Losing a triple-overtime game could be devastating, for the Washington Capitals or any team. But Brooks Laich hypothesized Friday that it might be a good thing; maybe the New York Rangers wouldn’t be able to get up the same intensity and the Caps would be able to win Game 4.
Laich was right, as the Caps showed unbelievable desperation, especially early, in beating New York 3-2.
“We wanted to try and set the tempo of the game, try and put them back on their heels and let them know right away that we were going to be coming and coming all night,” Laich said.
Sometimes that could be idle chatter. They had seven shots before the Rangers registered a single one and dominated the play.
“I’m impressed,” defenseman Karl Alzner said. “I’m impressed that we said what we wanted to do and we went out and did that.”
Said coach Dale Hunter: The guys knew what was at stake, and they came out with a big first, a big push.”
Of course the Rangers pushed back. Laich said the first 10 minutes of the second period were New York’s best. But the Caps managed to survive it.
Credit a lot of that to players brushing off that triple OT loss, or just using it as motivation.
“So we did all the right things we needed to do to prepare ourselves. This is what we needed,” defenseman Mike Green said. “We didn’t want to shoot ourselves in the foot and have to have our backs up against the wall and be a desperate hockey team. Now we can go into their building and hopefully steal it.”