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Chimera Caps Comeback in Double OT

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Double-OT hero Jason Chimera talks postgame with Lindsay Czarniak. (Published Thursday, Apr 21, 2011)

    The goals came fast and furious in the second and third periods of Wednesday's Game 4 between the Capitals and Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

    And then we waited.

    Caps' Game 4 Postgame Interviews

    [DC] Caps' Game 4 Postgame Interviews
    It was a happy locker room after Jason Chimera scored the game-winning goal in double OT. (Published Thursday, Apr 21, 2011)

    And waited.

    And waited some more.

    But finally, after nearly two overtime periods, Jason Chimera scored the game winner, giving the Caps a 4-3 victory and a commanding 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

    And the first person he should thank for his good fortune -- Rangers forward Marian Gaborik.

    The Blueshirts' star winger inexplicably knocked the puck away from his own goaltender just outside the crease as he tried to cover it. And he knocked it straight into Chimera, who was standing in the crease.

    Thank you very much, Mr. Gaborik.

    Chimera deposited the puck into a wide open net for the win, sending the once-raucous MSG crowd home quiet and defeated.

    "The puck just laid there, and then (Gaborik) chipped the puck, it hit my chest, and I put it in," Chimera told Comcast Sportsnet after the game.

    Not only did the Rangers lose the game in OT, but they blew a 3-0 lead in the third period, and find themselves just one loss away from elimination.

    "That's kind of a knife in the back for them," defenseman Karl Alzner said after the game to Comcast SportsNet.

    They always say a two-goal lead is the toughest lead to defend in hockey.  But on Wednesday night the Rangers couldn't even hold a three-goal lead against the Caps.

    After falling behind 3-0 in the second period, the Caps roared back with three goals of their own in less than 10 minutes in the third to send the game to overtime.

    "All I did was hope," coach Bruce Boudreau said after the game. "I tried to contain my excitement and be on even keel. The players, they felt it. They felt a potential comeback in the making."

    You're not going to erase a 3-0 deficit against Rangers' goalie Henrik Lundqvist without some help, and that's just what the Blueshirts gave them in the third.

    Just like the Caps had a defensive lapse in the second period, the Rangers had one of their own early in the third, allowing the Caps to score two goals in less than a minute to climb back to within 1.

    First: Alex Semin intercepted a clearing attempt by a Rangers defender at the blue line, skated in and fired a wrister on net. The puck trickled by Lundqvist and floated along the goal line. Lundqvist pulled it back toward his body. He thought he had the puck pinned against his pads, but it was actually in the crease, allowing Semin to sneak in and poke it home.

    That goal was followed up quickly by another on another defensive breakdown by New York. What looked to be an innocent pass toward the net by Brooks Laich along the left-wing boards was actually a perfect pass to Marcus Johansson, who was alone to the left of Lundqvist. All Johansson had to do was redirect the puck with his backhand to make it 3-2.

    The Caps tied the game with just under eight minutes left in the third when a John Carlson shot from the point deflected off of Johansson's leg and into the net.

    Some defensive mistakes, a lucky bounce or two, and the Caps roared back to tie the game and take the momentum.

    The Rangers opened their huge lead in the second period thanks to two goals in seven seconds by Gaborik and Brandon Dubinsky.

    Already skating with a 1-0 lead, the Rangers took advantage of a defensive breakdown off a faceoff deep in the Caps' zone to the left of Neuvirth.

    The puck was pushed behind the Caps' net, where Ruslan Fedotenko was the first to gain control. He skated out from behind the net, circled on the back in the slot and sent a backhand pass to Gaborik, who was all by his lonesome at the far post. All he had to do was tap it home for the 2-0 lead.

    That lead quickly grew to three goals off the very next faceoff at center ice. And once again it was a defensive breakdown that was to blame. First, Fedotenko raced into the zone with the puck and got a shot off, but it went wide. He gathered his own rebound off the back boards, however and dished the puck out to the high slot, where Dubinsky quickly fired a shot past a shell-shocked Neuvy.

    And that Madison Square Garden crowd that was supposed to be a tad quiet? They were anything but at this point of the game.

    But in the third the Caps quickly erased the lead and stunned MSG. And Chimera's double-OT goal may have deflated the Rangers' hopes of winning this series.

    Sure, every game has been close. And sure, a number of teams have come back from 3-1 series deficits in the past. But to blow a lead like the Rangers did, and then to lose in double OT, well, that's soul-crushing.

    Game 5 will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Verizon Center and on NBC.

    "Two warrior teams are going at it and leaving nothing," Boudreau said. "This has been a hell of a series so far, and I don't anticipate anything different on Saturday."