Two old bugaboos killed the Rangers today and allowed the Caps to tie the series at two games each. Instead of having a stranglehold 3-1 lead the Rangers now have to fight for their playoff lives. All the pregame talk from the disagreeable coach was that the word tired was not to be muttered. Well if the Rangers weren't tired, what was it? The first period was played like it was a Ranger defensive drill with the Caps skating at ease through a tired Ranger team. The Rangers were out shot 14-3 and Lundqvist was brilliant making 13 saves.
And what happens when you are tired? You make mistakes, that's what happens. Unfortunately, rookie phenom Chris Kreider made the boo boo, clearing a lazy pass onto the stick of Alex Ovechkin, who launched a laser past Lundqvist and the Caps took the lead, which they would take two more times. Kreider would pay for this with only 7:34 of ice time. Three other Rangers had less ice time than Kreider. The Caps low man was Mike Knuble with 8:57 of ice time And you wonder why we get tired.
The much maligned Artem Anisimov played his best game of the playoffs, tying the game, 1-1, with a goal from in close on a beautiful deke and assisting on Gaboriks tying 2-2 goal by racing down the ice to negate an icing. However, after battling back twice the Rangers were doomed when Hagelin took a questionable slashing penalty and Mike Green scored the game winner. The Caps were 1-2 on the PP and the Rangers were 0-2. The other bugaboo.
The Rangers had a great chance when Ovechkin was whistled off for charging into Girardi. Ovie was given two minutes. He should be given more, because he definitely left his feet and hopefully it will be reviewed by the NHL. Don't hold your breath on anything happening. So it's on to NY for game five and there will be no discussion about being tired. After all, tired is a frame of mind, and if the Rangers have the same mind set for game five as they had for the start of game four this series might well be over.