NEW YORK, N.Y.- Derek Stepan broke a 3-3 tie with a third-period goal to lead the New York Rangers to a 4-3 win over the Washington Capitals Monday night at Madison Square Garden.
The Rangers still trail in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series 2-1. Game 4 is Wednesday night at The Garden.
The Capitals have never swept an opponent in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Henrik Lundqvist made 28 saves for the Rangers, and Stepan, Arron Asham, Derek Brassard and Brian Boyle scored goals for New York. Stepan's goal at 13:35 of the third was the game-winner and came on assists from Rick Nash and Mats Zuccarello.
The Rangers also benefited from an emotional surge created by Marc Staal's return. The defenseman had been out since March 5 with an eye injury.
Nicklas Backstrom, Mike Green and Jay Beagle scored for Washington. Braden Holtby made 26 saves in a losing cause.
Beagle's goal at the 7:19 mark of the third period tied the game 3-3.
New York went 1-for-6 on the power play. Washington was 0-for-3 on the man advantage.
NOTES: One of the reasons that the Capitals entered Monday night's game with a 2-0 series lead was the play of the Alexander Ovechkin-Nicklas Backstrom-Marcus Johansson line. The trio had two goals, two assists and 33 shots on goal in the first two games, both at Washington's Verizon Center. "That line, the chemistry they have, when they're on their game, I think all three guys can generate more shots," Capitals coach Adam Oates said in his press conference at Madison Square Garden during the morning skate. "Obviously, Ovie is the No. 1 guy; he's the shooter of the three. Both guys kind of cater to that but they still have their opportunities in the game." ... Even though the Rangers are down 2-0 in the series and have just one goal to show for their efforts, coach John Tortorella doesn't believe the situation is as dire as has been stated. "It definitely happens. I'm not saying you guys [media] do - you guys have your heads stuck in your computers, but I'm not saying you guys," Tortorella said when asked if people weigh the outcome of games more heavily than what took place on the ice. "I can't afford to do that. It's a game of results, there is no question about that, but I can't go about the process of coaching a hockey game on what the result was."