NHL Playoffs: Rangers 2, Capitals 1
NEW YORK ó Henrik Lundqvist made 38 saves, half of them in the second period, and the seventh-seeded New York Rangers put the Washington Capitals on the brink of elimination with a 2-1 victory Wednesday night.
Lundqvist, who posted a 1-0 shutout win in Game 2, was on top of his game all night as the Capitals controlled play from the second period to the end ó outshooting New York 39-21. But it’s the Rangers who hold a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Paul Mara staked the Rangers to the lead with 6:05 left in the first period, scoring just the second goal against 20-year-old rookie Simeon Varlamov, who has stopped 75 of 78 shots since taking over for Jose Theodore after New York’s 4-3 win in Game 1.
Chris Drury added his first goal of the series for the Rangers.
Varlamov got Washington back into the series with a 4-0 win Monday night, after the Rangers posted a pair of road wins, but now the Capitals ó the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference ó could be out of the playoffs Friday night when they host Game 5.
Alex Ovechkin finally scored his first goal of the series, but it was enough even with Washington having two late power plays created by Sean Avery’s undisciplined play.
Ovechkin, who screamed at his teammates on the bench before the third period, cut the Capitals’ deficit to 2-1 early in the final frame and nearly tied it twice. The first try was denied by the post during a power play, and then he was denied when Lundqvist made a reaching glove save with 5:13 left.
Lundqvist kept the Rangers in it during the second period, when the Capitals held a 19-5 shots advantage but fell further behind.
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