Alex Ovechkin rebounded from a rare zero-shot performance by scoring after 88 seconds on Wednesday and Braden Holtby made 30 saves as the Washington Capitals recovered from a potentially devastating loss by beating the top-seeded New York Rangers 2-1 to force a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference semi-final.
Two nights after blowing a lead in the last 10 seconds of regulation and losing in overtime, the Capitals showed immediately they were over it. Ovechkin’s early power-play goal and Jason Chimera’s second-period score were just enough for the unflappable playoff rookie Holtby.
The teams meet in New York tomorrow to determine who will face the Devils in the conference finals.
Eighty-eight seconds in, Ovechkin dropped to a knee as he powered a slap shot just inside the right post from 9m in front of goalie Henrik Lundqvist.
It was Ovechkin’s 30th career playoff goal, and it came 15 seconds after Rangers defenseman Anton Stralman was sent to the penalty box for tripping.
Another miscue followed: Defenseman Ryan McDonagh wasted a chance to clear the puck, instead sending it along the boards to a Capitals player. That giveaway led to a series of passes by the Capitals — Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green were credited with assists — and an earful for McDonagh from Rangers coach John Tortorella.