-- After dropping two straight in New York and giving up an early goal in Game 5, the Washington Capitals came back to beat the Rangers in overtime Friday night in D.C. to take a 3-2 series lead in its best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarterfinals matchup.
Mike Ribeiro threw in a rebound off a Karl Alzner slapshot for the game-winner 9:24 into overtime, after nearly ten minutes of back-and-forth gasping-for-air hockey.
There is nothing more exciting in sports then a meaningful overtime playoff hockey game.
Ribeiro couldn't have hand-picked a better time to score his first goal of the playoffs, as his tally has put the Caps in position to close out the Rangers in Game 6 Sunday in New York at Madison Square Garden.
The Rangers came out ready to take control of the series as center Brian Boyle scored just 53 seconds into the game, sending Rock the Red nation into Oh no! mode.
Penalties continue to be a problem for the Capitals, as they gave up four more power play opportunities to the Rangers in Game 5, all four of which were avoidable. It's not just one person to point to here, ten guys have taken two penalties in this series and they need to clean it up. The Capitals can't continue to rely on Braden Holtby to bail them out.
The Capitals only got two man up advantages, though made good on its first opportunity.
Joel Ward got a power play goal in the second period off beautiful passing from Marcus Johansson and Nicklas Backstrom to even the score at 1-1.
Holtby, 24 saves, was back to being dominate on home ice and kept the Capitals in striking distance after the early hiccup to Boyle.
Rangers left winger Carl Hagelin had several chances in overtime but was stonewalled by Holtby, who saved five Hagelin shots throughout the game.
Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist was a wall of his own. Lundqvist stopped nine Alex Ovechkin shots (two without a stick) in Game 5, and they were quality shots too. Lundqvist continues to play solid in net for the Blueshirts. It's the rebounds and deflections that the Capitals need in order to get pucks past the Vezina trophy finalist.
Though he failed to get on the board, an active Ovechkin bodes well for the Capitals. The more he's shooting and making plays, the better off they are. Although can he please clean up the whiffs? Ovechkin fans on the puck at least three times a game.
Once the Capitals got settled into Game 5 they took control and dominated the Rangers.
The Capitals got ten more shots on goal, 35-25, ten more hits, 53-43, and won 12 more faceoffs, 42-30, in Game 5.
Alzner played big minutes for the Caps, coming up with the game-winning assist to go along with four blocked shots and four hits. He will have to do more of the same Sunday, along with the rest of the defensemen, to help the Caps close out the series.