New York

Game Recap

Washington Capitals 2, New York Rangers 3 FINAL

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:51 AM

Associated Press

Share with your Friends

Washington Capitals 2, New York Rangers 3 FINAL
Washington Capitals 2, New York Rangers 3

NEW YORK (AP) _ Mark Messier spoke about Brian Leetch in hushed tones as he stood next to his former teammate's eerily empty stall.

Sure the New York Rangers had just earned a rare victory, 3-2 Friday night over the Washington Capitals, but the postgame questions mostly centered on Leetch _ traded away two days earlier in a roster purge.

``His place in the team's history and in the hearts of New Yorkers is well-entrenched,'' Messier said. ``He carried himself on and off the ice in a way you'd want a Ranger to act.''

The Rangers played their first home game since Leetch, leading forwards Alex Kovalev and Petr Nedved, and backup goalie Jussi Markkanen were traded.

New York is facing a seventh straight year without a postseason appearance, and unpopular general manager Glen Sather started a sudden rebuilding phase by making three major deals in under 24 hours.

Leetch's equipment and nameplate were gone from the space next to Messier's. His presence was felt, however, in Madison Square Garden _ the arena Leetch called home for 17 seasons.

Those who attended Friday alternated between derisive chants for Sather and calls of ``Go Leafs Go!'' and ``We Want Leetch Back!'' Some marched through the aisles with paper bags covering their heads.

``We came in wanting to win the Stanley Cup,'' Messier said. ``To not even have a chance to play for the Stanley Cup is disappointing.''

Jason LaBarbera made 19 saves for his first NHL victory and assisted on Bobby Holik's winning goal.

LaBarbera and former Capitals star Jaromir Jagr set up Holik's goal, scored with 9:16 left. Messier had a goal and an assist, and Chris Simon also scored for New York, which snapped a four-game winless streak.

``It was just fun to be out there and the whole atmosphere in the Garden,'' LaBarbera said. ``It was a pretty cool experience.''

Trent Whitfield and Kip Miller had goals for the Capitals, 1-5-1 in their last seven. Sebastien Charpentier stopped 19 shots in his third start in five games. Before that, Charpentier hadn't played since Oct. 23 because of a hip injury.

Many fans chose to stay away from this game that pitted the Rangers against one of the few teams with a worse record than theirs.

``The fans have the right to do and say and express their opinion the way they want,'' Holik said. ``We've given them plenty of reasons to be the way they are. All we can do now is just make the rest of the year more pleasant for them.''

The Capitals have more than just a poor record in common with the Rangers. They, too, are involved in an overhaul of their roster that began in January when they dealt Jagr to New York.

``We're still trying, even though we're out of the playoffs,'' Charpentier said. ``Here are two teams cleaning up salaries, getting younger, out of the playoffs. You got a hell of a game.''

This week, Washington sent defenseman Sergei Gonchar and forward Michael Nylander to Boston. Robert Lang, near the top of the NHL scoring list, was dealt to Detroit last Friday _ following the trade that sent Peter Bondra to Ottawa.

Just hours after Gonchar was traded, the Rangers dealt the popular Leetch to Toronto on Wednesday, making Sather even more of a villain.

``He'll never be forgotten here,'' said forward Matthew Barnaby, another candidate to be traded away. ``It won't be the last time his name is chanted here.''

New York is 12th in the 15-team Eastern Conference. Washington is mired in 14th, leading only Pittsburgh.

The Rangers took a 1-0 lead with 2:27 left in the first period on the 14th goal by former Capitals player Simon _ another veteran on the block.

Washington tied it at 9:27 of the second while killing a penalty for too many men on the ice. Jeff Halpern came in on a two-on-one and found Whitfield in the crease for his first goal in 16 games, dating to the Capitals' last meeting with the Rangers on Jan. 28. Halpern also set up Miller's power-play goal 2:21 later.

Messier scored his 17th goal at 13:33 of the second.

scoring summary
1st Period
Chris Simon (14) ASST: Mark Messier (19), Tom Poti (13)
1 - 0 NYR
2nd Period
SHG - Trent Whitfield (4) ASST: Jeff Halpern (17)
1 - 1 Tie
PPG - Kip Miller (7) ASST: Jeff Halpern (18)
2 - 1 WSH
Mark Messier (17) ASST: Matthew Barnaby (20), Fedor Tyutin (2)
2 - 2 Tie
3rd Period
PPG - Bobby Holik (19) ASST: Jaromir Jagr (39), Jason LaBarbera (1)
3 - 2 NYR
Power Play Stats
Power Plays1/41/6
Power Play %26.8%19.7%
% on Road25.0%24.0%
% at Home27.9%16.7%
League Rank3rd15th
penalty summary
1st Period
Matthew Barnaby  Fighting (maj) against  Darcy Verot
Darcy Verot  Slashing
Darcy Verot  Fighting (maj) against  Matthew Barnaby
Joel Kwiatkowski  Tripping - Obstruction against  Dan Lacouture
Matthew Barnaby  Cross checking against  Alexander Semin
Chris Simon  Holding stick - Obstruction against  Jeff Halpern
2nd Period
Brad Norton  Roughing against  Jamie Lundmark
Darcy Verot  Fighting (maj) against  Garth Murray
Garth Murray  Fighting (maj) against  Darcy Verot
Kip Miller  Too many men/ice - bench
Chris Simon  Interference against  Bates Battaglia
Matthew Barnaby  Roughing against  Darcy Verot
Darcy Verot  Roughing against  Matthew Barnaby
Todd Rohloff  Hooking against  Martin Rucinsky
3rd Period
Ken Gernander  Hooking
Kip Miller  Hooking against  Ken Gernander
goalie stats
Sebastien Charpentier
SA: 22TOI: 58:48
Saves: 19EV: 13 - 15
PIM: 0PP: 6 - 7
SV%: .864SH: 0 - 0
Jason LaBarbera
SA: 21TOI: 60:00
Saves: 19EV: 13 - 13
PIM: 0PP: 5 - 6
SV%: .905SH: 1 - 2