Capitals lose in New York (USA TODAY SPORTS IMAGES)
NEW YORK, NY (AP) -- Derek Stepan's power-play goal early in the third period snapped a
tie and completed the New York Rangers' rally to a 2-1 victory over the
Washington Capitals on Sunday night.
It was the only time New
York's struggling power-play unit connected in the game, but it came at
the perfect time and helped snap the Capitals' season-high winning
streak at three games.
Washington, which lost to New York in the
second round of last year's playoffs, had been 11-5-2 in its last 18
regular-season games against the Rangers.
New York improved to
5-1-1 in its past seven, despite entering the game with an NHL-worst
power play that connected on only 10 percent of its chances.
This advantage lasted only 7 seconds before clicking for a goal 4:25 into the third.
Richards, benched for all but one shift in the third period of the
Rangers' shootout loss to the Islanders on Thursday, won a faceoff and
then made a pass to Michael Del Zotto in the right circle. Del Zotto
quickly found Stepan with a diagonal pass to the left post, where Stepan
scored while down on a knee.
Carl Hagelin tied it for the Rangers in the second period after defenseman John Carlson put Washington ahead in the first.
Henrik Lundqvist stopped 27 shots for his seventh win. Braden Holtby was busier for Washington and made 38 saves.
Capitals' power play, which has been surging recently, was held in
check on four chances. Its final opportunity came with under 7 minutes
left when Rick Nash was called for tripping. Washington had scored a
power-play goal in each of its previous six games, connecting on 8 of 15
The Capitals put instant pressure on the Rangers
and Lundqvist right off the bat at even strength, and nearly scored even
earlier than Carlson's second goal of the season at 1:19. Washington
swarmed, and had a drive by ring off the post.
It was merely a
reprieve for the Rangers, as Mike Ribeiro got the puck to Carlson for a
hard drive from the right circle that got past Lundqvist.
Rangers dominated in shots in the first period, but had nothing to show
for it despite three power plays that generated five shots. New York
generated a season-high 20 shots overall, but was denied each time by
Marian Gaborik had perhaps the Rangers' best scoring
chance during Washington's lone power play of the period, but he was
stuffed twice in front, and New York couldn't put in the rebound. The
Rangers had three shots during that penalty-kill.
swirled throughout Madison Square Garden as the Rangers consistently
passed the puck all around the offensive zone during the multiple
man-advantages without producing any real quality scoring opportunities.
Rangers tied it at 1 when the surging Hagelin scored at 7:39 of the
second. Ryan McDonagh fired a drive from the middle of the ice, just
inside the blue line, that was tipped into the net on New York's 30th
shot of the game.
Hagelin has scored five of his six goals this season in the past four games - netting at least one in each.