Green: 'We have a lot of work to do'

Green: 'We have a lot of work to do'
May 7, 2013, 12:00 am
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Holtby: 'It was just one of those games'

NEW YORK – There was plenty of frustration in the visiting locker room after the Capitals suffered a 4-3 loss to the New York Rangers Monday night at Madison Square Garden.

But not a shred of panic.

“It’s unfortunate,” Mike Green said after seeing the Capitals’ two games to none lead on the Rangers reduced to 2-1. “We wanted to be up three, but we have a lot of work to do and we knew we would.”

Monday night’s loss marked the seventh time in Capitals playoff history that they lost a Game 3 after winning the first two games. But Capitals defenseman Steve Oleksy said anyone thinking the Caps would sweep the Rangers were overly optimistic.

 “We know what we’re capable of in this locker room,” he said. “I think we’ve got to stick to that. Obviously, we’ve got to refocus and brush this one off. I mean, you’re not going to sweep every team through the playoffs.”

After the two teams combined for just five goals in the first two games, the floodgates opened in Game 3, with the Rangers grabbing three one-goal leads, only to see the Caps answer back with goals from Green and Jay Beagle.

But it was early penalties that did in the Caps as penalties to Joel Ward [high sticking] and Braden Holtby [tripping] directly led to goals by Brian Boyle and Derick Brassard.

“I’m guilty as well,” Holtby said, referring to his tripping penalty on Rick Nash as he skated by his crease. “I don’t think it was terrible on our part, like we were taking lazy penalties, but we took too many.”

The penalties kept Alex Ovechkin on the bench and threw the Caps off their rhythm, but it was Derek Stepan’s game-winner with 6:25 remaining in regulation that pulled the Rangers back into the series.

Twice Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh barely kept the puck in at the blue line, allowing Nash to find Stepan crashing the net for a tap-in.

“It doesn’t go in the back of the net without a pass like that from Rick Nash and a play by Mac {McDonagh] at the blue line,” Stepan said. “I’ll take it, but you have to give credit to some of the other guys.”

Despite Stepan’s go-ahead goal the Caps had a chance to tie it when Alex Ovechkin drew a slashing penalty on Brad Richards with 1:54 remaining. After the Caps won an offensive draw, Holtby left his net for the extra attacker but the 6-on-4 seemed to only crowd the ice and clog any shooting lanes to the net.

“They were very committed at the end there,” Green said. “It wasn’t going to be a cute goal. It was going to be a throw it at the net and bang it in. We were on the perimeter and we didn’t get a chance.

“We were trying to find a hole and couldn’t find it. We should have tried to just bang it in instead of trying for a pretty goal”

Neither team played the sound positional games they had in Games 1 and 2 in Washington but neither coach was overemphasizing the importance of Monday night’s outcome.

“These guys have been through this before,” Caps coach Adam Oates said. “It’s playoffs. You are not going to win every game. Obviously, there are a lot of things we could fix. You have to give [the Rangers] a little bit of credit. Their barn, they got a game back.”

Instead of loading up the team and practicing at PrudentialCenter in Newark, N.J. on Tuesday, Oates will give his players the day off. MadisonSquareGarden in unavailable for practice because of the Knicks’ NBA playoff game Tuesday night.

As for the Rangers, coach John Tortorella said he saw better play from some of his secondary players like Brassard, Arron Asham and Boyle, each of whom scored a goal.

“As I’ve told you all along here, it’ a good group of guys,” Tortorella said. “It’s just trying to get momentum on your side and finding a way to win the hockey game and we got it done tonight.”