Through the first two games of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, the New York Rangers only managed to register a single goal.
Returning home to Madison Square Garden for Game 3, the Rangers faced the potential of a daunting 3-0 series deficit to the Southeast Division champion Washington Capitals.
Yet, despite their struggles to score in previous contests, the Rangers produced four goals on way to a 4-3 victory.
"We gotta keep shooting pucks," Rangers forward Brian Boyle said postgame. "They're gonna try and block more and change some things up. We gotta be a bit tenacious. Don't be satisfied with the one win or four goals. We gotta keep going."
Boyle recorded the Rangers' first goal since the first period of Game 1, when he knotted Game 3 at one during the expiring moments of a power-play opportunity. While Boyle's goal didn't officially come on the man advantage, it certainly was aided by it. In the second period, the team scored their first power-play goal of the series when Derick Brassard put the Rangers up, 2-1.
As Boyle had stated, the team was willing to attempt more shots on goal, which Capitals defenseman Mike Green viewed as the only difference in the Rangers' game.
"They were shooting the puck more," Green said. "They were just throwing everything, even if they didn't have a quality shot, they were shooting it. That was the biggest difference."
Through the first two games of the series, New York had a total of seven power-play opportunities. In Game 3, the team had six, all of which came in the first 34 minutes of the game.
While the Capitals' penalty kill was able to negate five of the six, the exertion of energy took its toll.
"The [penalty kill] was great but it wears your guys down," Washington defenseman Steve Oleksy said. "You got some of your top players out there on the [penalty kill], as well. When you're killing that many penalties it's tough to battle back the rest of the game."
With the exception of the opening goal of the contest, the Capitals never managed to regain the lead from the Rangers.
However, the team did have a chance to tie the game in the closing minutes of the contest when Brad Richards took a slashing penalty.
Despite Washington's ability to win Game 2 with a power-play goal, the team failed to find the same kind of success in Game 3, even with a 6-on-4 advantage once goaltender Braden Holtby was pulled from his net.
"We probably could have tried to find a better way to get to the net just to start the process," said head coach Adam Oates. "Probably a little too cute with it."
Obviously, with the Washington net empty and the Rangers being able to ice the puck on the penalty kill, there was reasonable concern about being sloppy with possession.
"They're protecting [goaltender Henrik Lundqvist] so well that you don't wanna throw the puck away because they can shoot it down and get an empty netter," Oates continued. "[The Capitals' players are] trying to make a smart play. It's hard because those guys are such perfectionists they don't wanna just throw it at the net. You've got to coach them through that."
Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin felt the unit failed to find shooting lanes and moved the puck too slow on that final power-play opportunity.
However, with the exception of the amount of penalties his team took, Ovechkin was pleased with the Capitals' overall performance.
"[At even strength] we out-chanced them and dominated them," he said. "It's okay, we lose a game and forget about it. Tomorrow we refreshen. It's gonna be a big one for the next one."
From the Rangers' perspective, head coach John Tortorella isn't interested in overanalyzing his team's success in Game 3.
He was pleased with his team's ability to fire pucks on goal and hopes the same continues in future games.
"We're just gonna keep playing," Tortorella said. "I know everybody likes to talk about adjustments and this, that and the other thing. I think we got some play out of some guys that we haven't gotten a lot of play out of [...] we're just gonna keep going about our business."
The series will resume Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden. Washington leads the series, 2-1.