Capitals 2, Rangers 1 (OT)

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange


WASHINGTON -- If there was no glass around the dasher boards, Mike Ribeiro might have run all the way into the stands.
The Capitals veteran center slid a Troy Brouwer rebound into an unguarded net 9:24 into overtime to give the Capitals a 2-1 win on Friday night in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
The win gives the Capitals a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series. They have a chance to clinch a berth in the second round of the playoffs for the second straight year with a win on Sunday afternoon in New York. Game 6 is slated for 4:30 p.m. ET.
Each team has won its home games in the series, with two of the Caps' victories coming in overtime.
The Caps had several chances to end it earlier in overtime, but Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist would not break.
The winning goal came after Brouwer drilled a shot that was broken down in front of Lundqvist. But with the veteran netminder well out of his net, Ribeiro easily slid the puck into the empty cage and kicked off a wild celebration at the Verizon Center.
Brian Boyle and Joel Ward scored the only goals in the opening 40 minutes as the two teams combined to block 37 shots in the opening two periods.
Before the game, Capitals coach Adam Oates said he was "worried" about the way his team would come out in front of its home crowd, and those worries seemed justified when Boyle scored in the Rangers' first shot of the game.
A giveaway by defenseman John Erskine led to Boyle's goal just 53 seconds into the first period. Boyle's shot was deflected behind the Capitals' net, where Derick Brassard threaded a pass through Washington defenseman Mike Green and onto the stick of Boyle for his second goal of the series and fifth career playoff goal.
The Capitals were outhit by the Rangers 16-15 in the first period, but Washington left winger Jason Chimera knocked Ryane Clowe out of the game with a big check along the boards. Clowe missed the final game of the regular season and the first three games of the playoffs with an apparent concussion.
Ward got the Capitals on the board 7:44 into the second period, just 11 seconds after Ribeiro drew a retaliatory slash against Boyle to give the Caps their first power play of the game.
The Rangers had several opportunities to build a lead but failed on four power-play opportunities in the first two periods. Capitals center Matt Hendricks was a big reason with a game-high seven blocked shots through 40 minutes.
The Capitals had the best chance to take a lead in the second period, but Mathieu Perreault fanned on a centering pass from Chimera.
NOTES: In the first two games of the series, each team was awarded a total of seven power plays. In Games 3 and 4, the Rangers were given 10 power plays, the Capitals five. Through the first four games of the series, the Rangers were 2-0 in games they scored a power-play goal and 2-0 when holding the Capitals scoreless with the man advantage. ... Game 5 marked the NHL debut for Capitals rookie right winger Tom Wilson, who became the fourth player in team history to make his NHL debut in a playoff game, joining Trent Whitfield (2000), Chris Felix and Grant Jennings (1988). ... Before the game, the Capitals recalled goaltender Philipp Grubauer and defensemen Dmitry Orlov, Tomas Kundratek, Cameron Schilling and Nate Schmidt from the AHL Hershey Bears, who were eliminated from the Calder Cup playoffs on Wednesday. ... Washington left winger Martin Erat, who injured his left arm in a three-way collision with Derek Stepan and Alex Ovechkin, did not play in Game 5. "Actually, he's significantly better today," Oates said. "We'll see how it goes in the next couple days." ... Rangers defenseman Marc Staal [eye] skated Friday but gave no indication of when he might return after reporting some vision issues following Game 2. ... Earlier Friday, Ovechkin was named a finalist for the Hart Trophy along with Penguins captain Sidney Crosby and Islanders forward John Tavares. Ovechkin won the award in 2008 and 2009. ... Game 7, if necessary, will be played Monday night in Washington.