The magic of the playoffs is that the most maligned player on the ice can be the hero. Everyone has been in one of these moments -even Wayne Gretzky in 1993 with the Kings. Last night, it was Marian Gaborik’s turn.
In Triple Overtime, Gaborik scored on a quick feed in front by Brad Richards to win Game 3 between the Rangers and the Capitals. After a Dan Girardi pinch, Richards found the Rangers leading goal scorer for his first goal of the series. On the previous shift, Carl Hagelin found Gaborik in the slot, but Gaborik’s redirection hit the goal post. Gaborik had only one goal in the nine playoff games this post-season and his shot total was alarmingly low 3 shots in the series. In Game 3, Gaborik recorded seven shots, which was to most for either side.
Both goaltenders were sharp last night. Capitals rookie Braden Holtby made 47 saves, but needed one more to defeat his counter-part on the Rangers Henrik Lundqvist’s 45 saves. However each goaltender had their moment of weakness in second period. Ryan Callahan converted a Michael Del Zotto rebound on the Power Play, but five minutes later, John Carlson beat Lundqvist on the stick side after a crossing play with Alexander Semin. It was Semin’s first point in the series.
Apparently the goalies were so upset that they posted shutouts… in a manner of speaking. A scoreless third and two overtimes went by until Gaborik’s winner in the third overtime. The goaltenders have been sensational and notice is served, goals will come at a premium.
Gaborik’s OT winner was the first since Michal Rozsival’s double-OT winner against the Buffalo Sabres in 2008. The Rangers had lost 7 consecutive Overtime games (including Game 1 and Game 4 last year to the Capitals). Will this breakout the Rangers star or will he still struggle? We’ll find out in Game 4 as the Blueshirts will try to get a strangehold on the series, but these feisty Caps won’t go down easily. Just ask the Bruins.