WASHINGTON -- The Washington Capitals need one more win to advance to the Eastern Conference Semifinals for the third straight season.
Mike Ribeiro scored the winning goal 9:24 into overtime to give the Capitals a 2-1 victory in Game 5 of the conference quarterfinals at Verizon Center on Friday. Braden Holtby and Henrik Lundqvist traded big saves in OT before Ribeiro slammed a deflected shot past Lundqvist from the slot to give Washington a 3-2 lead in the best-of-7 series.
With the Toronto Maple Leafs beating the Boston Bruins earlier Friday evening, Game 6 between the Rangers and Capitals will start at 4:30 p.m. ET on Sunday at Madison Square Garden (CNBC, TSN).
"All game we were grinding and pucks were in the skates, the puck was bouncing," Ribeiro said. "It just showed up there at the right time, right moment. We'll take this win."
The sequence for the winning goal started when Mike Green gloved the puck down at the right point to hold it in.
Rangers forward Derick Brassard tried to swipe the puck out of the zone from between the hash marks, but it went directly to Green, who quickly moved it across the zone to Karl Alzner for a shot that appeared to hit off Anton Stralman's skate. The carom came right to Ribeiro, who had position on John Moore, allowing him to quickly sweep it into the net while Lundqvist was caught far out on the opposite side.
Troy Brouwer was credited with the primary assist because the official scorekeeper ruled Alzner's shot also got a piece of his skate before going to Ribeiro.
"It's a tough situation," Brassard said. "Next time I've got to make sure [the puck] is out and if the puck is out [of the zone], it's probably a different situation right now."
Lundqvist, who made 33 saves, fell to 3-10 in overtime during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
"Frustrating and disappointing, but it's not over," is how Lundqvist described the loss. "We have to go home and regroup. It's going to be a tough couple hours and then you just forget about it."
It didn't help the Rangers that Rick Nash was again held off the scoresheet. Nash has no goals and one assist in the series after leading the Rangers during the regular season with 21 goals. He didn't have a shot on goal through regulation, though he was credited with two in overtime.
"Right now I just have to work out of this slump," Nash said.
Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin felt his team deserved the win after the way it played following a tough start in the first period.
Brian Boyle scored 53 seconds into the game to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead and Washington hurt itself with penalties, including a boarding call by Jason Chimera at 4:40 and an elbowing minor to John Erskine just over five minutes later.
Chimera boarded Ryane Clowe, whose head hit the glass. Clowe played one more shift before leaving the game. The Rangers did not specify the nature of his injury or provide an update on Clowe, who returned in Game 4 after missing four straight games with an undisclosed injury that was speculated to be a concussion.
Washington killed off both penalties to keep the deficit at one goal heading into the first intermission.
When the Capitals finally got a power play opportunity 7:33 into the second period, they needed 11 seconds to cash in. Joel Ward scored with a one-timer from between the circles after some pretty passing by Nicklas Backstrom and Marcus Johansson.
"We know if we're going to play our way, we're going to stay focused, do the same thing every shift and we're going to get chances," Ovechkin said. "It's a situation where we need to be patient and it's a good thing we have that kind of patience now. We just have to relax right now. It's a big win, enjoy this win and [Saturday] get ready for a big one."
Boyle put Washington on the power play when he was caught taking a baseball swing at Ribeiro's legs following a Capitals' scoring chance. Boyle was called for slashing and sat in the box for a grand total of 11 seconds.
"It's a dumb penalty and you don't kill those off," Rangers coach John Tortorella said. "That's a guy that is playing really well for us, but it's a dumb penalty."
The Capitals weren't done on the PK. They had to kill off two more -- holding on Jack Hillen and delay of game on John Carlson -- over the final 5:07 of the second period, but they did so by blocking seven shots over the two kills.
"We just were simple," Alzner said. "The guys were just doing the right things; getting pucks out when they had to and Holtsy made the saves."
Lundqvist kept the Capitals from winning earlier in overtime when he made a brilliant save with his left pad on Mathieu Perreault, who broke in behind Stralman thanks to a pass from Ward. Perreault was mad because he said he didn't need to shoot it into Lundqvist's pad.
"I tried to slide it five-hole and I don't know why," he said. "I had the whole far side wide open but the time I realized it was too late. I literally shot it on his pad. It's a good save."
The goalies traded saves during a sequence roughly six minutes later. Holtby stopped Carl Hagelin in front and Lundqvist got himself in front of Ovechkin's one-timer with 12:08 left in overtime. Holtby quickly answered with a pad save on Nash.
However, Ribeiro scored the winner 38 seconds later, giving Washington a chance to close it out Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden.
"I don't think there's too many things better than having a chance to beat a team in their rink, especially a rink as tough as that one," Alzner said. "We're fortunate to be in that spot. They're not going to go down; they got a great team and we're expecting a good one."
|Jason Chimera Boarding against Ryane Clowe|
|John Erskine Elbowing against Carl Hagelin|
|Brian Boyle Slashing against Mike Ribeiro|
|Jack Hillen Holding against Rick Nash|
|John Carlson Delaying Game-Puck over glass|
|Michael Del Zotto Interference against Mathieu Perreault|
|1st OT Period|