Alexander Ovechkin‘s goal 1:25 into overtime gave the Capitals a come-from-behind 4-3 win over the Rangers Saturday afternoon at The Garden, thwarting a dramatic 3rd period rally by the Blueshirts. The goal was the 499th of Ovechkin’s NHL career.
The Rangers entered the 3rd period trailing 2-0, after playing two arguably listless periods of hockey, and came alive in the 3rd period to take a 3-2 lead, But Nicklas Backstrom scored with :06 to play in regulation to send the game to overtime, setting the stage for Ovechkin.
Backstrom’s late goal was a bit reminiscent of Joel Ward‘s goal with 1.3 seconds to play in the opening game of the Rangers’ 2nd round playoff series with the Capitals last spring. In that game, though, Ward’s goal was the game-winner.
Ovechkin opened the scoring with a power play goal late in the 1st period. Dan Girardi skated behind the Rangers’ net and attempted a pass to Dominic Moore, but Ovechkin stole the puck and shot it past Henrik Lundqvist with :15 to go in the period.
The Capitals made it 2-0 at 3:56 of the 2nd period on a goal by Justin Williams.
Then in the 3rd period, the Rangers mounted their rally. Oscar Lindberg broke a 12-game scoring drought with a goal at 5:54 from the right face-off circle past Braden Holtby to make it 2-1.
Then, midway through the period, the Rangers tied it 2-2. Kevin Hayes, seconds after the leaving the penalty box, knocked the puck past Holtby at 9:48 for his first goal in 18 games. Ryan McDonagh passed the puck toward the crease, and Hayes put it home.
Minutes later, the Blueshirts took a 3-2 lead in dramatic fashion. Keith Yandle‘s shot from just inside the blue line was redirected by Viktor Stalberg for a goal at 13:11, Stalberg’s 6th goal of the season.
Despite Ovechkin’s heroics, the Rangers came away with a point. Now 22-14-5 (49 pts), they host the Boston Bruins Monday night at The Garden.