The Washington Capitals squandered a 2-0 lead in the third period, but rallied for the win in Overtime, 4-3 against the New York Rangers Saturday afternoon at Madison Square Garden. The win improved the Capitals record to 31-7-3. For the first time in franchise history, the Capitals have won 31 games in a half season. This was the last regular season visit to the Garden for the Capitals, as all three meetings to date have been played at MSG.
John Carlson missed his seventh straight game since sustaining a lower body injury against Montreal on December 26th. Brooks Orpik missed his 28th straight game since sustaining a lower body injury in Detroit on November 10th. Jay Beagle missed his fifth straight game due to an injury to his hand he sustained in the game against the Buffalo Sabres on December 30th. Zach Sill missed this game to serve the second of his two-game suspension. Marcus Johansson miss this game to serve the first of his two-game suspension. Mike Richards and Zach Sill were the healthy scratches. The goalie match-up for the game, provided by @Capsgoalies:
The Capitals fought-off a slow start by both teams and managed to capitalize on a Rangers defensive zone error to grab a 1-0 lead after one period of play. Braden Holtby was sharp once again in the early going, making several excellent saves. The Capitals played a very sloppy third period, squandered a 2-0 lead but were able to rally late, scoring with 5.7 seconds left in regulation. Alex Ovechkin got #499 with the game winner in overtime. The Capitals led in shots on goal 31-26 for the game. NHL game summary stats can be found here: Individual player stats for the game can be found here: Face-off stats for the game can be found here:
A quiet first ten minutes to open this one up, with the Rangers leading in shots-on-goal 4-2. Washington was called for the game’s first penalty, a hooking call on T.J. Oshie at the 10:10 mark of the first period. The Caps did a decent job of keeping the Rangers on the perimeter, but New York did get three blasts from close range, but could not find he back of the net. The Capital would get their first power play, when the Rangers Jesper Fast was called for hooking at 12:58 of the opening frame, but the Caps could generate very little in the way of offensive-zone pressure, and came up empty. The Capitals’ Tom Wilson was called for holding the stick at 16:57, giving the Rangers their second power play of the first period. The Caps did a good job of disrupting zone entries and keeping the Rangers out of the offensive zone, and would kill the penalty without harm. The Rangers’ Viktor Stalberg was called for interference with 34 second left in the period and it would cost the “Blue Shirts”. Dan Girardi made a poor defensive exit pass and Alex Ovechkin cashed-in with 15 seconds left in the period, for Ovechkin’s 498th career goal.
The first period would end with the Caps leading 1-0. Shots on goal were tied 8-8 after the first period.
Evgeny Kuznetsov was called for hooking at 1:13 of the second period, giving the Rangers their third power play of the game. Braden Holtby made an excellent save on a close-range shot by Nash, keeping the Rangers off the scoreboard. Holtby would make another nice save on a Rangers break away, as the Caps successfully nullified the Rangers man-advantage. Justin Williams would stretch the Caps lead to 2-0 on a nice break-away and deke to beat Lundqvist at 3:56.
Karl Alzner was a blocking machine in this game, making great defensive stops, including this gem:
The second period would end with the Capitals leading 2-0. The Rangers held the lead in shots on goal at 18-16 for the game.
The Capitals would return to the power play at 7:41 on a high-sticking call on Kevin Hayes. The Capitals were a bit sloppy the entire power play and could not convert. The Rangers would tie the game immediately following the Capitals power play on a goal by Kevin Hayes.
The collapse would continue on a Rangers deflected shot at 13:11. The goal was credited to Viktor Stalberg. The Capitals challenged the play for off-sides, but it was ultimately deemed a good goal. The Capitals would tie the game with 5.7 seconds left in the game, on a goal by Nicklas Backstrom.
Alex Ovechkin would win it in overtime on an end-to-end rush, following a great save by Braden Holtby, with help from Nate Schmidt. This would be Ovechkin’s 499th career goal.
— NHL (@NHL) January 9, 2016
The Capitals rally to win 4-3.