NEW YORK | Camera lights on him and the realization of a 3-2 overtime loss hitting him, Matt Hendricks struggled to put it into words.
“It’s tough. It’s hard to swallow. But it’s a hockey game,” he said with a deep sigh. “I don’t have a lot to say about [it]. But it’s a tough loss.”
The Washington Capitals seemed in a state of shock, with what would have been a huge Game 5 victory over the New York Rangers gone in 6.6 seconds. It started with Joel Ward’s high-sticking penalty with 21.3 seconds left, continued with Brad Richards’ goal with 6.6 left, then ended with Marc Staal’s goal 1:35 into overtime.
“I’ve had a couple where it’s been like that, where you think you’re going to win and all of the sudden it comes crashing down pretty much,” defenseman Karl Alzner said. “And it’s very frustrating. But we’re fortunate that it wasn’t a do-or-die game for us and we have another chance to win.”
Alzner said the Caps should have won, even though they were outshot 38-18. Holding the lead until the final minute, they probably should have.
“We were six seconds away from winning that game. What do you do?” defenseman Dennis Wideman said. “You have to regroup and be ready for Game 6. We have to win Wednesday night and come back here and get ready to do it all over again.”
The deflated emotions were palpable in the visiting locker room. But Alzner tried to be upbeat.
“It’s not like we got beat 5-0; it was a close one that we should’ve put away in the third there,” he said. “It’s just a game.”
Similarly, it appeared tough for coach Dale Hunter to hide his emotions.
“We’ve been resilient all year,” Hunter said. “Just come back and play a hockey game.”