The NHL playoff schedule 2011 was crowded to the brim last night. With five games on the docket, it served as the busiest night of the entire postseason. One playoff series ended in favor of the Red Wings, the Penguins got on the brink of eliminating the Lightning, and the Ducks and Sabres evened their battles. But the biggest game of all was in New York, as the Capitals pulled off the second straight major comeback in the playoffs.
On Tuesday night, the Sharks rallied from a 4-0 deficit to stun the Kings in overtime, and potentially break their backs for the rest of the series. But that win only left San Jose up by 2-1, which is where Washington already was in its showdown with New York.
After losing to the Rangers in Game 3, however, the Capitals needed to bounce back in Game 4 to eliminate all doubt in the series. However, New York steamrolled ahead to a 3-0 lead after two periods, and appeared destined to seize all the momentum away. A loss like that, and an even series, would have made Capitals fans panic and fear for another grave playoff collapse.
Yet the tide turned on a very close goal from Alexander Semin early in the third. Under a minute later, Marcus Johansson put the Capitals within one, and then tied it up with just under eight minutes left. All of a sudden, the teams went into overtime – and then needed to hold another one.
But in the second overtime, Jason Chimera poked the winning goal into the net to wrap up Washington’s 4-3 comeback. The Capitals are now up by 3-1, although last year proved that such a lead isn’t safe for them in round one. But after a comeback like this, there may be more confidence that they can survive this time.
If the Rangers want to do what the Canadians did to Washington last year, they have a lot to overcome. However, past postseason disappointments didn’t hang over the Capitals in this case – just like they didn’t hang over the Sharks when they rallied in Los Angeles.
Both Washington and San Jose have been waiting for years to take the Stanley Cup, and have to prove right away that they won’t crumble again. In successive nights, they have made rallies that the Caps and Sharks of past years couldn’t put together – so is it a sign that other things will be different for them in this postseason?
Even if the Capitals finish things off, the rest of the playoffs will truly test their demons. Yet they can take out one of them by finishing the Rangers Saturday afternoon. Meanwhile, the Sharks will try to keep the Kings reeling tonight.
NHL.com- “2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs Quarterfinals Schedule”
Yahoo Sports- “Caps’ big comeback puts Rangers in 3-1 series hole”
CBS News- “Sharks rally to beat Kings 6-5 in OT”