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Triple overtime had Rangers, Caps going bananas

by Dave Lozo

WASHINGTON -- Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semifinal series between the Rangers and Capitals wasn't just bananas -- it required them to help keep the players from collapsing.

"I think I had like five bananas and a lot of Gatorade," said Rangers defenseman Marc Staal, who played 49:34 in the Rangers' 2-1 triple-overtime victory at Verizon Center that gave them a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. "I had salts and things like that just to make sure your muscles don't cramp up."

"We're eating, we're hydrating," Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner said. "You have fruit, you have white rice with soy sauce. You got a little bit of everything. It's just do whatever you need to do. A lot of guys were taping sticks, changing gear. Everything's really getting wet and heavy and you want to get a cool-down somehow."


Gaborik, McDonagh shine in marathon win

By Dave Lozo - Staff Writer
Marian Gaborik and Ryan McDonagh stood tall in the New York Rangers' triple-overtime win in Game 3 against the Washington Capitals on Wednesday. READ MORE ›

The puck was dropped at 7:40 p.m. on Wednesday and Marian Gaborik scored with 5:19 left in the third overtime at 12:14 a.m. on Thursday morning in what was the NHL's longest game since May 4, 2008, when Dallas defeated San Jose 2-1 at 9:03 of the fourth OT in Game 6 of their conference semifinal series.

Following the game, the blood-stained uniforms of the Rangers' Dan Girardi and Brian Boyle were nowhere to be seen, but sweat was still dripping from some players' skates. Girardi took an inadvertent stick to the face from teammate Henrik Lundqvist, while Boyle had a one-time try by Alex Semin hit his shoulder and face.

Girardi and Boyle needed a combined 13 stitches, all of which were sewn in short order by the Rangers' medical staff, while Capitals forward Mike Knuble needed some patchwork on the fly for the gash on his forehead. Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh wasn't sliced open during the course of play, but a massive hit from Capitals forward Matt Hendricks left him staggered for a moment.

There were no tears evident, but there was enough blood and sweat left on the ice for a dozen games.

"It just takes a lot out of you physically," Boyle said. "Mentally, it's overtime in the playoffs. You dream about that as a kid. You find a way to find some energy."

"You look around the ice and probably half the players on the ice have blood on their jersey by the end of it," Caps center Brooks Laich said. "Some of our guys did, some of their guys did. They're blocking (shots). I thought the shot (center Nicklas Backstrom) had that Girardi blocked, from the bench it looked like it was going in. Jeff Schultz blocks a big one for us on a 3-on-2 rush a couple minutes later. It's a grinding game. That's the way it's going to go. We weren't able to get the goal tonight, but it's not going to deter us."

There's no shortage of jaw-dropping numbers and facts in a game that lasts 114:41, but here's a few of them:

*McDonagh played a game-high 53:13, the most since defensemen Brian Campbell (56:23) and Sergei Zubov (53:50) played in the quadruple overtime game between San Jose and Dallas in 2008. McDonagh also led both teams with eight blocked shots.

*The Rangers had five players play at least 40 minutes -- McDonagh (53:13), Staal (49:34), Michael Del Zotto (43:33), Girardi (44:26) and Ryan Callahan (41:48). The Capitals had just one reach that plateau, defenseman Dennis Wideman (40:42).

*Rangers defenseman Stu Bickel played the fewest minutes of anyone with 3:24 of ice time. His final shift came at about the four-minute mark of the second period.

*Capitals forward Matt Hendricks delivered a game-high 11 hits, with Boyle's nine hits the second-most in the game.

*There were three goalposts hit, the final two coming in the third overtime. Gaborik hit the right post at the 8:31 mark while Wideman rang a shot off the left post less than a minute before Gaborik scored the winner. Alex Ovechkin hit the other post with about five minutes left in the first overtime.

*There were 94 faceoffs; the Capitals won 48 of them.

*Both teams were equally committed to blocking shots, with the Capitals holding the 41-40 edge in the category.

*It should be noted that if one team is credited with a giveaway, the other team isn't necessarily granted a takeaway. But the Capitals finished with 27 giveaways to the Rangers' 10.

*Game 3 of the Western Conference Semifinal series between the Predators and Coyotes started 1 hour and 29 minutes after Rangers-Caps and ended 34 minutes earlier.

The victory also snapped a seven-game postseason overtime losing streak for Lundqvist, who is now 2-7 lifetime in that situation.

"It's a feeling where usually I scream because I'm so excited," Lundqvist said. "I was just too tired. I kept saying, 'Oh my God, it's over.' I mean, oh my God. It felt like it was never going to end. It's a special feeling, being a goalie and playing in overtime. All it takes is a bad decision, a mistake, and it's over. At the same time, you feel like every save makes a difference. It's a pretty cool feeling to be out there."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo

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