- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 21, 2011

NEW YORK | There’s a saying about football that it’s a battle of attrition. The same can be said about overtime playoff hockey especially on Wednesday night when the Capitals fought back from a 3-0 deficit to tie the New York Rangers and force overtime. And then a second overtime.

“Of course you’re tired — you play one more period than you usually play, and you have to work every shift because it might be the last one,” Caps center Marcus Johansson said. “Of course you’re tired, but the other team is just as tired.”

And then when Jason Chimera scored 12:36 into the second OT? “It was worth everything,” Johansson said.

Fatigue was there Washington had to expend a lot of energy just to turn the game around in the third period. But going into extra time, Chimera had one thought on his mind.

“Just make a difference. You want to be the guy to make a difference. We kind of got scored on twice in a row in the second period, and that shouldn’t happen,” he said. “Just wanted to make a difference, be that guy who wins it for your team. There’s no better feeling, that’s for sure.”

Caps goalie Michal Neuvirth was feeling it, too. His right hand was cramping up (though it was “nothing serious”).

“I think everyone was tired, but I was just going minute by minute and tried to stay focused,” Neuvirth said. “Then a big goal by Chimmer, and it’s a relief.”

Bruce Boudreau had to manage the extra minutes for all his players while also not doing something that was going to cause the Caps to slip after climbing all the way back.

“Every line was going short, and we were rolling 12 forwards and six defensemen,” the coach said. “When we shortened the bench in the third period, I told them in overtime we’re rolling four lines, so just go quick, keep doing what you’re doing and hopefully they’ll make a mistake. And they did.”

A mix-up between Henrik Lundqvist and Marian Gaborik that allowed Chimera to poke in the winning goal could have big-time ramifications for New York.

“Losing an overtime game in the playoffs hurts all of the time, but our team will bounce back,” Rangers coach John Tortorella said. “We can’t look at the hill. We have to win the next game. We have to find a way to win one hockey game, and we will see what happens from there.”

For the Caps, it could have been even more devastating to lose after making such an effort. But now that his team devastated the Rangers, Boudreau knows the Caps can’t become complacent.

“They’ve battled all year. There’s no doubt in my mind that in the two days off they’re going to regroup,” he said. “If we think we have this won by any stretch of the imagination, we’re in deep trouble.”

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