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National Hockey League
BOXSCORE | RECAP
NY Rangers 4, Washington 3
When: 7:00 PM ET, Sunday, May 10, 2015
Where: Verizon Center, Washington, District Of Columbia
Referees: Kelly Sutherland, Chris Rooney
Linesmen: Derek Amell, Jay Sharrers
Attendance: 18506

WASHINGTON -- The New York Rangers and Washington Capitals have been down this road before and on Wednesday night in New York they will do it again.

Thanks to a thrilling 4-3 victory fueled by a pair of early goals by left winger Chris Kreider and a 43-save effort by goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, the Rangers rallied back to tie their best-of-seven playoff series with the Capitals, forcing a Game 7 in Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night.

It will be the third time in four years, the Capitals and Rangers will be going the distance in a playoff series, with the winner going to the Eastern Conference Finals.

"We wanted a chance and we gave ourselves a chance," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "We came here to compete and I thought we did that. You had two good teams going at it."

For the first time in the series, both teams will have two days off before deciding the series Wednesday. They may need it since Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh and Capitals defenseman Tim Gleason left the game with undisclosed injuries, only to return to finish the game.

The two teams also needed a Game 7 to decide their playoff series in 2012 and 2013. The Rangers won each time.

"It's one game, loser goes home," Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. "I don't think you can say there's more pressure on us than them. No matter what, someone's going home. It's going to be a max effort on both sides. It's going to be a heck of a hockey game."

Left winger Rick Nash and defenseman Dan Boyle each netted third-period goals for the Rangers. Left winger Jason Chimera, center Evgeny Kuznetsov and right winger Joel Ward scored of the Capitals. But the difference maker, the Rangers said, was Lundqvist.

"He surprises me every day with his focus," Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi said. "He makes that save when we need it most. He was just a wall back there for us when we were battling and just trying to get it out of our zone."

Leading 2-1 after two periods, the Rangers took a 4-1 lead on early third-period goals by Nash and Boyle, only to see the Capitals stage a furious comeback.

Kuznetsov scored his fifth goal of the playoffs with 7:40 gone in the third period, and right winger Joel Ward made it 4-3 with his third goal of the playoffs with 9:27 remaining in regulation.

But Lundqvist withstood a barrage of shots in the final nine minutes, his biggest stop coming against Washington captain Alex Ovechkin from the high slot. Ovechkin failed to score a goal for the fourth straight game in the series. He hasn't gone four games without a goal since December.

The Capitals had a two-minute power play in the final three minutes of play after Rangers left winger James Sheppard took a delay of game penalty, but even after pulling goaltender Braden Holtby for a sixth attacker, the Capitals could not get a puck past Lundqvist.

"We almost tied the game," Ovechkin said. "The character of this group, it shows a lot. We're going to come back and win the series."

The Rangers have been the best first-period team in the NHL this season and they wasted little time flexing their muscles against the Capitals as Kreider scored on New York's first and last shots of the opening period to grab a 2-0 lead.

Kreider's first goal of the night and fourth of the playoffs came just 40 seconds into the game when center Derick Brassard hit him with a stretch pass. Kreider got a step on Washington defenseman Matt Niskanen, held him off and backhanded a shot over right shoulder of Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby.

Rangers center Derek Stepan won a battle against Capitals forwards Andre Burakovsky and Jay Beagle along the defensive wall to free the puck for Brassard.

Both goaltenders needed to come up with big saves to keep the game tight in the first period, with Lundqvist flashing out his right pad to stop back-to-back shots from left winger Jason Chimera and right winger Troy Brouwer, and Holtby turning away center Dominic Moore five times.

A roughing penalty on Brouwer with 4 seconds remaining in the first period gave the Rangers their second power play of the period and after a faceoff win by Stepan and a point blast by Brassard, Kreider slammed home the rebound with three-tenths of a second remaining to send the Rangers into the first intermission with a two-goal lead.

In all, the Rangers have outscored their playoff opponents 9-2 in the opening period.

Unfazed, the Capitals scored just 28 seconds into the second period when Kuznetsov deflected a point shot by Ward into the chest of Lundqvist and when the puck squirted into the crease, Chimera pitch-forked it over the goal line for his third goal of the playoffs.

NOTES: Capitals D Tim Gleason left the game twice with an undisclosed injury but returned each time. ... Among NHL starters, Capitals G Braden Holtby (1.51 goals-against average, .951 save percentage) and Rangers G Henrik Lundqvist (1.55 GAA, .942) were ranked first and second in those categories. ... Washington C Eric Fehr sat out his ninth straight playoff game with an upper-body injury but could be available for the Capitals' next game.
Top Game Performances
 
NY Rangers   Washington
Chris Kreider 2 Points Joel Ward 3
Chris Kreider 2 Goals Joel Ward 1
Derick Brassard 2 Assists Joel Ward 2
Chris Kreider 1 Power Play Goals N/A
N/A Short Handed Goals N/A
Henrik Lundqvist .933 Save Percentage Braden Holtby .857
Henrik Lundqvist 42 Saves Braden Holtby 24
Team Stats Summary
 
Team Shots Goals Power Play Penalty Kill Penalty Mins Face Offs Won
NY Rangers 28 4 1-3 4-4 8 28
Washington 45 3 0-4 2-3 6 33
Upcoming Games
  • Washington will play their next game on the road against NY Rangers. The Capitals have a W/L % of .500 after a win and .611 after a loss.
  • NY Rangers will play their next game at home against Washington. The Rangers have a W/L % of .654 after a win and .633 after a loss.