Washington Capitals vs. New York Rangers

Eastern Conference Semifinals Game 4


-- After losing a triple-overtime thriller in Game 3 Wednesday night in D.C., the Washington Capitals find themselves in a familiar spot.

Like the Boston series, the Capitals will go into Game 4 down 2-1 in its Eastern Conference Semifinal against the New York Rangers.

For the Capitals, it's gut-check time.

The Rangers stole Game 3 on a Marian Gaborik goal at the 14:41 mark of the third overtime after dodging multiple game-winning chances from the Caps, highlighted by an Alex Ovechkin post and a Troy Brouwer open-net shank.

The Rangers had their share of chances in overtime too, and ultimately put the game to bed (along with the viewers) on the play-making of Brad Richards that stunned Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby.

The Capitals defensemen should've put Gaborik, or any player for that matter, on their backs when they get that close to the net.

The question now remains: How will these teams respond after what was an emotionally and physically draining game?

For the Rangers, the extended play seems worth it - for now.

For the Capitals, not so much.

The two-day break will help the Caps 'lick their wounds' as they try to even up the series Saturday in front of their home crowd, who will be rockin' the red.

The Capitals will need their offense to find the back of the net. Goals haven't been easy to come by against Rangers goaltender Henrik Lunqvist (with aide from the posts), but they haven't been impossible. The Capitals have to get bodies in front of the net, cause chaos, and be ready for deflections.

Ovechkin has found his form the last two games, but the Caps will need more production from Alexander Semin. While breaking through in the Boston series, Semin has reverted to his old-playoff self against the Rangers. Caps nation expects more out of its talented left winger.

The Capitals out hit (59 - 46) and won more faceoffs (48 - 46) than the Rangers in Game 3, but had one more penalty (Caps - 4 Rangers - 3) which proved to be costly. The Capitals penalty kill has been great this postseason but can ill-afford the slightest hiccup in Game 4.

Puck drops 12:30 p.m. Saturday.


Are you ready?