Those fans at Madison Square Garden were quiet -- at least after the New York Rangers squandered a three-goal lead in the third period as the Washington Capitals seized a 4-3 victory in the second overtime of Game 4 on Wednesday.
On TV, that third period sounded a lot like what I heard -- or didn’t hear -- at Staples Center as the Kings fumbled a 4-0 lead in the second period en route to a 6-5 OT loss to the San Jose Sharks. The MSG fans gave it Boudreau and the Caps at the beginning, chiding the coach they call “Gabby” with “Can you hear us?” chants.
And as The Washington Post’s Katie Carrera reports Wednesday night, it went beyond that as well:
Earlier this week while making a radio appearance, Coach Bruce Boudreau said Madison Square Garden, the NHL’s oldest building, was “nothing” and “not that loud.” Whether it was intended to create a stir was irrelevant, because the comments provoked the New York faithful to make themselves known.
A sold-out Garden was raucous when the teams hit the ice. Rangers fans quickly turned to their new enemy, chanting “Boud-reau Sucks!” in unison. They even replaced Denis Potvin’s name with the coach’s in the famous ‘Hot Cross Buns’ tune that Rangers fans have been singing, regardless of opponent, since 1979.
Just as the Kings became the fourth team in playoff history to squander a four-goal lead, the MSG crowd quieter as the Caps scored three third-period goals. The parallels didn’t escape Boudreau between the two games, who mentioned in a post-game interview that he had the Kings-Sharks Game 3 on his mind.
Still, it’s probably not advisable to call out opposing fans --- even if all the taunts went for naught.
It’s one thing to intimate the New York Rangers were targeting Caps defenseman Mike Green, who missed the final weeks of the regular season due to a concussion. That’s gamesmanship and a long-established practice by coaches to plant the seed in the mind of officials.
This fan stuff just seems reckless.
-- A.J. Perez