Caps can't keep up with Rangers in Game 3

Caps can't keep up with Rangers in Game 3
May 6, 2013, 10:00 pm
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New York Rangers center Brian Boyle (22) watches a goal scored by New York Rangers center Derick Brassard (not pictured) on Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby (70) during the second period in game three of the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs at Madison Square Garden.

(Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports)

NEW YORK -- Instant analysis of the Capitals’ 4-3 loss to the Rangers Monday night at Madison Square Garden.

How it happened: In a game in which no lead was safe, Derek Stepan scored with 6:25 remaining to give the Rangers the victory and draw the Rangers to within 2-1 in the best-of seven series.

What it means: The Caps have now gone 22 straight playoff series without gaining a 3-0 series lead on an opponent. They are now 0-7 in Game 3s after winning the first two games.

What’s next: The Caps will look to go up 3-1 in the series when it resumes in New York on Wednesday night.

Goal-by-goal: Caps 1, Rangers 0: Nicklas Backstrom did most of the grunt work, holding off Anton Stralman before dishing the puck to John Erskine and skating to the slot, where he redirected John Carlson’s shot with a borderline high stick that was ruled a goal after a review. It was Backstrom’s 15th career playoff goal and first of the series.

Rangers 1, Caps 1: At the tail end of a power play [Joel Ward for high sticking] Brian Boyle walked in on Braden Holtby and fired a shot between the legs of Mike Green and inside the near post for his first goal of the series and fourth career playoff tally.

Rangers 2, Caps 1: After Holtby took a tripping penalty on Rick Nash just 75 seconds into the second period, Derick Brassard roofed a shot over Holtby for his first of the playoffs and first career playoff goal.

Caps 2, Rangers 2: With 2:41 remaining in the second period Mike Green finished off a strong forecheck by the line of Mathieu Perreault, Jason Chimera and Eric Fehr by lifting a shot over Lundqvist.

Rangers 3, Caps 2: With 2:53 gone in the third period Arron Asham found a seam in the low slot and caught a pass from Derick Brassard, who took a hit from John Erskine to make a play in front.  Brassard lifted the puck over Holtby for his first career playoff goal.

Caps 3, Rangers 3: Matt Hendricks beat Brian Boyle on a faceoff, allowing Joel Ward to get it to Jack Hillen for a shot that deflected off Jay Beagle and into the right corner of the net. It was Beagle’s second career playoff goal.

Rangers 4, Capitals 3: After two nice keep-ins at the blue line by Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh, Derek Stepan cruised through the slot to tap a Rick Nash pass/shot past Holtby for the game-winner with 6:25 remaining in the third period.

Hits of the night: Ryan Callahan plastered John Erskine with an open-ice check in the first period that forced Erskine to miss the start of the second period. Earlier in the first period Joel Ward and Darroll Powe collided and  Ward appeared to elbow Powe in the collision. Powe appeared woozy after the hit and did not return.

Saves of the night: Lundqvist had the biggest, stopping Mike Ribeiro all alone in front with 7 minutes remaining in the second period to keep the Rangers ahead by one.

Return of Staal: Defenseman Marc Staal returned to the Rangers lineup for the first time since suffering an eye injury on March 5. He played on a second defense pairing with Anton Stralman and replaced former Capital Steve Eminger.