NEW YORK - Marian Gaborik scored his first two pre-season goals with the Rangers, including an unassisted short-handed goal in the second period, and Christopher Higgins snapped a tie with 1:10 left to lift New York to a 3-2 victory over the Washington Capitals on Thursday night.
Gaborik added an assist on the winning goal, that was created when teammate Brandon Dubinsky was levelled in front by Milan Jurcina. The puck popped free and caromed off Higgins' stick and past goalie Jose Theodore.
Henrik Lundqvist made 23 saves for the Rangers, who blew a 3-1 series lead to the Capitals in the first round of last season's playoffs. Theodore stopped 21 shots.
Gaborik gave the Rangers a pair of one-goal leads in the second period, but New York couldn't protect them.
The Rangers' top scoring threat hopped onto the ice and immediately had the puck bounce to him at the Washington blue line after Higgins forced John Erskine into a neutral-zone turnover.
Gaborik darted in alone and snapped a shot from the slot that easily beat goalie Theodore between the pads just 36 seconds into the period and with two seconds left in Michal Rozsival's hooking penalty.
Washington tied it after it appeared that Rangers rookie defenceman Matt Gilroy thwarted a good scoring chance by Alex Ovechkin. Gilroy deftly knocked the puck off the stick of the two-time NHL MVP, but his pass to Artem Anisimov went awry.
Alexander Semin got control of the puck, skated behind the Rangers net and came out with it on his backhand. He switched to the forehand as he glided backward into the right circle, and at the not snapped off a hard wrist shot that beat Lundqvist at 8:51 for an unassisted goal.
Just seven seconds later, new Rangers enforcer Donald Brashear - who has yet to win over the Madison Square Garden crowd because of previous actions with Philadelphia and Washington - dropped his gloves for his first fight with New York.
It didn't go well as 31-year-old Brandon Sugden dropped him with three punches before falling on top. Brashear, who is six years older, got some revenge in a third-period rematch, landing several hard shots along the boards in a lengthy bout that had fans cheering.
Gaborik restored the Rangers' lead with his second of the night and the pre-season at 12:37, finding a loose puck in front during a delayed Washington penalty and shooting it past Theodore. Gaborik has four points in two games after sitting out New York's first four pre-season contests due to groin soreness.
Keith Aucoin tied it 2-2 with three minutes left in the second, steering in a pass from Ovechkin near the right post at the end of a 3-on-1 rush.
The teams will finish the pre-season against each other Sunday in Washington.