Fantasy Football 2014:

Rangers 3, Capitals 2 (OT)

The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- Before last Wednesday's epic triple-overtime win over the Washington Capitals, the New York Rangers had lost seven consecutive playoff overtime games.

After Marian Gaborik removed the monkey from the Blueshirts' back in that game, it's nowhere to be found.

On Monday, Marc Staal scored with 1:35 gone in overtime to give the Rangers a 3-2 win and a 3-2 advantage in the Eastern Conference semifinal series. The win pushes the Capitals to the brink of elimination, making Wednesday night's Game 6 at the Verizon Center a must-win if their season is to continue.

Staal's goal was a power-play tally, a high shot from the point that eluded Capitals netminder Braden Holtby, who all but carried Washington into the extra session and was named the game's Third Star after recording 35 saves.

For a long time, it appeared that Holtby would steal the win after John Carlson gave Washington a 2-1 lead with 14:20 to play in the third period, but Brad Richards scored a power-play goal with 6.6 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime and set up Staal's heroics.

Richards' fifth goal of the playoff -- a gritty effort at the front of the net -- elicited an exultant roar from the Madison Square Garden crowd, who went into the final seconds fearing that Holtby would steal a win for his team. The Blueshirts, however, would not be denied.

Following a sluggish start in Saturday's Game 4 in Washington, the Rangers attacked with vigor to open the game, logging eight of the first nine shots on goal. It was a seemingly harmless shot, however, that did the damage, as Rangers defenseman Anton Stralman scored his third goal of the playoffs. Stralman's shot from the hash marks along the right-wing boards evaded Holtby, slipping in to the bottom left corner of the net to give the Rangers the lead 10:44 into the game.

The Capitals tied it 8:15 into the second period with the second goal of the playoffs for Brooks Laich. Rangers center Brian Boyle looked to break up a centering pass from Alex Ovechkin, but wound up slowing the puck down for Laich, who caught up to the puck in the slot and blasted it past Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist for the equalizer.

The Capitals took the lead 4:20 into the final period on a goal by Carlson. With Mike Rupp in the penalty box for hooking and Rangers captain Ryan Callahan skating without a stick, Carlson's shot from the point on the power play made it through traffic and beat Lundqvist to put Washington ahead.

With the lead gained, the Capitals went into lockdown mode, playing the hard-nosed defensive style that the team has come to embody under head coach Dale Hunter. The Rangers pulled Lundqvist for the extra skater with a minute and a half remaining, but it was Joel Ward's double-minor for high-sticking with 21.3 seconds left that gave the Rangers the advantage they needed.

The Rangers put the pressure on, but the Capitals appeared equal to the task. Finally, with less than 10 seconds to go, Michael Del Zotto sent the puck toward the net, where Callahan furiously tried to knock it past Holtby. Instead, it was Richards who crashed the net and sent the puck trickling into the net. The remaining seconds passed without incident, requiring the extra session.

The second half of Ward's double-minor carried over into the extra session, but the Capitals appeared on the verge of killing it off until John Mitchell got the puck to Staal. The star defenseman curled to the center point and unleashed the fateful shot that sent the streamers falling from the ceiling onto a jubilant MSG crowd.

NOTES: Stralman's goal was his first point in the series with the Capitals. He had two goals and two assists in the conference quarterfinal against the Senators....Rangers center Derek Stepan recorded the secondary assist on Stralman's goal, his first point since the second game of the series. The helper gave Stepan six points in his last seven games after going without a point in the first five games of the playoffs....New York Knicks forward Jared Jeffries was in attendance for the game, as were former Knicks players John Starks and Larry Johnson, former New York Giants star Michael Strahan, current Giants defensive end Justin Tuck and former heavyweight boxer Gerry Cooney.

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League type:
Free Yahoo League
League size:
10 players
Draft time:
Aug 27 9:00 am
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