The New York Rangers scored two goals 90 seconds apart to break a 1-1 tie and defeat the Washington Capitals, 3-1 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals Saturday afternoon at Madison Square Garden.
The loss dropped the Capitals to a 1-0 deficit in games for the second straight playoff series.
New York took the lead for good with 13:00 to go in regulation when Chris Kreider took advantage of a bad change by Washington, rushing up the ice and firing a slap shot past Braden Holtby from the top of the offensive zone.
Brad Richards put the game away with 11:30 to go when he picked up a loose puck in the corner to Holtby's right, skated to the front of the net, and beat the young netminder through his five-hole.
The Rangers took a 1-0 lead with 7:22 to go in the second period after Artem Anisimov shrugged off Mike Green and tucked the puck past Braden Holtby on a wraparound chance.
The Capitals should have had at least a penalty moments later when Marcus Johansson was taken out by a diving Ranger while on a breakaway, then collided with Henrik Lundqvist, knocking the puck into the net. However, neither a goal nor a penalty was given, and the face-off was brought out to center ice.
Washington tied the game on a breakout with 3.5 seconds to go in the second period as Brooks Laich flipped a beautiful cross-ice saucer pass to Jason Chimera, who re-directed the puck past Lundqvist.
Game 2 is scheduled for Monday night, beginning at 7:30.