NEW YORK --
Before the Rangers fell to the Capitals 3-2 on Monday night in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference Semifinal series that is tied at 1-1, they erased a 2-0 deficit and were a bounce away from forcing overtime.
Defenseman Michael Del Zotto
was a factor in all of it, picking up a secondary assist on Brad Richards
' goal late in the first period and firing a shot in the third period that deflected off the leg of Ryan Callahan
and became a game-tying power-play goal.
Capitals star Alex Ovechkin
put his team in front with 7:27 left in the third period, but Del Zotto nearly tied the score in the final minute when his long blast rang off the post and deflected away from the net.
It was Del Zotto's second shot of the period that hit the post.
"He played very well," Rangers coach John Tortorella said Tuesday.
Del Zotto, 21, played 25:08 in Game 2, by far his biggest workload of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and a sign he's earning more trust from Tortorella.
"Whatever minutes I get out there, I'm going to play my best," Del Zotto said. "I had some good chances and unfortunately I hit two posts there."
Del Zotto said he's grown more comfortable in his first postseason experience. In his first five games, he had just one assist but has three assists in his last four games.
"It's been fun. I've enjoyed every game," Del Zotto said. "I was happy with my game yesterday. It was a good confidence boost. But getting one late would've nice. But as it goes on, you get more and more comfortable and having more games under your belt definitely helps too. I'm just trying to be better every single day."
Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo