NHL Game Summary - Washington at NY Rangers
(Thursday, February 4th)
Final Score: Washington 6, NY Rangers 5
New York, NY (Sports Network) - Nicklas Backstrom tied a career-high with five points and notched the game-winning goal shortly into the third period, as the Washington Capitals continued their winning ways with a wild 6-5 victory over the New York Rangers.
Backstrom tied another career high with four assists, as the Caps extended their franchise-best win streak to 12. Alex Ovechkin reached yet another milestone, tallying two goals and an assist to give him 500 career points.
"We just want to win," Ovechkin said. "We're pretty confident. Everybody plays for each other. We never give up...I read some books before the game and saw I was three points (from 500). When you go out there, you don't think about it."
Mike Knuble added a goal and an assist, while Boyd Gordon and Tom Poti each scored once in the win. The Caps, who sit atop the NHL with 84 points and haven't lost since January 12, have scored at least five goals in seven games during their streak. Jose Theodore made 33 stops in the victory.
Vinny Prospal had two goals and two assists to lead the Rangers, who scored four power play goals after notching zero in their last seven games. Olli Jokinen recorded his first points for New York, tallying a goal and an assist, while also taking three of the team's nine minor penalties.
"The bottom line is that I have to help this team win hockey games," Jokinen said. "We have to find a way to win because everyone knows where we are in the standings. We have to play every game as a playoff game. We have to take something positive out of every game - we scored five tonight. We have to play a lot better defensively."
Ryan Callahan also had a goal and an assist, and Brandon Dubinsky also scored for the Rangers, who have lost seven of eight games overall. Henrik Lundqvist was assaulted for six goals on 32 shots in defeat.
The teams battled to an entertaining 5-5 tie after the first 41 minutes, and the Caps forged in front for the second time on Backstrom's goal, a wrist shot from the slot that managed to sneak through several players and Lundqvist in front of the net at 5:34.
Following the go-ahead goal, the Rangers were called for three penalties down the stretch, denying them a solid chance to get back into the game. New York had 30 seconds of even-strength time at the end of the game and pulled Lundqvist in favor of an extra attacker, but Washington didn't allow a good scoring opportunity in the final seconds.
The Rangers got the scoring going 8:58 into the game. While on the power play, Jokinen fired a wrister from the slot that Callahan was able to redirect toward the net. The puck glanced off Callahan's stick and then off Theodore's and into the net.
The Caps responded nearly eight minutes later. Matt Bradley's initial shot from the right circle was stopped, but David Steckel picked up the rebound and left a pass for Gordon, who fired the puck above Lundqvist's glove for the game-tying goal.
Just 10 seconds after, at 16:50 of the opening period, Prospal took a feed from Marian Gaborik out in front and beat Theodore top shelf from the front of the left circle for a 2-1 game after 20 minutes.
The second period featured six goals and a pair of lead changes, but New York still remained on top heading into the third.
Washington tied the game, 2-2, on Knuble's 20th goal of the season. Ovechkin carried the puck into the offensive zone and circled around the net, eventually leaving the disc for Backstrom out in front. Backstrom drew Lundqvist to the left and dropped a pass to Knuble, who fired it into the open part of the net at 4:41.
Ovechkin then gave the Capitals their first lead with a power play tally. First, the Russian drilled a slapshot into Chris Drury's midsection, causing Drury's mobility to take a serious hit. Ovechkin got the puck back, circled to the slot and fired a wrister that bounced off Dan Girardi's leg and into the lower right portion of the net at 7:16, making it a 3-2 game.
The Rangers then scored three consecutive power play goals to gain a two-goal advantage.
First it was Jokinen, who tallied his first goal as a Ranger when he grabbed a rebound in front of the net off a deflection and fired it past Theodore at 12:19, tying the game at 3-all.
Then, Washington took two penalties in a three-second span, and Prospal netted his second of the game on the ensuing 5-on-3 to put New York ahead by one 40 seconds after the previous goal.
At 18:48, Dubinsky put the hosts ahead, 5-3, with a backhanded tally off a deflection following a tripping call on Alexander Semin.
But Ovechkin brought Washington to within one entering the third with his 500th career point. He brought the puck down the left side, slipped the disc between defenseman Michal Rozsival's legs before regaining possession and firing a shot at Lundqvist. The puck bounced up over the netminder's head and into the net with under 10 seconds remaining on the clock.
The Caps got a power play only seconds into the third period, and Poti sent a floating shot from the top of the slot that snuck through Knuble's screen in front for the tying goal 59 ticks into the frame.
Caps defenseman Mike Green served the third of his three-game suspension on Thursday...Washington leads the season series, 2-1...New York is 12-14-4 at home, while Washington is 18-9-3 on the road...Despite the scoring surge by both teams, Semin had his 10-game point streak snapped...The Rangers ended 4- for-6 on the power play, while Washington went 3-for-9. New York had failed on its previous 26 chances with the man advantage before Thursday's contest.
02/04 23:02:17 ET