Series returning to Garden tied 2-2
Late power-play goal by Capitals tops Rangers 3-2, makes it best-of-3 now
By Jim Cerny, BlueshirtsUnited.com
Mike Green's power play goal with 5:48 remaining in the third period snapped a 2-2 tied and lifted the Washington Capitals to a 3-2 victory over the Rangers in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals Saturday afternoon at the Verizon Center. The best-of-seven series is now square at two games apiece with Game 5 set for Monday night at Madison Square Garden.
Green scored on a right-wing blast with Carl Hagelin in the penalty box serving a slashing minor penalty. The Capitals never trailed on Saturday, and showed tremendous resolve in bouncing back form their triple overtime defeat in Game 3 on Wednesday night.
Henrik Lundqvist was terrific in goal for the Rangers despite allowing three goals. He finished with 23 saves, while Washington's Braden Holtby stopped 17 of 19 shots.
Due in large part to the superb goaltending of Lundqvist and the standout play of Anisimov, the Rangers found themselves in a 2-2 tied after 40 minutes of play. Considering how vastly they were outplayed in the first period, the Rangers had to feel good about their situation heading into the second intermission after playing a much stronger middle period.
Lundqvist stopped 13 of 14 shots in the first period as the Rangers were outshot 14-3 and were on their heels for much of the opening stanza. Lundqvist's glove save on an Alex Ovechkin power play deflection in the early minutes of the game just may have been his best of this series, so far. On the play, Lundqvist faced Brooks Laich, who looked to be slapping a shot from left wing, only to send a perfect pass to Ovechkin on the doorstep instead. Lundqvist instinctively flashed out his glove and reached behind himself to make the amazing stop.
However at 12:43 of the first period Ovechkin gained revenge. Ovechkin collected a Chris Kreider turnover and hammered a shot off Lundqvist's glove and into the cage for his fourth playoff goal---and second of the series---as the pro-Caps crowd erupted in a deafening roar.
The Rangers settled the game in the second period, and Anisimov played a big role in both goals scored by the visitors. Just 1:10 into the middle period Anisimov---stationed in front of Holtby---collected a loose puck after Dan Girardi's point shot was blocked, and the Russian center swept it into the net for his second post-season goal---and second of the series---tying the score 1-1.
After Nicklas Backstrom's wicked snap shot beat Lundqvist high to the stick side at 11:54, Anisimov hustled down the ice to beat a confused Caps defenseman Dennis Wideman to a puck thrown down the ice by Marc Staal, leading to the game tying goal. Wideman and Holtby miscommunicated on who should play the puck, and Anisimov took advantage, collecting the loose puck and centering in front where Marian Gaborik banged in his third goal of the post-season---and second in as many games.
Though the Rangers outshot Washington 10-6 in the second period, Lundqvist still had to sparkle in order to keep the score tied. Late in the period, while laying on his back, Lundqvist made two sensational saves to further frustrate a Caps team that had just given up a lead for the second time in the game.
Early in the third period Lundqvist was at it again, first keeping the puck out of the net despite being bowled over by a hard-charging Mike Knuble, then making a simply sensational split left-pad save on Backstrom's wide-open backhander off a 2-on-0 down low.