When a Stanley Cup Playoff game goes to triple overtime, there are inevitably missed opportunities that will haunt its participants. Before Marian Gaborik's game-winning goal at 16:12 of the third OT gave the New York Rangers the Game 3 victory against the Washington Capitals, both teams had substantial chances to end it earlier in the extra sessions.
One such chance was prevented by Brian Boyle's backside:
This was in the second overtime, as Mike Rupp had only his teammate in between the puck on his stick and a gaping net, with Capitals goalie Braden Holtby flat on the ice. Instead, the puck deflected off of Boyle and out of harm's way.
"It hit, like, the inside of my thigh," said Boyle after the 2-1 victory on Wednesday night. "I [told him] 'sorry.'"
Rupp appreciated the apology … even if Boyle likely took away a game-winning goal from him.
"I don't know if that really heals it," said Rupp. "But winning does."
The Capitals, meanwhile, squandered two Rangers gifts in overtime.
Just under five minutes into the first overtime, Matt Hendricks absolutely crushed Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh with a hit on the forecheck. The puck sprang free, Hendricks tracked it down and fed Troy Brouwer in front for what looked like a sure thing.
Only it wasn't:
"Uh … frustration, frustration for me," said Brouwer.
"I was in tight, I was trying to get it up [on Lundqvist] and it just rolled over my stick. I gotta at least get it on net to give it a chance to go in. But we created a lot after that. Ovi had a good chance. Hit the post."
Boy did he:
Anton Stralman's turnover led to an Ovechkin chance at point-blank range. He beat Henrik Lundqvist … only to have it clang off the iron. The horn sounded, the sirens blared, but it wasn't a goal.
"We could see it hit the post," said Capitals Coach Dale Hunter. "But both sides had close chances. That's what happens when you have two teams battling."
Said Boyle: "I looked over at the ref. It happened so fast, but he waved it off."
There were other chances: Clutch saves by Lundqvist (45 saves) and Holtby (47 saves); two overtime power plays for the Rangers that they couldn't convert; and several other posts, including one that Marian Gaborik hit with 8:30 left in the third overtime.
Just over three minutes later, Gaborik hit the back of the net to end it.
"I tried to shoot quick high glove and it hit the post," said Gaborik of his earlier chance. "So I was about time to go in."