WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 05: Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals celebrates after scoring in the first period against the New York Rangers in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Verizon Center on May 5, 2012 in Washington City. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
The New York Rangers dropped game four to the Washington Capitals by a score of 3-2, and the series is all tied up at two. There definitely was some suspect officiating in the final seven minutes of the game, which would up biting the Rangers in the rear end.
About 12 minutes into the game, Alex Ovechkin came away with the games first goal. Chris Kreider made a terrible mistake, and passed the puck right up the middle of the ice, which landed right on the stick of Ovechkin. Ovechkin wasted no time, and ripped a slap shot that tipped off the glove of Lundqvist, and into the top right corner. It's definitely a goal that Lundqvist would like to have back, but what can you do, 1-0 Caps.
The Rangers had a terrible first period, and needed some sort of spark heading into the second period. They did just that, as Artem Anisimov would tie the game, just 1:10 into the second period. Brooks Laich mishandled the puck after his blocked shot, and Anisimov made a nifty move and slipped it past Braden Holtby.
Follow after the jump for more.
The lead would only last until the 11:54 mark as Nicklas Backstrom ripped home a wrist shot from the slot, to give the Capitals a 2-1 lead. After the ensuing faceoff, Alex Ovechkin delivered a very dangerous hit to Dan Girardi. On the replay, it clearly showed that Ovechkin left his feet, and leaped into the head of Dan Girardi, which is a big no no. In my honest opinion, that's the exact type of hit the NHL is trying to reduce, and Ovechkin should easily be suspended for it.
Realistically though, the way the NHL has been handling it's supplemental discipline lately, it wouldn't surprise me one bit, if he wasn't. Anyways, the Rangers were able to find a way to respond once again, as Marian Gaborik put up his second goal, in two games, including the fantastic triple overtime winning goal on Wednesday night.
Major props to Artem Anisimov who single handily set up this goal on his own. Anisimov flew past two Capitals defenders, and swooped in to pick up the loose puck. He made a nifty move to his backhand, and slid it out to Gaborik, who was wide open in the slot. Gaborik slammed it through the legs of Holtby, and it look awfully similar to the overtime winning goal the other night.
The Rangers answered with a huge second period, and were able to come away tied heading into the second intermission. The third period is where the officiating started to slide downhill. About 13 minutes into the period, Carl Hagelin was whistled down for slashing, just minutes after the Capitals got away with a slash on Brian Boyle.
Also, Hagelin wasn't whistled down for the penalty, until it was clear that Gaborik has a scoring chance, and had bolted down the ice. The consistency throughout these playoffs has been horrid, and unacceptable for playoff type hockey. If one team is going to get away with calls, it needs to be consistent all throughout the game.
To make matters worse, on the ensuing play, Ryan Callahan was taken out as he was carrying the puck out of the zone. As a result, Mike Green was able to find the space and rip it past Lundqvist for the 3-2 lead. It's happened twice this series where goals have resulted from missed calls. Ovechkin came away with the winning goal in game two, as a result of Backstrom interfering with him off the faceoff. And it happened against tonight with Callahan being tripped up off the faceoff.
While it's a very frustrating way to lose a game, there's absolutely nothing we can do about. The series is tied up at 2-2, and the Rangers have regained home ice from the Capitals. On to game five.