Alex Ovechkin penalties spur Rangers' 4-1 win over Caps
WASHINGTON (AP) - About three hours after asking for more respect from NHL officials, Alex Ovechkin was called for two penalties within seconds of each other, leading to a pair of goals that put the New York Rangers ahead for good Sunday in a 4-1 win over the Washington Capitals.
Brian Boyle and Ryan Callahan took advantage of Ovechkin's miscues to give New York a two-goal lead in the second period. Derek Stepan and Brad Richards also scored, and Martin Biron made 28 saves for the Rangers, who have won five of six.
Steve Oleksy scored his first NHL goal for the Capitals, who endured a rough weekend against teams named New York. Washington lost 5-2 on the road against the Islanders on Saturday, a game in which Mike Ribeiro and Jeff Schultz each took double-minors in a span of less than four minutes in the third period, leading to two Islanders goals.
One of Ribeiro's minors was for unsportsmanlike conduct, and Ovechkin said before Sunday's game that "some refs don't like some personalities on our team" and are too quick to call a penalty when they hear a complaint.
"You have to respect us," Ovechkin said. "We're emotional; we're in the game. When we say something bad to linesmen or bad to referees, we can't give them two minutes when they yell at me."
It's worth noting, however, that the rare double-call against Ovechkin on Sunday had nothing to do with yelling at an official. The two-time league MVP tripped Callahan, and then, with the call delayed while New York was pulling the goalie, Ovechkin dragged down Ryan McDonagh from the side for a holding call.
As play continued, Boyle scored his first goal of the season, beating goaltender Braden Holtby glove-side to make the score 2-1 before Ovechkin's first penalty could be assessed.
Ovechkin then went to the box to serve the second infraction, and he watched the score become 4-1 just 41 seconds later, when Rick Nash's one-timer from the right circle grazed Callahan's right leg on the way to the net.
Capitals coach Adam Oates then pulled Holtby in favor of Michal Neuvirth, who hadn't played since Feb. 7 and had recently been sidelined with an illness.
The Capitals had a chance to make up ground when a pair of calls gave them a 5-on-3 power play for 31 seconds late in the second period, but Biron and the Rangers held firm.
Oleksy gave the Capitals an early 1-0 lead, but Stepan tied it on a move in which he skated past the goal line and banked in his shot off the back of Holtby's right skate.
Richards added an insurance goal with 1:12 remaining in the game.
Notes: The game opened a four-game road trip for the Rangers. ... The Capitals had won four straight at home, outscoring their opponents 19-5. ... Washington D John Erskine sat out after sustaining an upper body injury early in Saturday's game, while C Marcus Johansson returned after missing 12 games with a concussion. ... With Neuvirth recovering from his illness, the Capitals assigned goalie Philipp Grubauer to Hershey of the AHL. ... Veteran D Roman Hamrlik, now playing for the Rangers after being claimed off waivers from Washington last week, was a healthy scratch. "He's not in shape," coach John Tortorella said. "He needs work."