Jason Chimera’s goal 12:36 into the second overtime finished off the Capitals’ stirring and most unlikely comeback — and has put Washington on the verge of the elusive second round.
“We got beat by a goal that is a nothing goal,” Rangers coach John Tortorella said after the 4-3 loss. “It is just a nothing play that turns into something — obviously something big.”
But now the Capitals lead the series 3-1, when 2-2 appeared to be inevitable, and they can knock out the Rangers in Game 5 at home on Saturday.
“Losing an overtime game in the playoffs hurts all of the time, but our team will bounce back,” Tortorella said. “We can’t look at the hill, we have to win the next game. We have to find a way to win one hockey game and we will see what happens from there.”
LISTEN: John Tortorella after the Rangers’ collapse
“We just have to make sure we are prepared to play 60 minutes,” Brandon Dubinsky said. “Forty minutes, obviously, is not good enough. We just have to make sure we wrap our heads around it and be ready to work tomorrow and find a way to get it done. We have to do it.”
Washington won the opening two games of the series at home before losing 3-2 in Game 3 at New York on Sunday. An even series seemed to be a lock until the Rangers’ third-period meltdown.
Now the Capitals have the unexpected chance to close it out in Game 5. Top-seeded Washington was in this position last year — holding a 3-1 lead over eighth-seeded Montreal — but lost the final three games. Much of the Capitals’ poor postseason history has been a topic of discussion that Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau has tried to quell.
In five previous best-of-seven series in which they held a 2-0 lead, the Capitals have lost four.
“Right now, it is painful,” goalie Henrik Lundqvist said. “It’s going to be tough until tomorrow. Then you just have to move on.
“You can’t get stuck here. I don’t know how much I’m going to sleep tonight. I’m going to think about what happened, what I could have done differently.”
Will the Rangers bounce back? Make your Game 5 prediction below…
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