About Face: Rangers Swipe Game 3, Series is 2-1

Henrik Lundqvist and Brian Boyle share a moment after winning Game 3. (www.espn.com)

It seemed as if luck wasn’t on the Rangers side at various times today. Goals being disallowed. Penalties that could go either way. But the New York Rangers found a way to make it a playoff series by stealing Game 3 from the Capitals by a 3-2 score, cutting Washington’s series lead by 1 game.

Once again, there was no scoring in the first period as both teams battled. However, on the PP, it would be Erik Christensen with a bad angle shot that beat Michael Neuvirth to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead. In the waining minutes of the 2nd period, Alex Ovechkin got loose to deflect a shot past Henrik Lundqvist to tie the game. Controversy occured with seconds on the clock as Ruslan Fedotenko threw a puck on net that seemed to barely cross the line as time expired. After much deliberation, it was ruled not a goal as the official game clock read 0:00 before the puck fully crossed the line.

Vinny Prospal would score the 2nd goal for New York off a rebound in front of the Capitals net but Washington would not go down without a fight. Mike Knuble would tie the game at 14:48 of the 3rd on the power play after a brilliant sequence of passing. It looked as if this game was heading towards overtime. However, Brandon “The Stache” Dubinsky had something to say about that, executing a great power move towards the Capitals net, putting a shot on net that bounced over everyone in front and finding a way into the back of the net for a 3-2 lead New York would hold on to keep.

Let’s take a closer look at what went down in a very enjoyable Game 3…

Now these were the Rangers we had grown accustom to. They came out strong and with a purpose. They were hitting everything in sight in an attempt to rattle Washington. This is the type of game the Rangers need to maintain in order to make Washington sweat more and put the pressure on them.

Hank was steady as she goes. Deservedly earning 1st star accolades, Lundqvist made 24 saves and gave the Capitals very little to work with today.

As much as I trashed Erik Christensen in Game 2’s post-game wrap, I have to give him some props today. He played a better game and scored an absolute laser of a shot for New York’s 1st goal. It’s feast for famine with Christensen and today, the Rangers and their fans were treated with a feast.

Ruslan Fedotenko played an excellent, under-the-radar type game for New York today. (www.espn.com)

I thought Ruslan Fedontenko had an excellent game. Diving to break up 2-on-1’s, playing strong along the boards, having a physical edge as well. Feds knows what it takes to win in the postseason and his game today was top notch. I hope the younger players use Fedotenko’s approach as a way to model their games.

Athletes are very superstitious creatures. Whatever prompted Brandon Dubinsky to sport a mustache that seemed to belong in the 1970’s paid off. He played a much better game and seemed to be more engaged. The move he used to get to the net to score the 3rd goal was an aspect of his game sorely missed. You know that stache is here to stay for as long as the Rangers are in the playoffs.

Did anyone else notice the shove to Ovechkin’s grill by Vinny Prospal after he scored his goal? Intentional or not, you gotta live Vinny.

Brian Boyle had a game for himself in front of the Capitals’ net. 9 shots and he bullied his way to several scoring chances but can’t get that biscuit in the basket. If Boyle continues the fearsome play he’ll get one to drop eventually.

Even they scored tonight, albeit a lucky goal to some degree, the Rangers PP still seems disjointed. They looked horrible on their 5-on-3, so hesitant to shoot. It’s a mindset that needs to be changed quickly. 5-on-3’s are supposed to make the opposition nervous, not yawn.

What’s The Pulse:

Should be very high as 2-1 looks miles better than 3-0. The Rangers used the MSG crowd to their advantage in this crucial game for their psyche. They were able to establish their forecheck & physical play and seemed to get the Capitals off theirs slightly. If the Rangers can somehow get back to Washington with the series tied 2-2, the Capitals will have a very tough time forgetting the numerous other times they’ve had a series lead and choked it away.

Next Game:

Wednesday night 6:00 PM back at Madison Square Garden.

Make sure to check out Capitals Outsider on Fansided for their thoughts on Game 3.