By Jay Greenberg in New YorkIf it isn't broken, fix it anyway
Rangers coach John Tortorella, who has taken to refusing to explain anything he does, tweaked his lines at Friday's practice to move forward Artem Anisimov up to the second line with centre Derek Stepan and Chris Kreider.
Ryan Callahan skated on Brian Boyle's line with Ruslan Fedotenko while Brandon Prust was dropped to the fourth line with John Mitchell and Mike Rupp. After being reunited for the winning goal in the 20th longest game in NHL history on Wednesday night, Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards were back together on the top line with Carl Hagelin.Reprieved
Washington forward Brooks Laich slept so long and deeply following Wednesday night's triple overtime Capitals loss that when he awakened he didn't even know what series he still was in.
"I woke up and for some reason I thought the season was over," he said. "And it refreshed in my mind: we only lost one hockey game and it's two to one. We're still in a good position."
The Capitals, who were given Thursday off, skated hard for 45 minutes Friday in preparation for Game 4 Saturday afternoon.
"No more than usual," said goalie Braden Holtby, asked if he was tired Thursday.
"I think they are upbeat, ready to go again," said coach Dale Hunter.
Not that he would say otherwise. But after being in virtually must-win situations over the last month to claim the eighth and final playoff spot, and playing nine one-goal games in ten during the playoffs, one would think the Caps by now are unshakable. Paying their respects
The Rangers, still without forward Brandon Dubinsky (right foot injury) went about 40 minutes on the ice, then told of the visit of several of them to Arlington Cemetery on Thursday's off day.
"It does put things in perspective, all those graves there as far as you can see," said Brian Boyle. "They laid down their lives to allow us to do what we do.
"There were not a lot of words said while we were at the cemetery. We didn't know what to say."
Tortorella said he has consciously altered his locker room language to stay away from analogies to battles or war.
Making Up for Lost Time
Rangers captain Ryan Callahan, who missed this series a year ago, played 41 minutes in Game 3 -- the most of any forward -- representing to Tortorella the ultimate in leadership.
"I'm not sure Ryan said two words on the bench," said Tortorella. "It's what he does on the ice, finishing checks, blocking shots.
"But he was one voice I would hear in the locker room going into the overtimes. A few years ago I'm not sure he was comfortable doing that."
And why did Tortorella play defenceman Ryan McDonagh 54 minutes? Because he could.
"One of our best conditioned athletes," said the coach. "He did play a lot of minutes, but he could have gone on for more.
"But the most impressive part of him that put trust in him right away from the coaching staff was his mental approach.
"He makes a mistake or something doesn't go right, for a young player it usually takes them some time to get it out of their head. He comes right back and tries to make that play the same [way] the next play. It doesn't take him until the next game."
Considering the alternative
The two teams blocked 81 shots (41-40 Rangers) in Game 3.
"It stings," said Washington's Jay Beagle. "But it would hurt more if you didn't do it and you wound up being on the ice for a goal."The Hunter
Nothing changes, says Capitals forward Troy Bouwer. Whether games are 116 minutes or 60 minutes long over the course of a series, the object is to wear the opposition defence down. Matt Hendricks sent McDonagh flying in Game 3, not to any noticeable immediate effect, but expect Hendricks to keep trying.
"He's relentless," said Hunter. "That one hurt. A good one."
Lines and Pairings
LundqvistYou can follow Jay Greenberg on Twitter @scribejg.
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