Rangers 2, Capitals 1 (3 OT)

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

WASHINGTON -- Marian Gaborik scored off a centering pass from Brad Richards 14 minutes, 41 seconds into the third overtime Wednesday night, giving the New York Rangers a thrilling 2-1 victory over the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center.
With the win, the Rangers took a 2-1 series lead and seized back home-ice advantage. The best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal series resumes Saturday afternoon at the Verizon Center.
Gaborik positioned himself in the slot and ripped a one-timer from Richards through the pads of Capitals rookie goaltender Braden Holtby, who stopped 47 of 49 shots.
Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist earned the win with 45 saves.
The Capitals killed off the only penalty of the first overtime after Alexander Semin tripped Ryan Callahan with 2:28 remaining.
Nearly everyone in the building thought Alex Ovechkin won the game with five minutes remaining in the first overtime, but after stripping Rangers defenseman Anton Stralman of the puck, Ovechkin rang his shot off the right post to keep the game alive.
Holtby had a rough start to the first overtime. In the opening 90 seconds, he failed to catch an easy shot by Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto, then had to stop a Derek Stepan backhander in front after his own giveaway to Callahan.
The Caps' best chance to score came about 4:45 into the first overtime when Matt Hendricks separated Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh from the puck with a menacing shoulder, then set up Troy Brouwer all alone in front. Brouwer shot it wide right.
Both teams had chances to win the game on power plays near the end of regulation but failed.
The Rangers, who opened the scoring with a power-play goal by Callahan, were awarded a man-advantage with 5:35 remaining in the third period when Capitals forward Mike Knuble was whistled for interfering with Lundqvist.
The Rangers failed to generate much of an attack on Holtby, and when Richards went off for tripping Roman Hamrlik with 3:48 remaining, the Caps failed to get a puck past Lundqvist, whose biggest save came on a bullet from Semin.
After playing tight, defensive hockey while splitting the first two games of the series in New York, both teams opened it up in Game 3 with one offensive rush after another.
Lundqvist stopped all 13 shots he faced and Holtby was a perfect 10-for-10 as the two teams took a scoreless tie into the second period.
The offensive flow continued in the second period, with each team pinning each other in its zone so often that each coach had to burn a timeout to give his players a breather.
The Rangers got on the board when, with Brooks Laich in the box for hooking Marian Gaborik, Ryan Callahan converted a Michael Del Zotto rebound for his third goal of the playoffs.
Del Zotto's shot deflected off Washington defenseman John Carlson and forward Matt Hendricks before falling behind Callahan, who wheeled around and slapped the puck past Holtby 6:41 into the second period.
It was the Rangers' second power-play goal of the series, and both came from the stick of Callahan.
The Capitals didn't take long to answer. Less than five minutes later, Carlson took a pass from Alexander Semin and rumbled down the left side. Carlson had the puck poked off his stick and swerved to his right before snapping a shot high past Lundqvist's catching glove.
The goal was Carlson's first of the playoffs, and it breathed life into the home crowd. The fans were moved to the edge of their seats minutes later when the Capitals broke out on a 3-on-1 rush, but Lundqvist came out to stop Laich in close for the biggest save top that point in the game.
NOTES: Entering Game 3, Callahan led New York with 16 hits in the series, followed by Derek Stepan (eight), Brian Boyle (six) and Brandon Prust (six). Hendricks led the Caps with eight, followed by Jay Beagle (seven), Roman Hamrlik (seven) and Laich (six). ... Capitals left wing Jason Chimera entered Wednesday night's game with six career playoff goals, and four of them have come against the Rangers. Three of those six goals have been game-winners. ... Chris Kreider is the first Rangers rookie to record two game-winning goals in the playoffs since Mike Allison in the 1981 postseason. The Rangers have won their last six playoff series in which they held home-ice advantage.

What to Read Next