May 1, 2012 12:00 am by Ira Podell / associated Press
NEW YORK — Alex Ovechkin's power-play goal with 7:27 remaining snapped a tie and gave the Washington Capitals a 3-2 victory Monday night against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden that squared this Eastern Conference semifinal series at 1-1.
Just under six minutes after Ryan Callahan got the Rangers even with a power-play goal, Ovechkin put the Capitals ahead for good after they squandered a 2-0 lead.
Mike Knuble and Jason Chimera scored first-period goals for the Capitals, who will play host to the next two games of the series at Verizon Center. Washington is trying to repeat its first-round feat when it lost the series opener but rallied to beat Boston in seven games. the Capitals have earned four of their five wins in this postseason on the road.
Brad Richards had a goal and assist, and defenseman Michael Del Zotto had two assists for the top-seeded Rangers, who got forward Brian Boyle back from a three-game injury absence but couldn't turn it into a commanding lead in the series.
New York rebounded from a 14-shot performance in its series-opening win and fired 28 shots on goalie Braden Holtby. But the increase in numbers produced fewer results.
Henrik Lundqvist, who allowed two goals or fewer in six of the previous eight games and four in a row, made 22 saves for the Rangers. New York had won three consecutive games, dating to the first round against Ottawa when Boyle sustained a concussion.
New York killed a penalty against Boyle moments after Callahan's tying goal at 6:58, but Ovechkin struck off a clean faceoff win by Nicklas Backstrom on another power play. With Richards in the penalty box for holding, Ovechkin fired a shot from inside the blue line past Lundqvist to make it 3-2.
The Rangers' much-maligned power play got New York into a 2-2 tie 56 seconds after Knuble was sent off for high-sticking.
New York worked the puck around the Washington zone several times for drives by defenseman Del Zotto. he dropped down from the blue line to the right circle and let go a shot that worked its way through.
After a close-to-the-vest opener, the offenses busted out in the first period — nearly matching the goal and shot totals from Game 1.
The Capitals took their first lead of the series 12:20 in when Washington took advantage of a Rangers turnover in the offensive zone. Stu Bickel's pass was intercepted by Joel Ward at the blue line and he raced with the puck up ice. he sent a pass to the middle of the zone to Keith Aucoin, who quickly returned it to Ward. Without any hesitation, Ward moved the puck to his right to Knuble, who scored his second of the playoffs into the right side of the net.
First Published 2012-05-01 04:29:13