Marcus Johansson might have said it best after this dramatic double-overtime, 4-3 victory for the Capitals in Game 4 against the Rangers to earn a three-games-to-one lead in the series.
“No one expected us to come out with a tie after that second period,” Johansson said, “but we believed in ourselves and we went out and did what we were supposed to do and that’s how you win games.”
Washington had played one of its worst periods in recent memory in the second at Madison Square Garden Wednesday night, and in the process, spotted the Rangers a 3-0 lead before 34 minutes had elapsed in the contest.
Coach Bruce Boudreau admitted that after Marian Gaborik potted New York’s second goal, he should have made a line change. Washington’s then-top unit of Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Jason Chimera had been on the ice for Gaborik’s tally.
“I should have changed lines right away,” Boudreau acknowledged. “They came to center ice and they looked really down, and I said no I’m hoping they’re mad and I left them and then [the Rangers] scored [again]. I wanted to call a timeout and luckily the referee didn’t see it and the next shift there was a commercial, so we were allowed to gain our composure a little bit after that.”
By not allowing the Rangers to expand upon the lead after Brandon Dubinsky’s tally made it 3-0, the Capitals went into their dressing room in the second intermission seeking something that would change momentum. Even if it was just a little positive energy to build off of but when they came back out they found much more.
“We’ve turned [games] around before. We’ve just got to believe in ourselves and play our own game, which I think we started to do in the third period,” Johansson said. “That’s when we got goals and we got momentum in the game, and that’s how we’ve got to play for three periods.”
Also late in the second period, after Dubinsky’s tally, Boudreau had altered the lines from those that started the game. He put Chimera on the third unit with Eric Fehr, who made his playoff debut, and Johansson and created a unit with plenty of speed. As the game wore on from the third period into the two overtime frames, that unit appeared to be the one with the most jump.
Johansson scored Washington’s second and third goals, while Fehr was on the ice for both and those two players were both on for Chimera’s game winner in the 93rd minute of the contest.
“I thought they were our freshest line with Fehr there too. I thought they still had energy,” Boudreau said. “Eric came out after the first overtime, at the beginning of the second overtime, and I just heard him saying: ‘I feel great.’ You’re only hoping, but I thought that line was generating most of the chances off the rush and everything rather than the other three lines.”