Just minutes before he won the game and broke a goalless streak dating back to Game 1 of their first round series against the Ottawa Senators, Gaborik had a golden opportunity and beat Holtby, but hit the post.
The Capitals followed that up with their own clinger off the post, the second time they rang the bell in the lengthy overtime standoff. Washington also missed what looked to be a sure game-winner when a shot went wide with a net left open earlier in the OT periods. Another blown opportunity to end the game came when Brian Boyle of the Rangers inadvertently blocked a shot from teammate Mike Rupp which would have otherwise sailed straight into the net.
Clearly, each team had their chances before the game was decided some four and a half hours after it began.
The Capitals largely dominated the first two overtime sessions, controlling the puck for a much greater amount of time while creating more scoring opportunities. However, the tide turned in the third OT, as the Rangers began generating more scoring chances.
Beyond the goaltenders, each of which saved the game for their clubs countless times in what was essentially a nonstop hockey doubleheader, this was a bloody, hard fought battle.
Dan Girardi and Brian Boyle of the Rangers, along with Mike Knuble of the Capitals, were amongst the victims of the game, each of whom were sporting their own freshly minted facial wounds, stitches and would-be scars.
Another standout for the Broadway Blueshirts was captain Ryan Callahan, who opened up the scoring way back in the beginning of the second period on a power play goal, his third of the playoffs. Throughout the three overtimes, he was throwing his full body into checks, blocking shots at every chance, at providing a spark for the team on seemingly every shift with sheer hustle, grit and determination.
Defenseman Ryan McDonagh also had a noteworthy performance, logging 53 minutes of ice time. No Capitals player had more than 41 minutes TOI, and the next closest Rangers player was Marc Staal, with 49 minutes played.
McDonagh's efforts were all the more impressive considering he kept on performing after being brutally, but cleanly, steamrolled by Matt Hendricks in the first overtime.
For New York, it was their first triple overtime game since 1971, against the Chicago Blackhawks. According to NBC Sports, they have one 4-OT game in their history, and at least four other 3-OT games. It was also one of the longest games in Capitals history.
While I'm an unabashed supporter of the Blueshirts, credit goes out to both squads for their efforts in this wild, heart-stopping, six period playoff hockey extravaganza. Game 3 in the Rangers vs. Capitals series is one for the record books, and one that fans of both teams won't be forgetting anytime soon.
Sources: NBC Sports TV Coverage, Rangers.NHL.com
More on the Broadway Blueshirts from this contributor:
Sources: BlueshirtsUnited.com, Rangers.NHL.com, NHL.com