From the opening face-off of last night’s Game 3 between the Rangers and Capitals, there was a feeling that this was going to be a special hockey game. Both teams were firing on all cylinders, skating up and down the ice, creating scoring chance after scoring chance. It was such an exciting brand of hockey that both teams decided to treat the fans to an extra 55 minutes of it.

Legends are made in overtime of the Stanley Cup playoffs. If you can notch a game-winning goal in one of these sudden death situations, your name will forever live on in the hearts of your fans. People will remember where they were, how late they stayed up, and how great they felt when you scored to end the game.

Game 3 was a pivotal one for the Rangers– teams never want to lose two games in a row in a playoff series, but as the game went later and later, it gained even more importance. In a game of great length the emotions become so high, victory is even more exhilarating and defeat is much more draining. It carries with it a momentum swing that can change the course of a series.

The Rangers controlled the play for most of overtime, out-shooting the Caps 22-17, but one of the more nerve-racking parts of sudden death overtime is that no matter who controls the play, it only takes one successful rush back up the ice to end the game (see Game 4 of the Rangers-Senators series).

By the time a hockey game reaches a 3rd overtime period, the players are visibly exhausted, shifts get shorter, and the game-winning goal is usually an ugly one. Meaning, its a goal that 2 hours previous would have little chance of going in.

But last night, the Rangers scored on a beautiful play. Dan Girardi sent the puck behind the net to Brad Richards who quickly fed the puck to Marian Gaborik in front as he one-timed the puck straight through Braden Holtby’s legs. It was a great goal and a great result for the Rangers.

As we move towards Game 4 on Saturday, the Rangers are in a favorable position.  However, they must take advantage of the momentum that they earned in the early hours this morning. A victory gives them a chance to finish off the series at home, but a loss gets the Caps right back into the series.

So, while last night certainly was an “Instant Classic” for the Rangers, there is still much work to be done in this series.