The critical Game 4 of this series is tonight at MSG. I spoke with Semin and Varlamov after Game 3 about getting the Capitals back into this series, and what to expect from the Rangers tonight.
First, Alexander Semin on how Washington was able to solve the Rangers:
Q. Congratulations on your victory. The Capitals didn't look themselves [in Game 3].
SEMIN: Why didn't we look ourselves?
Because during the last month or so the team didn't play as well as expected and there was some kind of lack of chemistry.
It wasn't that bad. Even in the previous game we only conceded one goal. We played really well in Game 2, we just didn't have some luck at times.
You and Backstrom are playing really well together. It was noticeable during the final games of the regular season, when you were playing together. Is he the most effective center for you?
I don't know, but I really like playing with him. He plays really well, passes well. It's just a pleasure playing with him.
What was your motivation like for Game 3? As if it was the last battle?
We actually had no other choice but to win. We came out and played as a team. If we had lost that game, it would have been really difficult to pull back. But we just started playing our game, the game that we can play so well, the game we were showing during the regular season. And it turned out great for us.
Were you upset a bit that you didn't score a hat-trick?
I didn't even think about it. Winning the game was the most important thing. We won, and that's what matters. Although I did have my chances to score [the third], but it just didn't happen.
Varlamov played really well.
Oh, gosh, yes, he is really great.
He only gave up one goal in the last game. Do you feel confident playing in front of a goalie like him?
Any team that has a good goalie playing for them, a goalie that you can rely on... I am saying it in general, and not just about Varlamov... Of course you can feel the support.
And you as a team didn't leave him hanging. You back-checked really well.
As I have mentioned, we just played our game. And everything was happening for us. We were doing everything we know really well as a team.
Do you think this was the turning point of the series?
Let's not guess anything. We just have to come out and play the way we played tonight. And then I think everything will be alright.
By no means, I don't want to say that the Rangers are a weak opponent. But it looked like the Capitals were battling themselves in the first two games. You can beat the Rangers. But couldn't do so in Games 1 and 2 because something wasn't working inside the team, and not because the Rangers outplayed you.
Maybe this was the case. I cannot really pinpoint what the problem was. We lost the first two games, and everyone just stopped to think. We came out tonight and played for each other, as a team. And nothing else matters.
Anger management is not working so well for Sean Avery. Or so it seems, after he sucker-punched Simeon Varlamov during Monday's game between the New York Rangers and the Washington Capitals at MSG in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.