Normally, the fact that Wednesday night's game between the Caps and the Rangers went to triple overtime would indicate a dramatic exhibition of the best that playoff hockey has to offer.
Sadly, that was not the case.
Instead, it was 115 minutes of boring back-and-forth between two teams trying not to lose. It was dull, safe hockey that only featured as many great scoring chances as there were periods. But the lack of excitement is ultimately allowable as the result was the right one - the Rangers prevailed 2-1. They made up for their Game 2 gaffes to regain home ice and, hopefully, earned the moral victory that comes from surviving a marathon ... one that could carry them to a series victory.
*Marian Gaborik will never dominate shifts the way guys like Malkin and Kovalchuk and Datsyuk do but that doesn't matter when he can pop up in good spots. How he got open in the slot to score the winner was shocking and impressive. Sneaky, sneaky.
*Poor Stu. At least he didn't have to pay for a front row seat but surely he would have been more comfortable changing back into his suit to watch the final four periods.
*The only issue to be had with Mike Rupp's game was that he hit Brian Boyle's big butt when he had his chance to net the winner. He was very active and grinded well, shocking, right? That's what you're paid for Brayden.
*First hockey fans were subjected to the Malkins, now the Holtbys. Was it sweet that mom and dad were there to support their little boy? Awwwa, sure. Do I care what their reactions were to everything? No.
*At least it was better than the Game 4 double OT disaster between these teams that all-but-sealed last season. That one was so soul crushing.
*Torts seemed to sheltered the skill kids Kreider, Hagelin and Arty. They all played less than a half hour and, of the trio, Kreider looked best. Hagelin's invisibility has been troubling; he has no goals, one assist and one suspension so far these playoffs. In fact, he has a 19 game goal drought going. It is certainly (sadly) possible that he has hit the collegiate wall.
*Certainly think that the league should look at the Hendricks' hit on McDonagh. Hendricks lined him up, saw he was vulnerable and put shoulder to head. He even extended his elbow upon contact.
*Cally's goal aside, the Ranger power play looked terrible. But there is nothing new about that.
*Heard Pantera twice - "Walk" and "Goddamn Electric" - that is fantastic. \m/
*Anyone else laugh hysterically when, after Pierre thanked him for his commercial break interview, Torts said "my pleasure"??
*Twice in the first period I noticed the Rangers stop and set up their breakout only to blow it on the second touch - once they iced it, once they turned the puck over. Inexcusable.
*Love that Cap fans need to be prompted by a blaring horn to start chanting for their team. Or is the horn sounded to make sure the Beltway bandwagoners haven't fallen asleep?
*Hockey players = men. Girardi, Knuble, Boyle. Take the hit, bleed a bit and stay in the game. Outstanding.
*PHW Three Stars
3-Braden Holtby - 47 saves.
2-Henrik Lundqvist - 45 saves.
1-Marian Gaborik - one goal and one assist.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Cally - Not much left to say about our fair captain. Heart, guts, grit, ability ... all credit to the secret American lab that is churning out guys like him, Backes and Brown.
2-McDonagh - Hit in the head? No biggie. Fifty-three minutes of shutdown, physical defending. Staal had his struggles but McD was there to quiet a motivated Ovechkin.
1-Gaborik - Sneaky, sneaky sir.