Capitals rally from two goal deficit to beat Rangers
WASHINGTON (AP) — Well on their way to ending a troubling skid, the New York Rangers again fell apart when the game was on the line.
They allowed a tying goal to Nic Dowd early in the third period and the go-ahead goal to T.J. Oshie 1:53 later, losing 3-2 to the Washington Capitals on Saturday. The defeat is their fourth in a row and third consecutive in regulation, shrinking their lead atop the Metropolitan Division at the midway point of the NHL season.
“That was one that slipped away from us,” said defenseman Adam Fox, who scored twice and was on the ice for Washington's two third-period goals. “It’s a stretch that we’re kind of going through it, and it is frustrating."
Dowd's third-period goal came after Evgeny Kuznetsov passed the puck to himself off the boards, skated around the net and put a shot on net that Dowd knocked in. Dylan Strome then fed Oshie for a redirection goal in front with 11:31 left in regulation.
“Stromer made everything happen,” Oshie said. "I was just sitting there.”
Anthony Mantha scored his 12th goal of the season on a nifty back-hander in the first after a perfect pass from Connor McMichael. Facing brother Ryan for just the second time in the NHL and with several family members in attendance, Capitals goaltender Charlie Lindgren made 25 saves in his return from injury.
“Felt good getting back out there with the boys,” Lindgren said. “I really started settling in kind of towards the end of the first period, second period, third period — felt good the rest of the game.”
Washington avoided what would have been an eighth loss in 10 games.
The Rangers' third-period collapse only exacerbated what first-year — and former Capitals — coach Peter Laviolette and captain Jacob Trouba each called a “rough patch.”
“We’re not playing terrible hockey,” Trouba said. “You’re going to go through stretches like this. We’re still getting our opportunities. We’re getting pucks to the net. It’s not like we’re getting dominated or run out of buildings. We’re right there.”
For much of the afternoon, it looked like this would be the get-right game for New York, thanks to the goals from Fox, who has scored four in as many games, and a solid showing by Jonathan Quick. The veteran goalie, who is in his first year with his boyhood favorite team after winning the Stanley Cup as the backup for the Vegas Golden Knights, allowed two goals on six shots in the third period after stopping 14 of the first 15 he faced.
“You’re going to lose games you believe you should have won, and you’re going to win some games that maybe you shouldn’t have," Quick said. “But it’s all going to even out over the course of 82 games.”
Mika Zibanejad returned for the Rangers after missing their game Thursday at St. Louis because of an illness.
The Capitals were without injured captain Alex Ovechkin, who was considered a game-time decision. Ovechkin was banged up Jan. 5 against Carolina and has been in and out of practice since.
“That’s a massive hole to try to fill and a massive presence on the bench, on the ice and in our locker room,” Oshie said. "So, everyone needs to give a little bit extra when big (No.) 8 isn’t out there with us. We miss him, and we’re hoping we get him back real soon.”
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