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“We were a little bit slow out of the gates after [Girardi’s goal], as well, and they were able to score another quick one,” Brouwer said, “and we spent the whole game trying to play catch-up.”

That’s not the way to succeed against the Rangers, who did their job in holding serve at home. Washington is 0-6 in franchise history when losing Game 4 to make it a 2-2 series. The Caps will try to make history beginning with Game 5 Friday night back at Verizon Center.

“Everybody knows it’s playoffs,” captain Alex Ovechkin said. “Nobody’s gonna give up right away. Doesn’t matter if gonna be score, but right now we go home and go and play against them with our fans and in our building. It’s gonna I hope be much better for us.”

The Caps have to hope their showing back home is better than Wednesday night, when they were outshot 21-9 to start the game and could never find consistent rhythm. This was not the same kind of domination at five-on-five that Washington enjoyed in the first three games, and the rest of the series will likely hinge on a chess match between Oates and John Tortorella.

“They made some adjustments, so we’ll have to adjust now,” Alzner said.

Whether it’s on the power play, which was stagnant in going 0-for-2, or five-on-five where the Rangers finally seemed to carry things, the Caps must adjust quickly.

“It’s a three game series now,” Holtby said. “We’re trying not to think too much about momentum. We have a job to do: win four out of seven. We knew it was going to be tough and we’ll regroup and we’ll be ready to play.”