Several players, Coach Dale Hunter, and most of us bloggers out there said this was a must win game. No going back to New York down 3-1. Mike Green made sure of that.
After slumping most of the regular season and the playoffs after returning from injury, Mike Green scored on a late Washington power play to give the Capitals a 3-2 lead that they would not relinquish. Green's stick was fed by a pass from Dennis Wideman, who knocked Ryan Callahan off the puck. It was Green's second tally of the NHL playoffs. And it was huge!
Washington took a first period lead on an unassisted goal by Alexander Ovechkin. The Ovechkin marker was his fourth of the playoffs. The Caps actually dominated the first period in aggressiveness and out shooting the Rangers 14-3, but went into the first intermission with just a 1-0 lead. New York did d not even put a shot on Holtby in the first period until afte rthe five minute mark.
Artem Anisimov scored just 1:10 into the second period to knot the game at 1-1. It would stay that way until Nicklas Backstrom leveled Anisimov, then moved to the center of Henrik Lundqvist and was fed by Jason Chimera and Backstrom buried it for a 2-1 Caps lead. Marion Gaborik would tie it late in the second period. The game stayed knotted until Green's marker late in the final frame.
The Caps also got more nifty goal tending from Braden Holtby. Holtby stopped 18 of 20 shots to preserve the Caps win. Capitals defense shined the final three minutes, killing off an aggressive Rangers attack and an empty net man advantage for the Rangers.
The Caps go back to New York for a Monday night showdown to break the 2-2 deadlock. In the 2012 NHL Playoffs, Washington has decided games by only one goal in 10 of the 11 playoff games.