washington’s goals, and each one was dazzling.
Click here for the first one and observe the game-winning beauty below:
Burakovsky scored his first two playoff goals in this game … and each one was artful.
Holtby’s highlight-reel moment won’t get buried too much, however, as his penalty-shot save on Carl Hagelin ranks as another masterpiece:
The Rangers and Capitals played another tight, close game, with New York carrying the first period, Washington turning it up a notch in the second and the third being pretty even.
Ultimately, the difference in this series has been a handful of Capitals forwards making huge plays (Alex Ovechkin’s beautiful goals, Burakovsky’s big night) and Holtby pulling off the rare feat of upstaging goaltending superstar Henrik Lundqvist.
To some, it might not seem fair that this series is 3-1, but the bottom line is that Washington managed that lead. The Rangers are just one loss from seeing their Presidents’ Trophy-winning season go down in flames against an all-too-familiar foe by an agonizingly small difference in bounces, breaks and big plays.
For a playoff overview and all tonight’s biggest stories, click here.
Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby has been the star of a series against Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers so far, but Game 4 featured maybe his most brilliant moment.
Mike Green was forced to obstruct speedy Rangers winger Carl Hagelin, setting the stage for an almost-cinematic situation. The Rangers were down 2-1 in the third period, but Hagelin could tie it up on a penalty shot.
The result was dramatic, yet Holtby came through with a beautiful glove save:
Keep that one in mind. Chances are, Holtby’s agent will cue that clip up during his looming contract negotiatons …
Wednesday night presents two games of Eastern Conference playoff action. By the end of it, we may get a better idea of how many semifinal series could be long or short.
First off, the New York Rangers hope to even things up in their second-round series against the Washington Capitals, who currently hold a 2-1 edge. Will Braden Holtby continue to make a name for himself or will Henrik Lundqvist get the edge tonight? Find out on NBCSN and also by streaming the game via NBC Sports Live Extra.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
Next, the Montreal Canadiens find themselves in a desperate situation: not only are they down 2-0 to the Lightning, but the next two games take place in Tampa Bay. We’ll get a better idea of what this Habs team is made of in Game 3, which airs on USA Network and can be streamed via the link below.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
The two contests are staggered 30 minutes apart, but with these streams, you can watch both at once. Ah, the wonders of technology.
A quick look at what games will be on what channels in tonight’s Stanley Cup playoff action …
Canadiens at Lightning, 7:00 p.m. ET on USA
Montreal is down 2-0 in its second round series after also losing all five of its regular season games against Tampa Bay. The Canadiens just can’t seem to figure the Lightning out and time isn’t on their side. It certainly doesn’t help Montreal that Steven Stamkos ended his postseason goal scoring drought in Game 2. Given what Tampa Bay accomplished while he was struggling, the squad should be very dangerous if he gets hot.
The silver lining for the Canadiens is that they will likely get David Desharnais back tonight. The 28-year-old forward had the flu and was hospitalized at one point to get re-hydrated. However, after initially staying behind when his teammates traveled to Tampa Bay, he was able to rejoin them on Tuesday. He’s been averaging 16:40 minutes per game in the playoffs, so Montreal had a significant hole to fill when he was absent for Game 2.
Rangers at Capitals, 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN
The first three games of this second round series have been decided by just one goal, so it’s fair to say that these squads have been evenly matched. In Game 3, the difference was a somewhat fluky marker by Washington’s Jay Beagle. That being said, Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby had the best game out of anyone with 30 saves to post the shutout. He now has a 1.54 GAA and .949 save percentage in the playoffs and is one of the main reasons Washington has its 2-1 series edge over the Rangers.
Netminder Henrik Lundqvist has been great too, but he hasn’t gotten much help from the Rangers’ top forwards. Rick Nash has just one goal in eight playoff contests while Martin St. Louis hasn’t found the back of the net in the 2015 postseason. If Nash and St. Louis don’t bounce back then the Rangers will have a lot of difficulty getting past Washington.
Before we get to the video, did you know that Braden Holtby’s career save percentage in the playoffs is .936?
And did you know that, among all active goalies with at least 10 postseason appearances, only Mike Smith (.945) has a higher career save percentage than Holtby’s?
Now, the video: