The Washington Capitals defeated the New York Rangers 2-1 with a fluky goal to win their Eastern Conference playoff series four games to three.
The Rangers looked like the best team for most of the game but Sergei Fedorov scored the game-winner with 4:59 left in the third period.
The Rangers got the first goal of the game on a play started by Sean Avery. Dubinsky and Avery outworked Washington’s Brian Pothier and Sergei Fedorov. Avery got possession of the puck and slipped it back to Antropov who got a quick pass to Dubinsky at the goal line. Dubinsky made an excellent return pass to Antropov and he gave the Rangers a very crucial 1-0 lead.
The new line of Avery, Dubinski, and Antropov was excellent, keeping the puck in the Capitals end whenever they were on the ice, and Avery was the Rangers best forward for the night.
The Rangers dominated the first period. On the first shift of the game, Avery drove hard to the net and got two good shots on Simeon Varlamov and seconds later Nik Antropov had a breakaway but Varlamov stopped him.
Antropov scored on his next attempt. His goal gave New York a 1-0 lead six minutes into the game. A shot by Alexander Semin tied the game with four minutes left in the first period. His shot was re-directed into the net by Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi.
The Rangers had a new fourth line, as well, with Fredrik Sjostrom, Aaron Voros, and rookie Artem Anisimov—called up from Hartford to take the place of injured center Blair Betts. They had several strong shifts.
All the Rangers played with Avery-like energy.
Avery played 21 minutes, had two shots, three attempted shots, one missed shot, four hit, and also won a couple of face-offs. He had no penalties.
Avery was hit hard by Ovechkin, with no penalty, and he took a horrible hit from Federov that left him limping in the third period, also with no penalty. Federov hit him in the head and, at the same time, hit him with his knee. A penalty to Washington at that time might have changed the outcome of the game and the series.
Ovechkin went pointless but had five shots, two hits, a couple of giveaways, and was not much of a factor except for a couple of good scoring opportunities.
The loss marked the first time in franchise history that the Rangers dropped a best-of-seven series they had led 3-1 after four games, according to newyorkrangers.com.
Lundqvist was sensational, especially in the third period.