Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Long Overdue

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Long Overdue

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON - The Rangers needed to play the fourth longest game in franchise history to snap a couple of losing streaks.

Marian Gaborik scored the winner at 14:41 of triple overtime as the Rangers beat the Capitals, 2-1, Wednesday night at the Verizon Center to take a 2-1 lead in their Eastern Conference semifinal.

The Rangers had lost seven straight postseason overtime games as well as five straight playoff games in Washington.

Henrik Lundqvist stopped 45 shots for the Rangers while Braden Holtby made 47 saves.

The Rangers' last overtime win was April 29, 2007 and they had not gone past two overtimes since Pete Stemkowski beat the Blackhawks, 3-2, at 1:29 of the third overtime on April 29, 1971.

Game 4 is Saturday afternoon at the Verizon Center.

After playing captain Alex Ovechkin for just 13:36 in the Capitals' 3-2 win in Monday's Game 2 - Ovechkin scored the power- play winner on a rising wrist shot at 12:33 of the third period - coach Dale Hunter reunited Ovechkin with top center Nicklas Backstrom for the first time in this postseason.

Meanwhile, coach John Tortorella mixed his lines to start as well, putting rookie Chris Kreider on the top line with Brad Richards and fellow speedster Carl Hagelin while Gaborik was moved to Derek Stepan's line with Ryan Callahan. Also, Artem Anisimov was elevated to Brian Boyle's third line in Brandon Prust's spot.

But Tortorella altered his top two lines frequently throughout the game. The Rangers lost all three games in Washington in their five-game, first-round ouster by the Capitals last season.

In the first round of the 2009 playoffs - as the Capitals rallied from a 3-1 series deficit to eliminate the Rangers in seven games - the Rangers lost Games 5 and 7 at the Verizon Center after opening the series with two wins in Washington.

"I don't really think about the history, the games we had this year or the years before," Lundqvist said.

Lundqvist allowed 13 goals on 116 shots in the previous five losses, an .899 save percentage well below the lifetime .920 save percentage he brought into Game 3. But those numbers are skewed by one poor performance, the Rangers' 4-0 loss in Game 5 of the 2009 playoffs, when Lundqvist was pulled after two periods after allowing four goals on 14 shots. …

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