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Rangers 4, Capitals 1

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WASHINGTON -- If there is one thing you can say about John Tortorella's New York Rangers, it's that they know how to shut the door on opponents.

The Rangers grabbed a two-goal lead in the second period and erected a wall in front of backup goaltender Martin Biron the rest of the game, carving out a 4-1 win over the Washington Capitals on Sunday afternoon at the Verizon Center.

The win was the Rangers' fifth in six games and moved them past the New Jersey Devils and into seventh place in the Eastern Conference standings with a 13-9-2 record and 28 points at the midway point of their season.

The Capitals lost for the second time in less than 24 hours and fell to 10-13-1, six points out of a playoff spot.

The Rangers received goals 41 seconds apart from Brian Boyle and Ryan McDonagh to take a 3-1 lead in the second period. They are now 7-0-0 when leading after 40 minutes.

Penalties did in the Capitals in a 5-2 loss on Long Island on Saturday and two second-period infractions by Alex Ovechkin led to two game-changing goals by the Rangers on Sunday.

With the score tied at 1 midway through the period, Ovechkin got himself tangled up with Ryan Callahan in front of the Capitals' net. On the delayed penalty to Ovechkin, the Capitals captain got caught holding McDonagh.

But before either penalty could be called, the Rangers kept possession of the puck and Boyle hammered a shot past Braden Holtby for a 2-1 lead.

The goal was Boyle's first of the season and his first since April 7, 2012, against the Caps.

Since Ovechkin took two penalties on the same sequence, he went to the box for holding McDonagh and the Rangers made the Caps pay when Callahan deflected Rick Nash's blast from the right circle past Holtby for his eighth goal of the season and a 3-1 lead.

After Callahan's goal came on the Rangers' 19th shot, Capitals coach Adam Oates decided that was it for Holtby and replaced him with Michal Neuvirth, who missed the previous two games with the flu and had not played since Feb. 7 in Pittsburgh.

Neuvirth shut the door the rest of the way, but the Caps could not provide the offense to avert their first two-game losing streak since Feb. 17-21.

With Rangers goalie Martin Biron making his first start since Feb. 23 and looking for his first win since Feb. 2, the Capitals got on the board quickly when rookie defenseman Steve Oleksy scored the first goal of his NHL career just 2:16 into the game. Oleksy's shot found its way past Biron's catching glove and gave him four points in his first four NHL games.

The Rangers responded midway through the first period when Derek Stepan avoided an open-ice collision with Ovechkin, caught a return pass from Marian Gaborik, swung around the Washington net and banked a shot off the back of Holtby's skate and into the net.

NOTES: Capitals forward Marcus Johansson returned the lineup for the first time since suffering a head injury on Feb. 7. He replaced center Mathieu Perreault. Capitals defenseman John Erskine (upper body) skate during warm-ups but dit not play and was replaced by former Rangers defenseman Tom Poti. Mike Green (groin) missed his eighth game of the season, and center Brooks Laich (groin) has now missed half the season (24 games). ... Rangers defenseman Roman Hamrlik, who was claimed off waivers from the Capitals on Wednesday, made the trip but was a healthy scratch in favor of Matt Gilroy. Defenseman Marc Staal missed his third straight game with an eye injury. ... The Rangers continue their four-game road trip with stops in Buffalo on Tuesday, Winnipeg on Thursday and Pittsburgh on Saturday. The Capitals play host to the Southeast Division-leading Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday, then visit the Canes on Thursday and the Bruins on Saturday.
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