Good evening, all. Remember the fantastic press box seat I bragged about Sunday? The one where I could “SEE and HEAR” everything transpiring on the ice? Well, I've been evicted. Only two Posties get a seat in the lower box each night, and tonight it's Katie and Boz.
So, unfortunately, I've been kicked to the upper press box. I'm kind of bummed about the situation. But, hey, I'm still in the building for Game 4. So it's not all bad.
Neither coach spoke pre-game. So there's no update on Mike Knuble. (Though from the sounds of it, the big winger isn't going to play.)
I'll have a full lineup closer to game time, so check back. Updates will follow after the jump in reverse-chronological order.
--Update, 12:36 of second overtime: Caps win, 4-3, getting their fourth straight goal off the stick of Chimera after a mixup by Rangers.
Looked to me like Lundqvist went to cover a dribbling shot. But Gaborik poked it out of his goalie's reach -- and right to Chimera, who had an easy tap in for the winner.
What a comeback. Caps squarely back in control of the series. Rangers have to be completely gutted right now.
--Update, 7:34 of second overtime: Good kill by Caps? Another awful Rangers' power play? A little of both. Rangers now 0 for 7 on night.
--Update, 5:21 of second overtime: Caps finally get busted for too many men. They've been awful on line changes all night.
--Update, end of first overtime: Since surrendering three goals in that disastrous second period, the Caps have out-shot the Rangers, 26-16, including 13-9 in the first OT.
That's pretty indicative of how much they've carried the play. What it doesn't illustrate, however, is that the Rangers seem to be getting more quality scoring chances.
That's got to change in 2OT. Can't count on Neuvirth to continue to bail them out.
--Update, 14:44 of overtime: Stepan off for delay of game/puck over glass. The refs have been leting the boys play, but that's not a subjective call. It's automatic.
--Update 14:00 of overtime: After a not-so-great opening 40 minutes, Semin has been the best Caps skater on the ice the past 30 minutes. He currently leads the team with six shots on net.
--Update, 11:02 of overtime: Ovechkin had the game on his stick. Clean breakaway. But Lundqvist was up to the task, turning away Ovi's attempt with glove save.
--Update, 6:00 of overtime: I like the way the Caps have come out on OT. Definitely have regained their swagger after that three-goal third period.
Rangers, conversely, still look to be a bit tentative (that near 2 on 0 notwithstanding).
--Update, end of regulation: After one of the worst periods of playoff hockey I've seen the Caps play, Johansson and Co. bounced back with one of their strongest, scoring three goals on 13 shots.
Neuvirth has also rediscovered his form. He made an enormous save on Gaborik from point blank range on a penalty kill.
You know who I want to see more from? Ovechkin. He's working hard, but it's time for him to produce. He's attempted 11 shots, but only three have found the net.
I would write more, but I've got to change locations. Both my laptop and Blackberry batteries are toast.
Settle in. This could be a long one.
--Update, 12:48 third period: Gordon gets another tripping penalty. Also, Johansson just credited with game-tying goal.
--Update, 12:07 third period: Oh my. Caps come all the way back on slap shot from Carlson as time expired on power play. Looked like it might have changed directions. Johansson and Staal were in front. Might have hit one of them.
--Update, 10:03 third period: Avery off for slashing Ovechkin as Caps' captain went for shot. If they're going to pull even, now would be the time to do it with Rangers on heels.
--Update, 9:30 third period: Boudreau starting to juggle lines in attempt to keep pressure on. Top unit now Laich-Backstrom-Ovechkin. Yes, Ovi on right wing.
--Update, 7:26 third period: Caps out-shooting Rangers 8-4 to start third period. Ice starting to tilt toward visitors. Rangers look shell-shocked. Even Lundqvist looking a little unsettled in net.
--Update, 3:44 third period: Rangers fall asleep and Caps pounce. One shift after Semin's goal, Johansson cuts the deficit to 3-2 after tapping in nice cross zone pass from Laich.
This one, suddenly, looking far from done.
--Update, 2:47 third period: Caps get one back. Semin picked off a lazy pass in Rangers' zone, fires shot that barely squeezes past Lundqvist. The Rangers' goalie keeps first shot from completely crossing the goal line, but Semin followed up his own shot and poked it in.
--Update, end of second period: Whatever Boudreau meant by his brutally honest answer to a question about MSG -- still not sure he did it intentionally to deflect attention away from team and onto him -- but it has backfired big time.
The Rangers are feeding off the energy in this building tonight. The Caps, on the hand, started to look pretty discouraged in the final minutes as the cheers of "Can you hear us?" grew louder and louder.
