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By the time the Caps stopped taking penalties (all six were in the first 27 minutes), it was a climb with the Rangers buzzing. Defenseman John Carlson played a game-high 5:38 short-handed and was on the ice for three of four goals against.

“Anytime you’re taking penalties, it’s losing momentum and it’s tough to get that flow of the game,” defenseman Mike Green said. “Guys get tired, and we can’t have that.”

Or other guys can’t get their legs going. Ribeiro, Ovechkin and center Mathieu Perreault did not play a single second short-handed and then were counted on to produce in the third period.

“We’ve got some really skilled players sitting on the bench watching and it’s tough for them to get a feel for the game,” Fehr said. “At the end of the day, we’re tied in the third period. We’ve got to find a way to win it, and we couldn’t do it.”

Game 3 was the first time since March 9 that the Caps had to face six short-handed situations. Even if they get more calls the rest of the series, spending so much time on the penalty kill is not a recipe for success.

“I think some of the calls are dicey,” Oates said. “Every game there’s small calls in each direction and you feel a little bit slighted on the calls. But obviously discipline is an important thing. … We just can’t take too many penalties.”