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Is this Capitals’ team mentally tougher than past versions?

May 3, 2012, 9:40 AM EDT

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 02: Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals warms up before a game against the New York Rangers in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Verizon Center on May 2, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) Getty Images

Losing in overtime is tough, but bouncing back from a lengthy overtime loss might be even harder. The Capitals played for 114:41 fruitless minutes on Wednesday. Now they have until Saturday to mull what went wrong before they have a chance at redemption.

This could mark a turning point in the series, but Washington’s Karl Alzner thinks they have what it takes to fight back.

“It is good for our heads to know we were in the exact same position against a very, very good team and we managed to climb out of that,” Alzner said, referring to the fact that Boston also had a 2-1 series lead against Washington in the first round. “I’m sure the guys will be fine, we’ve lost in overtime in these playoffs already and we’ve found a good way to bounce back. We are a lot mentally tougher of a team than we have been in the past.”

Washington lost in overtime in Game 1 and Game 6 of the first round, but they bounced back from both those setbacks by winning their subsequent contest. That being said, neither of those two overtime matches lasted nearly as long as Wednesday’s triple-overtime loss.

  1. oconnor007 - May 3, 2012 at 9:51 AM

    As a Rangers fan, I can say that I am really impressed at the transformation of the Caps into a viable defensive team. It’s definitely scary to think how good this team could be if they added some more defensive role players.

    Holtby is for real.

    • davidpcoelho - May 3, 2012 at 10:45 AM

      I still think defense is not where we are lacking (Caps fan here so thus the “we”). We need Centers. We have one. Right now we are missing the transition game. Once we get that, the forwards should be much more effective.

      Right now Backstrom is being spread too thin.

      Great series though. This is not over yet. It is quite apparent that home ice means nothing this year.

      And even I did not know Holtby had “it”

      • oconnor007 - May 3, 2012 at 10:47 AM

        Series is far from over. Good luck!

      • baywatchboy - May 3, 2012 at 12:46 PM

        MJ90 is a natural center who, if left there, could develop into a solid player. Laich and Beagle have proved their worth recently. Could the Caps use a legit second line center, sure, but I don’t think their as bad off as they were in the past. Defense is where they are inconsistent. Which Dennis Wideman is going to show up? Why is Schultz still playing? Orlov will be good for years to come.

  2. alphalol - May 3, 2012 at 10:32 AM

    Being a Capitals fan all my life, I have little to enjoy other than a sweep in the Stanley Cup Finals back in ’98.

    That being said, this team is very different from any of the previous teams I have seen take the ice. Still, I am worried about our chances. We did manage to come back against the Bruins after falling in the hole – but the fashion in which we lost this game was much more deflating.

    It is hard to accept this lose, but the Rangers played well enough to deserve this win. This is my favorite time of year, and I cannot wait to see what game 4 will bring. One thing is for sure – it is a must win for my boys in D.C.

    Good luck to both teams on Saturday, and Go Caps!

  3. bcjim - May 3, 2012 at 10:51 AM

    Tough OT to watch imo. Guys were tired, sloppy too bad it has to happen that way but I dont know any better way. Beats a SO for sure. Wish they’d go 4v4 in OT I guess.

    I think since there is 2days off, there is no lasting effect for the Caps.

  4. rsl22 - May 3, 2012 at 12:58 PM

    As was said above, center is where the Caps are lacking. They need to address 2C and hope Orlov is ready to go next season to take over for Schultz/Erskine (I personally think Orlov should be playing now, unfortunately I’m not GMGM/Hunter).

    I know this sounds ridiculous to some, but if the Caps had a second center, I wouldn’t have a problem with saying they’d be the Cup favorites right now, even down 2 games to 1. But center is huge, and the Caps are seriously lacking.

    Will also have to replace Wideman, but I’m sure they can find a right shooting defenseman in free agency (sucks that Ryan Suter is a lefty, but if the Caps can move Hamrlik he’d be awesome to go after).

    As for this series, the Caps could easily be up 3-0. Sadly, they aren’t. The previous three times the Caps lost in 3OT or later, they went on to lose the series. It’s no different among other teams in the league. It’s hard to come back, one team is up, one is down…tough situation.

    I’ve been a Caps fan for an awfully long time…when the Caps won in Boston in 2OT, it was shocking to see them pull it out. Seeing them lose in 3OT, although heart-breaking, really not a surprise. It’s been the same year after year after year….starting to feel like a Cubs/Sox fan (pre-2004).

    • baywatchboy - May 3, 2012 at 3:04 PM

      In all fairness to the Caps, two of the three times they lost in 3OT or later, it was Game 7. To say “…they went on to lose the series.” is a little misleading.

      • rsl22 - May 3, 2012 at 3:17 PM

        That’s true.

        However, it’s still also true that a majority of teams that lose in 3OT or later when it’s not a game 7 also end up losing the series. Either way, I’ll be at Verizon on Saturday hoping for that to change.

        Johansson needs to score. He’s been denied on so many chances. And hopefully Brouwer can make up for that derf on his layup.

  5. blastardo - May 3, 2012 at 1:20 PM

    Awesome series. It could easily be 3-0 for either teams. Holtby and Lundquist have been playing incredible with a little help from the goal posts.

    It seems like in every game this series theres been 1 or 2 goal post saves.

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