Cullen: Rangers outlast Capitals; Rinne shuts out Coyotes

Scott Cullen
5/3/2012 1:20:29 AM
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The Rangers and Capitals go to triple overtime and the Predators got on the board with a new lineup.

Scott Cullen takes a look at Wednesday's NHL playoff action.

Marian Gaborik ended the longest overtime game of this year's playoffs, scoring at 14:41 of triple overtime to give the New York Rangers a 2-1 win over the Washington Capitals in Game Three of the series. The Rangers now lead the series two games to one.

Gaborik's goal came on his game-high seventh shot on goal; it was his first goal since the first game of the playoffs against Ottawa.

In a game that goes that long into sudden death overtime, the goaltenders have to play at a high level and they did, just as they have throughout the postseason. Brayden Holtby turned aside 47 of 49 Rangers shots and Henrik Lundqvist stopped 45 of 46 Capitals shots.

Rangers D Ryan McDonagh was a workhorse blocking eight shots while playing a game-high 53:17. At the other end of the spectrum, Rangers D Stu Bickel only played a total of 3:24 in nearly six periods of hockey.

Rangers captain Ryan Callahan had a productive game, scoring the Blueshirts' first goal and registering five shots on goal as well as five blocked shots while leading all forwards with 41:48 of ice time. Callahan ranked third among forwards with 88 blocked shots during the regular season. The leader in the category, Washington C Brooks Laich, had 91 during the regular season and three in Game Three.

Capitals C Matt Hendricks was a presence throughout the game, recording six shots on goal and 11 hits, including a five-alarm crushing blow on McDonagh, as well as winning 12 of 17 face-offs (70.6%).

Alexander Ovechkin played 35:14 for Washington, which ranked second among Capitals forwards (Marcus Johansson played 35:21) and even though he was held off the scoresheet, Ovechlkin made his presence felt with five shots on goal and nine hits.

Capitals blueliner John Carlson stuffed the stat sheet too, scoring Washington's only goal, blocking seven shots and recording seven hits.

This series has been competitive and figures to continue in such a manner, but the New York Rangers recaptured home ice advantage and now go to Game Four looking to stretch their lead on the Capitals.

After allowing nine goals in the first two games of the series, Nashville G Pekka Rinne delivered a 32-save shutout as the Nashville Predators won Game Three 2-0, cutting the Phoenix Coyotes series lead to 2-1.

Missing suspended wingers Alexander Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn, the Predators took advantage of a couple of quick goals in the first period and turned back the Coyotes the rest of the way.

David Legwand and Mike Fisher scored 1:06 apart in first period for the only scoring of the game. It was Fisher's first goal of the postseason.

Coyotes captain Shane Doan contributed five shots and five hits while Predators RW Jordin Tootoo, inserted into the lineup due to the Nashville suspensions, made his presence known, dishing out five hits in 10:11 of ice time.

Predators C Paul Gaustad came up big in the faceoff circle, winning 15 of 22 draws (68.2%).

Not that the win wasn't exciting for Nashville, because it was a must-win game if they are to have any hopes of winning the series, but perhaps the most fascinating part of the win is how it will affect the Predators' lineup for Game Four. Barring any injuries, it could be difficult for Barry Trotz to change his winning lineup and he suggested as much before Game Three, telling reporters, "Tonight if we get it done then I would expect we would go back to the same group."

However the lineup shakes out, the Nashville Predators have at least held up their defence at home and have a chance to even the series in Game Four.

Scott Cullen can be reached at and followed on Twitter at For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.

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