The momentum in this series officially swung toward the Rangers that period. Some of it was the atmosphere.
A lot of it, though, was Lundqvist, who has stopped all 22 shots he's faced. He continues to be outstanding. The Caps, as Boudreau would say, need to do something out of character in the third. Like crash the net. And mean it.
--Update, 19:16 second period: Semin to the box for boarding Prust. After the Rangers went up, I noticed an extra spring in Semin's step. He let his emotion get the best of him, though.
--Update, 16:33 second period: Fans here chanting “Can you hear us?” which, of course, is also directed at Boudreau.
Might have been the loudest chant I've ever heard in a sports arena. And I've heard a lot.
--Update, 13:47 second period: I honestly cannot believe what just happened. I missed Gaborik's goal because all the fans in front of me jumped to their feet as the play was unfolding. Then, as I went to the 7 inch monitor to watch a replay, Dubinsky scored.
I wasn't in the building for the 7-0 skunking in December. But this must have been what it felt like.
--Update, 8:26 second period: Lundqvist has come to play. Biggest saves of the game on consecutive shots by Chimera and Backstrom on rush. Chants on "Hen-ry" rain down.
The Caps have got to do a better job of getting to him. I've seen little evidence of that tonight. Not having Knuble hurts in that dept.
--Update, 5:24 second period: After winning Game 3 on a lucky bounce, Rangers get another one. Anisimov flips puck from behind goal off of Hendricks/Neuvirth and into net.
Fans chanting, "Neu-virth." I'm not sure you can claim with a straight face that Verizon Center is louder than MSG.
Also, a fan behind me has been screaming all game: "You Washington Post guys, write this down: "that was ticky tacky." Then he spells out the words one letter at a time. Another shot at Boudreau.
--Update, 2:56 second period: Green whistled for tripping Stepan on a breakaway. Fans wanted a penalty shot. Caps' fourth minor. They are really lucky the Rangers' power play is mostly inept.
--Update, end of first period: I'm going to go out on a limb and say a scoreless opening 20 minutes wasn't the start the Caps wanted. They took a 10-6 edge in shots into the intermission, but they looked tight to me. As in tentative, afraid to make a mistake.
Neuvirth, though, looks as if he's ready to put on a big performance. Unfortunately for the Caps, so does Lundqvist.
As for the refs, they aren't letting much go tonight. I'm thinking this is going to be a low-scoring game, perhaps decided by special teams.
The Rangers are leading in hits (17-12), blocked shots (6-4) and have won 57 percent of the draws.
--Update, 19:58 first period: On the power play, Ovechkin was forced to trip Prust as he put the puck around him at the point. Prust would have been off to the races, but Ovechkin whipped his stick and around, tripping him.
--Update, 18:55 first period: Boyle crashes into Neuvirth on rush. Draws second goalie interference of period. Not so good.
--Update, 16:21 first period: Sturm just got checked into Lundqvist, knocking him over. Now he’s heading to the box for goalie interference.
--Update, 11:50 first period: Brooks Laich took a Bryan McCabe shot off the ankle on that penalty kill. He limped to the bench, but just took a spin on the ice during TV timeout. Looks to be fine.
--Update, 9:46 first period: Caps notch two shots and almost no zone time on their power play.
Now they're going on the penalty kill. Gordon off for tripping Gilroy.
--Update, 7:07 first period: Caps get first power play of game. Neuvirth makes huge kick save on Avery, then gets run over by Boyle. Neuvirth stayed down for a moment, but appears to be fine coming out of the TV timeout. Boyle whistled for goalie interference.
--Update, 2:30 first period: The Garden crowd, as expected, is bringing the high heat tonight. And it's aimed right at Boudreau's chin. Just started chanting “Bou-dreau, Bou-dreau.”
--Update, 2 minutes until opening faceoff: Fans chant “Boud-reau Sucks.”
--Update, 7 minutes until faceoff: The Caps' starting lineup is Sturm-Arnott-Semin and Schultz-Green. Neuvirth in goal.
The Rangers are going with Avery-Boyle-Prust and McDonagh-Sauer. Lundqvist in goal.
--Update, 17 minutes until game time: Katie reports that there's a fan behind the Caps bench holding a sign that reads, “Puck You Boudreau.” Harsh. But expected.
Also, just ran into some brave front office employees sitting amongst the Rangers fans -- in Caps gear.
--Update, warmups: Okay, so the view from up here isn't as bad as I originally suspected. In fact, it's lower than the press box at Verizon Center. The only downside, as far as I can tell, is that the replay monitor is about seven inches wide.
Anyway, enough complaining from me. It's almost game time.
Here's the lineup based on warmups:
And away we go.