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Capitals edge Rangers to even series

May 5, 2012 - 8:48 PM
Washington, DC (Sports Network) - Mike Green scored a power-play goal with 5:48 remaining in the third period, and the Washington Capitals edged the visiting New York Rangers, 3-2, to even their Eastern Conference semifinal series at two wins apiece.

Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom supplied the other goals for seventh- seeded Washington, which hasn't dropped two consecutive games since March 22-23.

Braden Holtby stopped 18 New York shots.

You have to go back to last season to find the last time the Capitals' young goaltender has lost two straight starts in the NHL. He went 0-2-1 from November 13-22, 2010.

Artem Anisimov registered a goal and an assist for the top-seeded Rangers, who got 23 saves from Henrik Lundqvist.

"Everything is just so tight," said Rangers captain Ryan Callahan. "You never know which play is going to win the game for you. It's tight defensively, guys are blocking shots, but it's the playoffs and you have to control your emotions and keep moving forward and try to get that equalizer. But we didn't get that today."

The teams return to Madison Square Garden for Game 5 on Monday.

New York forward Carl Hagelin went off for slashing with 6:15 to play in the third. The Rangers nearly cleared the zone, but Dennis Wideman kept the puck in at the left point and dished it across the ice to his defense partner Green, who let go a slap shot from the right circle for his first career playoff game-winning goal.

"We needed to step up. It was important that we got a win in our building," Green said.

One-goal games are the norm for the Capitals in this year's playoffs. Ten of their 11 games have been decided by the slimmest of margins.

Coming off a triple-overtime loss in Game 3, the Capitals were far from lethargic in the first period Saturday, outshooting the Rangers 14-3.

Washington failed to convert an early power play long on chances. The best one belonged to Ovechkin, who was robbed by the glove of Lundqvist on a redirection outside the crease.

Ovechkin wouldn't be denied later in the opening frame. New York rookie forward Chris Kreider erred in his own zone, sending a blind pass that the Washington captain hammered off Lundqvist's glove at 12:43.

The Rangers were much more aggressive in the second period, particularly Anisimov. The New York forward was in the right spot to collect a loose puck in the slot and stash it past Holtby's outstretched right pad 1:10 into the stanza.

Backstrom restored the lead for the Capitals, beating Lundqvist to the far side with a wrister from the right circle at 11:54.

New York pulled even again when Anisimov won a race to a puck in the Washington zone and Marian Gaborik, who ended the fifth-longest game in Rangers history on Wednesday, sent his behind-the-net feed between the legs of Holtby at 16:43.

Game Notes

Ovechkin recorded his 29th career playoff goal, one behind Peter Bondra for first all-time in Capitals history. With 57 points in the postseason, he passed Bondra for third place in the team's annals...The Rangers were 0-for-2 on the power play.