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Rangers end OT drought in dramatic style

by John Kreiser

Maybe what the New York Rangers needed to end their overtime drought was a game for the ages.

Marian Gaborik
Right Wing - NYR
GOALS: 2 | ASST: 5 | PTS: 7
SOG: 23 | +/-: -1
Overtime has never been the New York Rangers' forte -- they entered Wednesday night having won just 31 of 70 playoff games that had gone past regulation and had dropped seven in a row, including two in the first round this year. One more loss would have tied the NHL for consecutive OT losses.

Instead, the Rangers ended their drought with the second-longest victory in franchise history -- no mean feat for a team that began play in 1926. Marian Gaborik's goal at 14:41 of the third overtime gave the Rangers a 2-1 win at Washington in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Semifinal series.

It was the seventh game in franchise history to go past two overtimes, but the first since Pete Stemkowski's goal 1:29 into the third overtime gave New York a 3-2 win against Chicago in Game 6 of the 1971 Semifinals. The longest win in Rangers history came on March 26, 1932, when Bill Cook scored at 19:32 of the third overtime to beat Montreal 4-3.

Wednesday's win was the Rangers' first playoff overtime victory since they beat Buffalo 2-1 in Game 3 of the East semifinals in 2007. You have to go back to 1997 for their last overtime win on the road -- New York closed out New Jersey in the second round with a 2-1 win in Game 5 of the East semis.

The win also ended the Rangers' five-game losing streak to Washington in playoff overtime games. New York hadn't beaten the Caps in overtime in the postseason since winning 6-5 in Game 5 of the second round in 1986.

Don't go long -- The Capitals, on the other hand, would be well-advised to avoid really long games. Wednesday's game marked the fourth time in franchise history that the Caps went past two overtimes in a playoff game. All four games have been played at home -- and all four ended with losses. The Caps lost in four overtimes to the Islanders in 1987 and Pittsburgh in 1996, and dropped a 3OT game to Tampa Bay in 2003.

Ryan McDonagh
Defense - NYR
GOALS: 0 | ASST: 1 | PTS: 1
SOG: 21 | +/-: -3
Iron man -- The Rangers went with four defensemen for much of the game, but no one saw more ice time than Ryan McDonagh. The second-year defenseman topped all players with an amazing 53:21 of ice time -- about twice as much as in a normal game.

It was the most ice time for any player since Dallas' Sergei Zubov played 53:50 on May 4, 2008, in the Stars' 2-1 victory against San Jose in Game 6 of the first round. That game went 9:03 into the fourth overtime before Brenden Morrow got the winner.

McDonagh did a little of everything -- he took 11 shots at goal (four were on goal), was credited with three hits, had a takeaway, four giveaways and blocked a game-high eight shots.

A game to remember -- A look at some of the numbers that helped make the Rangers' victory a night they'll never forget:

* The teams combined to attempt 222 shots -- 115 by Washington, 107 by the Rangers. Only 95 (49 by the Rangers, 46 by the Caps) got to the net. Washington blocked 40 shots; the Rangers had 41 blocks. Washington hurt itself by missing the net 28 times, 10 more than the Rangers. Many of those attempts came on good scoring chances.

* Marian Gaborik, who scored the game-winner, also led all players with seven shots on goal; he had four others blocked and missed the net three times. The 14 attempts were the most by any Ranger. Matt Hendricks led Washington with six shots on goal; Alex Ovechkin was tops on the Caps with 14 attempts but got just five on goal. Five were blocked and four missed the target -- including one in the first overtime that hit the post.

Brian Boyle
Center - NYR
GOALS: 3 | ASST: 0 | PTS: 3
SOG: 22 | +/-: 0
* There were hits galore. Washington was credited with 59; the Rangers with 46. Hendricks led all players with 11; Ovechkin and the Rangers' Brian Boyle were next with nine.

* The teams combined for 94 faceoffs -- but the Rangers had only four players take them. Boyle (17-14) and Brad Richards (12-19) each took 31; Derek Stepan went 13-11 on 24 draws, while John Mitchell was 4-4. The Caps used seven players -- Hendricks (12-5, 71 percent) and Brooks Laich (16-11, 59 percent) were the most successful.

* No player had a better view than Rangers defenseman Stu Bickel, whose 3:24 of ice time was by far the least of anyone on either team. Mitchell was second on the Rangers with 13:54. Keith Aucoin's 17:21 was the least ice time of anyone on the Caps; Ovechkin, who played just 13:36 in Monday's 3-2 win, saw 35:14 of ice time -- seven seconds behind Marcus Johansson for the most among Washington's forwards. Defenseman Dennis Wideman led all Washington players with 41:40.
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