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Rangers pull off stunning Game 5 comeback thanks to Joel Ward penalty

By Brian Stubits | CBSSports.com

You want to know why the NHL playoffs are so awesome? Drama. Like game-tying goals in Game 5 with 6.6 seconds left on the clock drama. And overtime goals drama.

Thanks to a really bad penalty from Joel Ward -- did we make it clear it was a really bad penalty? Because it was a really, really bad penalty -- the Rangers found themselves on a four-minute power play with less than 30 seconds to go in the game and trailing by a goal.

That's when the Rangers pulled off one of the most incredible comebacks we've seen in these playoffs.

First there was Richards picking up a loose puck and beating Capitals goalie Braden Holtby with less than 7 seconds remaining to tie the game and send the MSG faithful into a tizzy.

Then came overtime, and remember that Ward penalty? Yea, well since it was a double-minor for high-sticking, there was still a second half of it to go. And again, it cost the Capitals dearly.

Not even two minutes into the overtime period Rangers defenseman Marc Staal took the puck after a Rangers faceoff win and found himself a shooting lane. A little deflection along the way helped and just like that the game was over.

The elation for the Rangers was amazing. How could they not be on cloud 9 after an improbably comeback win like that?

But imagine the low for the Caps. Game 3's triple-overtime loss was probably easier to swallow than this one. They snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Especially Ward.

"It's tough when you let the team down on a play like that," Ward said after the game. I'll bet.

With a defensive zone faceoff in the final minute, Ward decided to use his stick to clear out the Rangers' Carl Hagelin. That's not a good idea, especially when you make the guy bleed.

So Ward, who was the hero of the first round with his overtime winner in Game 7 to defeat the defending champion Bruins, is the goat in Game 5 this round. Now the Capitals return home having to win to stay alive instead of with a chance to win and finish the series with the Rangers.

Or if you're looking for a different goat, Caps defenseman Karl Alzner has another one; the media.

"We had a couple people before the game asking us about why our penalty kill has been so good," Alzner said after the game. "And in my opinion, they jinxed it."

Hey, whatever makes the Caps feel better after that gut-wrencher, the more power to them.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

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