NHL Playoffs 2012: Rangers vs. Capitals Highlights and Analysis from Game 4

Nicholas GossCorrespondent IMay 5, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 05: Artem Anisimov #42 of the New York Rangers passes the puck after being knocked to the ice by Dennis Wideman #6 of the Washington Capitals in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Verizon Center on May 5, 2012 in Washington City. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Greg Fiume/Getty Images

The Washington Capitals tied their second-round series with the New York Rangers 2-2 with a hard-fought 3-2 victory in Game 4 at the Verizon Center on Saturday afternoon.

Mike Green's power-play goal in the third period was the difference for the Capitals, who will be full of confidence heading into Madison Square Garden for the pivotal Game 5 on Tuesday.

Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby was magnificent yet again between the pipes, making some strong saves in the third period and showing great composure throughout the game.

Washington's star players such as Alexander Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Green came through when they had to, and the result was another big win when their backs were against the wall in these playoffs.

The series is now a best of three, so let's recap Game 4 from Washington.

 

Best Tweets

Rangers rookie Chris Kreider had his worst game of the playoffs in the Rangers' Game 4 loss.

Kreider: honeymoon's over for Ranger rookie - team worst -2, only Ranger without a hit, 7:34 is lowest ice time since game 5 vs Ottawa

— THE STATS GUY (@TH2NSTATSGUY) May 5, 2012

I would have to agree with this tweet from The National Post's Bruce Arthur.

Henrik Lundqvist should be president of something important. I just think he'd do a good and handsome job.

— Bruce Arthur (@bruce_arthur) May 5, 2012

Puck Daddy's Greg Wyshynski gives us this interesting tweet.

Ovechkin, Backstrom and Green score in a critical Game 4. Please join us for another edition of Dale Hunter: Genius or Goofball ...

— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) May 5, 2012

The New York Post's Larry Brooks tweets about Ovechkin's dangerous charge on Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi.

Ovechkin: a) leaves feet to deliver blow; b) hits Girardi in head; c) is repeat offender. Your move, Dep't of Player Safety.

— Larry Brooks(@NYP_Brooksie) May 5, 2012

 

Must-See Highlights

Defenseman Mike Green scored the game-winning goal for the Capitals on a power play.

Alexander Ovechkin opened the scoring with a booming slap shot past Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist.

Artem Anisimov showed great patience in front of the net to beat Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby and even the score.

 

Grades for Key Rangers Players

Artem Anisimov: B+

Rangers forward Artem Anisimov scored the first goal for his team, then added an assist on Marian Gaborik's goal in the second period.

The Rangers needed someone to battle in front of the net and give the team energy in the attacking zone, and Anisimov did that for New York in Game 4.

 

Henrik Lundqvist: B

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 05: Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers makes a save against the Washington Capitals in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Verizon Center on May 5, 2012 in Washingto
Greg Fiume/Getty Images

The Rangers' star goaltender was very good throughout the game and made some amazing saves to keep the score 2-2 for much of the third period.

Lundqvist made 23 saves and showed great composure between the pipes against a Capitals team that made him work hard on Saturday afternoon.

In the end, he wasn't able to stop a booming shot from Mike Green on the power play, which gave the Capitals a 3-2 lead they would never relinquish.

 

Grades for Key Capitals Players

Nicklas Backstrom: A-

Nicklas Backstrom has played very well in the playoffs for the Capitals after missing a lot of the season recovering from a concussion.

The star center had a sweet goal in the second period to give Washington a brief 2-1 lead, and was a factor offensively throughout the entire game.

He finished with three shots on goal and totaled 17:47 of ice time.

 

Mike Green: B+

The Capitals defenseman scored the game winning goal on the power play with just over five minutes to play in the third period.

Green shot an absolute laser past Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist for a 3-2 lead which the Capitals held onto for the victory.

 

Deciding Factor: Special Teams

When you're playing in a game that is very close throughout, capitalizing on the power play can be the difference.

The Rangers were 0-2 on the power play, while the Capitals were 1-2 with the man advantage—thanks to Mike Green's game winner in the third period.

 

Game MVP: Braden Holtby

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 02:  Braden Holtby #70 of the Washington Capitals reacts after a play against the New York Rangers in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Verizon Center on May 2, 2012 in Was
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Facing the possibility of heading to New York down 3-1 in the series and facing elimination, the Capitals needed rookie goalie Braden Holtby to come up big, and he responded with a tremendous performance.

He made 18 saves and gave Washington a chance to win, which is all you can ask of a rookie goaltender in the playoffs.

 

What's Next?

The series is tied 2-2, and the pivotal Game 5 will be played on Monday at 7:30 p.m. ET in New York at Madison Square Garden.

You can watch Game 5 on the NBC Sports Network.

 

Nicholas Goss is an NHL Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and was also the organization's on-site reporter for the 2011 Stanley Cup Final in Boston.