It's amazing how far emotions can rise and fall in a seven-game series. Caps fans experienced the lowest of the lows, and some ear-splitting highs.
But Tuesday's win has its roots in one key decision made by Bruce Boudreau back in Game 2. If the Caps run deep into the playoffs, they're going to look back at his decision to start Simeon Varlamov as the catalyst.
It took a lot of guts for Gabby to turn to the then-20-year-old kid. But Gabby did it without much hesitation, talking up his high-pressure experience while playing in Russia.
In hindsight, it's clearly the right decision, but consider what it took.
Jose Theodore wasn't 100 percent of the reason the Caps lost Game 1, but there was at least one, probably two softie goals that absolutely needed to be stopped. The team didn't have a ton of confidence in him to be a stopper in the first place.
But switching from him would likely crush his confidence. If Boudreau was going to switch goalies, he had to make sure his decision would stick. And he, in turn, had to have confidence that he could turn the Caps' Cup run over to a kid who has roughly as many career NHL starts as any of you reading this.
And that's where the genius of Boudreau's move came. He didn't wait. He didn't hesitate. He made up his mind, and he executed the decision perfectly.
He didn't wait for Theodore to do the Mr. Softy routine in a second straight game. Had he sent No-Way Jose out there and he blew another one, the team's down two games, and sending an untested rookie to the wilds of MSG. No pressure there, kid.
Instead, he turned the keys over early, and let the Iron Curtain get his feet wet on friendly home ice.
Yeah, the Caps lost the game, but that 1-0 loss didn't really feel like a loss, did it? The Caps dominated play, and Varlamov showed that he was everything that Jose wasn't in the first.
That game set the tone for the rest of the series. For the Rangers to win, Hank the goalie was going to have to outplay the kid.
He didn't. And the Caps won.
All because of the Coach's terrifically timed decision.