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game recap

Ovechkin scores twice, Capitals get past Rangers in OT

Niskanen goal at 2:18 gives Washington win

by Brian McNally / Correspondent

WASHINGTON -- Alex Ovechkin scored two power-play goals, and Matt Niskanen gave the Washington Capitals a 4-3 win against the New York Rangers with his goal at 2:18 of overtime at Capital One Arena on Wednesday.

Niskanen beat goalie Henrik Lundqvist on the rebound of an Evgeny Kuznetsov shot for his first goal of the season.

"Nice to score," Niskanen said. "I didn't do much. [Kuznetsov] did a lot of nice work there. I just had to put it in."


[WATCH: All Rangers vs. Capitals highlights]


John Carlson had a goal and two assists, Nicklas Backstrom had two assists, and Braden Holtby made 29 saves for Washington (3-2-1), which won for the first time in three games.

Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad each had a goal and an assist, and Neal Pionk had three assists for the Rangers (2-4-1), who were coming off a 3-2 shootout win against the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday. Lundqvist made 34 saves.

Video: NYR@WSH: Ovechkin blasts in two PPGs from Carlson

Kreider tipped a Pionk shot on the power play to tie the game 3-3 at 10:25 of the third period.

New York did not have a shot on goal after Kreider scored.

"They're defending Stanley Cup champions for a reason," Pionk said. "We played well, but I think there's little areas of our game we can clean up and come out with a win. Three out of four points (in the back-to-back) is pretty good against pretty good teams, but pretty good just doesn't cut it in this league."

Zibanejad gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead at 6:09 of the first period when he jammed in the rebound of a Kreider shot.

Carlson tied it 1-1 at 14:05. His low shot from the above the right face-off circle came directly off a Backstrom face-off win and beat Lundqvist glove side.

Ovechkin put Washington ahead 2-1 at 3:32 of the second period. Carlson reached to keep a puck in the New York zone, and Ovechkin one-timed a bouncing puck past Lundqvist from the left circle.

Video: EA Sports Overtime Winner: Niskanen wins it for Caps

"I didn't expect him to shoot at all. He hit it hard, so when I realized he shot it, it was just hard to recover," Lundqvist said. "But I should know with that guy he can shoot from anywhere. It didn't look like he was going to shoot it. He received a pass, and then -- boom! -- he shot it, and before you know it, it's coming at you, and I wasn't able to recover. I learned my lesson there. I've played so many times against him I should know to be ready at all times."

The Rangers tied it 2-2 on a power-play goal by Jimmy Vesey at 12:42. He was alone in front after a point shot by Pionk deflected to him off Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly.

Ovechkin scored his second of the night at 17:01 with another one-timer off a Carlson pass to make it 3-2.

It was Ovechkin's 232nd NHL power-play goal, tying Dino Ciccarelli for ninth all time. His 122 multigoal games in the NHL are tied with Mark Messier for 13th all time.

The Capitals were 2-for-4 on the power play and are 9-for-23 (39.1 percent) this season.

"Today, we had really good looks. Everyone knows [Lundqvist] is one of the top goalies in the League. He's going to save it," Ovechkin said. "But nobody knows who's going to take a shot when we play like that. And it's fun to play like that, to be honest with you. When [Backstrom] and when [Kuznetsov] feeling the puck well, they can find you in the right time and the right place. Same with [Carlson]."

Video: NYR@WSH: Kreider redirects shot for power-play goal


They said it

"It's amazing watching them, how calm they are. They don't get rattled. There's a confidence to them and a swagger to them, which they should have. They've been playing together a long time, and they're the defending Stanley Cup champions, so they should play with a swagger." -- Rangers coach David Quinn on the Capitals power play


"In order to completely take [Alex Ovechkin] away, other guys are just too open, and they're good enough to score. Are you going to leave [T.J. Oshie] open in the slot from the hash marks to cover Ovi? Our power play is set up well with what hands guys are and their skill sets, so we have a lot of different options. Guys are good at reading what's open. It's pretty lethal." -- Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen


Need to know

Ovechkin nearly scored a third goal but hit the crossbar with 3:29 left in third period. His 19 hat tricks lead active NHL players. ... Pionk tied his NHL career high for assists in a game. He also had three against the Pittsburgh Penguins on March 14. ... Backstrom has 598 NHL assists, tied with Toronto Maple Leafs forward Patrick Marleau for 88th all time. ... Rangers forward Brett Howden had an assist on Vesey's goal for the first power-play point of his NHL career.


What's next

Rangers: Host the Calgary Flames on Sunday (7 p.m. ET; SN1, MSG, NHL.TV)

Capitals: Host the Florida Panthers on Friday (7 p.m. ET; TVAS, NBCSWA, FS-F, NHL.TV)


Video: Ovechkin, Niskanen lead Capitals to 4-3 win in OT

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