WASHINGTON -- The commitment was there from the Capitals from the drop of the puck on the opening faceoff Wednesday night to the moment when Marian Gaborik won Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in triple overtime early Thursday morning.
The Capitals paid the price, blocking 40 shots over the course of 114:41, the third-longest game in franchise history, but it was enough in a 2-1 loss that left the Caps in a 2-1 hole in their best-of-seven series with the Rangers.
That was the stark reality the Capitals had to face in the aftermath of the defeat.
"It's tough," said Matt Hendricks, who delivered a game-high 11 hits. "You invest a lot every night, no matter what, if it's a 60-minute game or an extended overtime. When you extend into overtime you are investing more and more and you are putting everything you've got into it. Unfortunately, we didn't win tonight, but we can't let that bother us. We just need to get prepared for the next one."
The performance of the 22-year-old Braden Holtby certainly wasn't the reason the Capitals lost. He made 47 saves and allowed the game-winning goal when his defenders lost track of several Rangers around the net.
The play started when the Rangers' Brad Richards fired a shot that missed the net and rolled up the wall. Defenseman Dan Girardi was there to gather the puck and send it back behind the net to Richards, who slid it in front to Gaborik for the quick shot that beat Holtby.
"He played very well," Caps coach Dale Hunter said. "He made some big saves. He played the puck very well and kept us in the game."
Less than a minute before Gaborik scored, Caps defenseman Dennis Wideman fired a shot that hit the post behind Lundqvist, who was bailed out by the iron after the shot changed direction.
Troy Brouwer had a chance to end it in the first overtime, but missed the net from point-blank range.
"It was that kind of game," Caps forward Alex Ovechkin said. "I think both teams fought very well. That kind of moment, you just have to use your chances. They had it and they scored. Unfortunately we had it during that 4-on-2, and we didn't use it."
The Capitals will have an extra day to rebound for playing Game 4 of this series Saturday. The team will receive a day off Thursday before returning to practice Friday. As tough as it is to rebound from a loss of this proportion, they'll have to do so in short order to avoid falling into a 3-1 hole.
"We'll park it," Caps forward Brooks Laich said. "We didn't get the result, but I think the physical – it took a lot of both teams. Their guys were tired as well. I liked our spot where we were getting in the deeper that it went. I liked our legs. I still thought we had guys that had some jump. We'll take a day off tomorrow, get some rest and we'll come back with a good practice Friday."
Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
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