Caps' win a turning point?

MIKE ZEISBERGER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:26 PM ET

PHILADELPHIA -- Antiquated Madison Square Garden wasn't the only thing crumbling around Bruce Boudreau after two periods on Wednesday night.

So was his team.

Sitting in the upper north side press box surrounded by the leather-lunged throng, listening to them mock Boudreau with ear-splitting chants of "Can You Hear Us," you couldn't help but think those same ol' Caps had reared their ugly heads again.

Here they were. Just like the San Jose Sharks of old. So much talent, so little playoff success.

They were trailing 3-0. Their coach had verbally ripped the building and the fans who occupied it, and now his team was paying the price. This was, remember, the same team that, in the Boudreau-Alex Ovechkin era, had gone just 1-3 in playoff series, each one going the entire seven-game limit.

But this time, it was different.

This time, in the "cramped" confines, as Boudreau had called it, of the visitors dressing room, came a moment that, when all is said and done, could end up being a turning point in franchise history.

Is it a bit premature to make that argument? You could make that case.

But if the Caps do end up going on a deep playoff run, you could point to the second intermission of Game 4 as the key.

In those brief 10 minutes, Boudreau pointed out to his team that the impossible dream wasn't, in fact, impossible.

Less than 24 hours before, the Sharks had erased a 4-0 deficit en route to a dramatic 6-5 overtime victory over the Los Angeles Kings, he told them. And how about 12 months earlier, when the Philadelphia Flyers had clawed back from a 3-0 deficit in games to eliminate the Boston Bruins, a series culminated with the Flyers going down by a 3-0 score in Game 7 only to keep fighting and win both the contest and the series?

His Caps took the words to heart. They came out for the third period in a frenzy, scoring three times to send the game to overtime.

This against a Rangers team that had gone 29-0 when carrying a lead into the third period during the regular season.

Then, with everything on the line, it wasn't one of Washington's glamour names like Ovechkin or Semin or Backstrom who sealed the deal in overtime. No, it was the hard-working Jason Chimera, who scored the winner, giving the Caps the improbable 4-3 victory and a 3-1 advantage in games with the chance to close out the series in Game 5.

The most revealing post-game quote would, in fact, come from Chimera, who admitted that he and his teammates were "laughing" when the intimidating Garden yahoos were given Boudreau the gears in deafening proportions.

Talk about keeping your grace under pressure instead of wilting.

Yes, this series is not over. Yes, the Rangers, a team that is second to none when it comes to gritty work ethic, are not about to roll over.

But this seems to be a different Caps team, one that vows it will not shrivel in the face of adversity like it has time and time again in the past.

The Capitals are not certain that injured forward Mike Knuble, who is believed to have injured his hand in Game 3, will be able to suit up on Saturday.

No matter.

They are still playing without puck-moving defenceman Dennis Wideman, who hopes to start practicing with his teammates next week after spending a number of days in the hospital with a leg hematoma.

No matter.

The Caps keep slogging.

The litmus test will come on Saturday. More often than not, this team has been guilty of not finishing what it started. Now is their chance to change their fate by eliminating the Rangers when they have the chance.

And if they do, consider the second intermission of Game 4 to be the turning point of the series.

And, quite possibly, of a franchise.


Videos

Photos