by Patrick Hoffman on 04/21/11 at 10:43 AM ET
That is what the New York Rangers did last night with their first round series against the Washington Capitals.
With a 3-0 lead heading into the third period, the Blueshirts allowed the Capitals to not only get back into the game and tie it a 3-3 in the third period, but then let it get away when the Capitals scored in the second overtime to defeat the Rangers 4-3.
This was a game that the Rangers had. They had scored two quick goals on the Capitals in the seciond period to make it 3-0 and were in control of the game heading into the final period.
Unfortunately, the team that skated in the first two periods failed to show up in the third period and the Capitals were able to walk all over the Blueshirts. Had it not been for the great goaltending of Henrik Lundqvist, the Capitals could have ended this game in regulation or even in the first overtime period.
In the NHL, you cannot let games like this slip away and that is what the Rangers did. After being 29-0 when heading into the third period with a lead, that record was shattered last night due to undisciplined play in the defensive zone.
Speaking of undisciplined play, Marian Gaborik was the main culprit on Jason Chimera’s overtime winner. Lundqvist was coming out to freeze the puck but before he could do so, Gaborik ended up chipping the puck over Lundqvist and Chimera had a gimme goal for the overtime winner.
Now, the Rangers are faced with the daunting task of having to win two games at the Verizon Center if they want to win this series. It is certainly not an impossible task but given the way the Rangers faltered last night, can the team make it happen?
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.