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NHL on NBC: Rangers, Caps continue battle after 3OT marathon

May 5, 2012, 12:05 AM EDT

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 2: Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers protects the goal during Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Washington Capitals on May 2, 2012 at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/NHLI via Getty Images) Getty Images

After their 114:41 minute game on Wednesday, the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals were probably grateful for a couple days off. However, on Saturday (12:30 pm ET, NBC) their series will resume with Game 4.

For the Washington Capitals, this game will be about putting the devastating setback behind them and erasing the Rangers’ one-game edge. This will also be the latest in a long series of big tests for Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby, who successfully bounced back from two overtime losses in the first round. In fact, Holtby hasn’t lost back-to-back games so far in the 2012 playoffs.

“What really impresses me most about him in the playoffs is his resiliency,” Former Washington goaltender Olie Kolzig said. “Whether he gives up a bad goal or has a bad game, he’ll come back and make that next big save or he’ll come back and win the next game.”

Of course, Holtby can’t win this series by himself. Other Capitals need to step up too, like Alex Ovechkin did in Game 2. Ovechkin couldn’t find the back of the net on Wednesday, but he did record nine hits in 35:14 minutes of ice time. Capitals coach Dale Hunter has typically used Ovechkin conservatively, but after his work in Games 2 and 3, he might get big minutes on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the Rangers have an opportunity to take a commanding lead in the series by winning another game in Washington. All eyes will be on Marian Gaborik, who snapped an eight-game goal scoring drought on Wednesday with his triple-overtime winner. If he can turn that goal into the start of a hot streak, then it will be very hard to contain the Rangers.

Ryan McDonagh will be another New York player to watch. Even after two days off, how will he respond after logging an incredible 53:17 minutes on Wednesday?

Game 3 was important and dramatic, but the bigger test for both teams will be to put that marathon game behind them and focus solely on Saturday’s contest.

Game 4 Notes:

— Washington and New York are still the top two playoff teams when it comes to blocked shots.
— New York’s Stu Bickel logged just 3:24 minutes in the triple-overtime contest.
— The Rangers and Capitals are both 3-0 when leading after 40 minutes.
Henrik Lundqvist has been arguably the best goaltender of the playoffs with a 1.55 GAA and .944 save percentage in 10 starts.

  1. hawk29 - May 5, 2012 at 12:47 AM

    What is the deal with the 1230am start? Why in the world would NBC or the NHL put a premier match up like NY vs. DC on at such a horrible time!? Not only is this an indication of how bad the league does at promoting the sport, but it’s also a slap in the face to fans. Regular season game at 1230 Sat…OK…2nd round playoff game you’ve got to be kidding me.

  2. barkar942 - May 5, 2012 at 1:11 AM

    I believe there is some kind of horse race on later in the afternoon that NBC is covering. My question is- if they play another marathon game, what channel will NBC dump the game to?

  3. capsfan19 - May 5, 2012 at 1:49 AM

    I completely agree with hawk!!! Such garbage.

  4. mrpigs - May 5, 2012 at 2:07 AM

    NBC has promised coverage up until 2ots, anything after that would be put onto CNBC. Go Rangers!

  5. capsrockva - May 5, 2012 at 8:50 AM

    Go Caps

  6. wsiegeldpm - May 5, 2012 at 1:23 PM

    NBC’s coverage of the Ranger/Capital series is the worst I have ever seen. Mike Emrick has a horribly shrill voice that sounds like fingernails on a chalkboard. He has absolutely nothing to say about the game or the players that even a casual fan doesn’t already know. He SCREAMS on the top of his lungs every time the puck gets near the hash marks. When something significant actually happens, like a penalty, he barely mentions is. Ed Olcyk in addition to having nothing useful to say, can barely put together a complete sentence. Why isn’t Joe Micheletti doing color for this series??? I tried to listen to the game today and had to turn the sound off again about halfway through the first period. I am condemned to listen to this series in silence for the long haul unless they bring on real professionals like Sam Rosen, Joe Micheletti, Al Trautwig, or someone with actual hockey knowledge and ability.

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