51° Good Evening
51° Good Evening

Derek Stepan's overtime goal gives Rangers 2-1 win over Capitals in Game 7

Rangers react after Game 7 win in OT

Derek Stepan scored the winning goal in overtime as the Rangers beat the Washington Capitals, 2-1, in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at Madison Square Garden on May 13, 2015. (Newsday/Robert Cassidy)

The Rangers survived another dramatic Game 7 on Wednesday night and are headed for the Eastern Conference finals.

Derek Stepan scored on a rebound from the lower left circle at 11:24 of overtime to give the Rangers a 2-1 win over the Capitals at Madison Square Garden.

The victory was the 14th consecutive one-goal game in the playoffs for the Rangers (extending their NHL record) and their first overtime Game 7 since May 22, 1994, when Stephane Matteau won it in double overtime to beat the Devils.

Henrik Lundqvist made 35 saves and won his sixth straight Game 7.

The Rangers are 6-0 in Game 7s since 2012 and 10-0 in elimination games at home.

They also became the first team in NHL history to overcome a 3-1 playoff deficit in consecutive seasons. Last year they rallied to beat the Penguins.

The Capitals led 1-0 on Alex Ovechkin's goal 12:50 into the first period and the score stayed that way through 20 minutes.

Then 59 seconds into the second period, Braden Holtby (37 saves) stopped Rick Nash cutting between the circles and the carryover power play for 1:27 ended. Dom Moore was hauled down by Mike Green cutting to the net for a third power play and Derick Brassard hit the near post from above the left circle, and the Capitals survived.

But on the fourth power play, the Rangers tied it. Green drilled Dan Girardi with a cross-check from behind into the boards at 4:34, and with time running out with the man advantage Kevin Hayes darted to the right post and scored off a nifty cross-ice pass from J.T. Miller at 6:22 and the Rangers were 3-for-17 on the power play in the series.

Hayes became the first Rangers rookie to score in a Game 7 since Muzz Patrick did it in 1939.

Ovechkin remained dangerous. Girardi tied him up on a rush, but he still got a shot off with 8:06 left that Lundqvist had to grab. Jesper Fast's trip on Jay Beagle gave the Capitals another man advantage with 7:47 left and Lundqvist had to make a right pad save on Ovechkin just before the penalty ended. The Capitals were 1-for 15 on the power play in the series.

The Capitals came out with their best first period of the series. Ovechkin set the tone with hits on Ryan McDonagh and Girardi early and Holtby stopped the first Rangers chance, a snap shot from Stepan at 2:58. A Martin St. Louis giveaway pass led to a terrific save by Lundqvist on Beagle on the doorstep. James Sheppard was then called for interference on Tim Gleason in the neutral zone at 6:23 and Lundqvist made a stick save on Ovechkin's one-timer from the left circle.

The Rangers' first power play came with Evgeny Kuznetsov in the box for interference at 8:45, but the Blueshirts couldn't cash in.

Rick Nash's icing led to a faceoff in the circle to the right of Lundqvist, which the Rangers lost. Marcus Johansson slid the puck to Ovechkin, who skated into the slot with McDonagh pursuing and scored from 15 feet at 12:50 for the 1-0 lead. The goal quieted the Garden crowd, which had been one of the loudest of the season.

With 4:31 left, Holtby was in position to deny a shot by a trailing Girardi, and the Rangers went down a man again when Brassard was whistled for a trip on Kuznetsov at 16:34. After making a save, Lundqvist had to push Troy Brouwer's stick away with his glove.

But the telling moment came when Nash was denied on shorthanded breakaway with 2:18 left. He drew Holtby to the glove side and tried to go five-hole with his backhander, but it hit Holtby's left pad.

With 34 seconds left the Rangers went on their second power play when Beagle was sent off for holding Fast.


We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

Top Photos & Videos