Backstrom, Ovechkin lead Caps to 3-2 shootout win
NEW YORK (AP) - Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin scored in the shootout and regulation to give the Washington Capitals a 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers on Sunday night.
Braden Holtby made 30 saves in regulation and overtime and stopped three of four Rangers in the shootout as the Capitals extended their winning streak to three.
Arron Asham and Derek Stepan had New York's goals in regulation and Henrik Lundqvist stopped 22 shots.
Ovechkin scored in the second round of the shootout, only to see Derek Stepan tally for New York to knot it at 1-1 after three rounds.
After Holtby denied Brad Richards, Backstrom beat Lundqvist to decide the contest in the fourth round.
With the point, the Rangers moved into eighth place in the Eastern Conference. They have 33 points, one more than the Carolina Hurricanes, who have played one less game.
The Capitals dominated early before the Rangers took charge late as the teams deadlocked at 2 after one period.
Backstrom and Ovechkin staked Washington to a 2-0 lead.
Backstrom got a power-play tally at 7:54 on a fluky play. Ovechkin fired a shot from the left circle deflected by a Rangers defender into Lundqvist. The puck popped into the air and deflected off Backstrom's chest. The goal was confirmed by a video review.
Ovechkin extended his goal-scoring streak to five games at 9:45, deflecting Steve Oleksy's point shot for his 16th goal.
The momentum shifted as the Rangers got a goal from an unlikely source when Asham snapped a shot past Holtby's glove to put New York on the board at 14:12. He had missed the 15 previous games with a back injury.
The Rangers then cashed in on a 5-on-3 advantage for the equalizer at 18:03 as Stepan scored from a sharp angle to Holtby's right.
There were fewer scoring chances in the scoreless second period.
Washington squandered a 5-on-3 early in the period and Holtby stopped Marian Gaborik's breakaway bid midway through.
The Capitals came close in the last minute when Mike Ribeiro blasted a shot off Lundqvist's mask that staggered the Rangers netminder and the follow-up hit the crossbar.
In the third, Rangers captain Ryan Callahan hit the post early on while the Caps Marcus Johansson completely missed the net on a rush down the left wing after stripping the puck from Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi.
The Caps had a pair goalmouth chances in the final seconds, but Lundqvist denied Troy Brouwer and Brooks Laich to send the game into overtime.
The Rangers pressed hard for the winner at the start of the extra period with Callahan testing Holtby. Then it was the Caps turn at the other end as Lundqvist stood his ground when Ovechkin cut to the net.
NOTES: The Rangers assigned D Stu Bickel to Connecticut (AHL). ... The Rangers wore their heritage jerseys, while the Caps donned their retro jerseys.
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3/24/2013 10:10:58 PM (GMT -4:00)