Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Miraculous comeback stuns Caps

Sports can be the unknown. There are moments that don't seem real. Last night was one of those holy f#*$**& #$%* I don't believe what I just saw games. If you were lucky enough to be there as we were along with the other screaming 18,200 in the building, then you know how amazing it was. A miraculous comeback that hopefully will be something we talk about for years.

Brad Richards scored with 6.6 seconds remaining in regulation to tie the Caps. Then Marc Staal scored the oh my god winner 1:35 into overtime- giving the Rangers a dramatic 3-2 win in Game Five to stun Washington for a 3-2 series lead. That both came on the power play were equally as shocking considering how well the Capitals shut us down after John Carlson put them ahead on a power play goal. I can only say how unbelievable it was and still have a hard time summing it all up.

All I know is it looked like a 17-shot first in which the Blueshirts dominated along with a heavy edge in shots (38-18) was going to get wasted. How our team was once again gonna rue the day they didn't cash in on all the chances early. That again, the offense would cost us big time. I just kept picturing being down 3-2 to this damn team who gives them so many problems, wondering how they'd win a second straight game on the road to force a seventh game.

I stood up the final four minutes. When it looked like they were done, I started heading down. Another fan in front of me muttered, 'What a waste of money.' I was thinking 'What a waste of a season,' while wondering why they can't beat the Caps. Editor's Note: They need one more before we get ahead of ourselves.

While he departed, I couldn't leave. This was our playoffs hanging by a cliff. Instead, I walked to 114 right where as fate had it, Richards took a faceoff with 54 seconds left following a timeout. It didn't look good. But a funny thing happened. Richards won another big draw and Carl Hagelin was high sticked by Cap folk hero Joel Ward. As they announced the double minor, a little voice in my head went it figures. The power play had already seen its collective shadow. How were they going to score with 21.1 left? Half the time, they don't win offensive draws. But Richards won it and then madness ensued. First, Ryan Callahan fired wide with 13 ticks left and I feared the worst like everyone else. Then, Mike Del Zotto passed for Callahan who was denied twice by Braden Holtby.

Something unpredictable happened with Richards from the toughest of angles with little real estate, somehow poked the puck just inside the far right post and in. The Garden erupted. Like many, I lost it. Must've slapped and hugged whoever was there. The best was this kid and his Dad. The kid was awesome. Thanks to Richards, they tied it. But there was still overtime with another two minutes up a man. If you were a betting person, the odds might've been a zillion to one that they'd score on both ends of Ward's double minor. There are two parts I'll take away from the break.
1.Some suit named Rich told me that they would win in double overtime as we were getting water.
2.After I went back upstairs and told Dad, Justin and Mike everything, they sent me back down with two minutes to spare. I was gonna head down anyway. It was for the team. Superstitions.
The overtime began and there were quite a few people around a big screen. I eventually made my way there and waited. Then the goal horn sounded. When you don't think it's possible, you don't believe it. I didn't because the OT had barely started. At first, I thought it was a joke. Then, thunderous cheers in a circus-like environment that featured confetti and fireworks. Apparently, someone forgot to tell MSG that this was only the third win of Round Two. It's nice and all but there's still much work left.

What we witnessed last night was a team not giving up. That's how these Blueshirts play. They had nothing going the final 10 minutes until the final breath. In fact, the Caps came very close to making it 3-1 twice. First, Nicklas Backstrom came in on Henrik Lundqvist and his backhand deke went off our goalie and off the crossbar. Then, Washington came three-on-one with Alex Ovechkin in the middle. But Staal calmly anticipated the pass and harmlessly poke checked it away. He also cleared the zone. Phenomenal game saving plays.

The Capitals cashed in on a Mike Rupp hook. It looked like they would steal it. Something I was worried about when the lead was only one after the first. You knew the Caps would awaken. They did with Ovechkin setting up Brooks Laich for the tying goal in the second. Kind of bad luck because it went off Brian Boyle's stick right to Laich, who buried it. Earlier, John Mitchell had Marian Gaborik all alone for a sure PPG only to misconnect on the pass. There were twists and turns, which is what made it so compelling. From almost two up to eventually falling behind thanks a Carlson rocket which eluded Lundqvist's outstretched glove.

Afterwards, Dale Hunter had his team trap. They were very effective limiting us and countering. If not for some luck, they're up 3-2. Washington has transformed from a wide open team to a defensive minded one that finishes every check and blocks every shot. The Rangers attempted 63. Twenty-five never made it. Another 15 missed altogether. So, it really was 78 to the Caps' 35. They attacked hard on the forecheck but most of it came during the first half. Then, the Caps took over by out-Rangering us. Ward's undisciplined penalty changed everything. The rest is history. Miraculous.

BONY 3 Stars:

3rd Star-John Carlson, Wsh (power play goal, 4 blocked shots in 33 shifts-21:53)
2nd Star-Brad Richards, NYR (tied game at 19:53, won 2 critical faceoffs-12-6 in 22:58)
1st Star-Marc Staal, NYR (scored at 1:35 of overtime-2nd career playoff winner, assist, huge defensive play, +1 in 24:05)

1 comment:

Hasan said...

Yeah they've had the confetti and stuff after 'every' home playoff win, astounding really but it hasn't jinxed them yet.

I can only imagine what that game must have been like...I've only been to one OT playoff win and that was Game 6 against Florida.

One game away from Armageddon now.

The Puck Stops Here


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