Rangers 2, Capitals 1
NEW YORK -- Carl Hagelin remained red-hot for the New York Rangers, who racked up 40 shots against Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby and were able to squeeze just enough past him in a 2-1 win at Madison Square Garden on Sunday.
Hagelin scored his fifth goal in four games and sixth of the season for the Rangers, while Derek Stepan scored a rare power-play goal for New York, just its sixth of the season. John Carlson scored his second goal of the year for the Capitals.
The Capitals, who were missing injured top defenseman and alternate captain Mike Green, were 0-for-4 on the power play as the Rangers have successfully killed their last 16 penalties.
The Rangers nearly played without one of their top players, but center Rick Nash was cleared shortly before game time and had an assist. New York, already thin at center, did lose center Darroll Powe on a scary play in the second period, when he remained on the ice for several minutes before getting helped off.
Holtby made 38 saves for Washington (5-9-1) while Henrik Lundqvist stopped 26 shots for New York (8-5-1). The Rangers won for the fourth time in their past five games while ending Washington's three-game win streak.
The teams entered the third period tied 1-1, though the Rangers had doubled Washington's shot total at that point, 34-17. New York entered the final period continuing its trend of looking as adept at killing penalties as it has been at cashing in on them. New York killed three penalties in the first two periods against the Capitals, whose power play is usually directed by Green. That gave the Rangers their 15th straight penalty kill, but New York also failed to score on its first three power plays, making it 5 of 51 on the season at that point.
But, just seven seconds after Caps defenseman Karl Alzner was called for tripping early in the third period, the Rangers' crisp passing helped give them a 2-1 lead at the 4:25 mark.
The Caps had a power-play opportunity when Nash was called for tripping with 6:56 left in the game, but couldn't convert.
Brad Richards zipped a pass to Michael Del Zotto at the right faceoff circle and Del Zotto immediately drilled it to Stepan at the left post, where he nudged it past Holtby.
For nearly a period-and-a-half, the Rangers amped up the pressure on Holtby, but the Capitals goalie denied them. New York finally tied the game 1-1 with 12:21 left in the second on its 30th shot of the game. Hagelin, from the right post, poked in a blast from Ryan McDonagh, with Nash also getting an assist.
The Capitals scored a little more than a minute into the game, when Carlson blasted a slapshot from the right faceoff circle. Mike Ribeiro and Eric Fehr got assists on the play that gave Washington a 1-0 lead at the 1:16 mark of the first period.
NOTES: Powe, playing in his 300th NHL game, collided with Capitals center Mike Hendricks and both players fell to the ice. Hendricks got up shortly after that, but Powe remained on the ice for several minutes and cameras showed him looking woozy as he was attended to by a trainer. Powe was eventually helped off the ice by teammates, with 16:09 left in the second period. ... Rangers coach John Tortorella begrudgingly revealed Nash was "banged up" and was unsure about his status until just before game time. Tortorella first told a reporter asking about Nash, who missed practice Saturday, "none of your business" and said he wouldn't discuss injuries this year. ... Rangers center Chris Kreider, sent to AHL affiliate Connecticut on Friday, was called back up Saturday, presumably as insurance in case Nash couldn't play. ... Green was out due to a lower-body injury sustained Thursday against the Tampa Bay Lightning, coach Adam Oates told reporters at the morning skate. Oates said he hoped to have Green back by the next game, but wasn't sure of his status.
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