Capitals close with 6 straight goals, beat Rangers 7-3
NEW YORK — Justin Williams had two goals and an assist, Marcus Johansson had a goal and two assists and the Washington Capitals closed with six straight goals to beat the struggling New York Rangers 7-3 on Sunday night.
Washington trailed 3-1 after one period but rallied for its fifth straight win. The Capitals are 24-6-2 and tied with Dallas for the NHL lead with 50 points.
Evgeny Kuznetsov, T.J. Oshie, Alex Ovechkin and Jason Chimera also scored for the Capitals. Nicklas Backstrom added three assists and Braden Holtby made 33 saves.
The Rangers have lost three in a row and six of eight to fall to 19-12-4.
J.T. Miller, Chris Kreider and Dan Boyle scored for New York. Henrik Lundqvist made 19 saves before being pulled, and then Magnus Hellberg made four saves in his NHL debut.
Rangers coach Alain Vigneault broke up his top line of Rick Nash, Derick Brassard and Mats Zuccarello. Nash skated with Brassard and Miller. Zuccarello was put on a line with Tanner Glass and Kevin Hayes.
Williams' ninth of the season opened the scoring at 12:03. Stationed in front of Lundqvist, Williams tipped Taylor Chorney's shot from the left circle into the net to give the Capitals a 1-0 lead.
Miller equalized 99 seconds later with his seventh of the season, and then New York took a 2-1 lead at 15:44 on Kreider's unassisted goal, his sixth of the season. The advantage grew to 3-1 on Boyle's power-play goal with 1:57 left in the period.
In the second period, Kuznetsov lifted a highlight-reel backhander over Lundqvist at 5:25, and Oshie's 13th of the season at 7:01 tied the game 3-3.
Washington took the lead 4:02 later on Ovechkin's power-play goal. Left uncovered in his customary spot in the left circle, the Capitals' captain one-timed Johansson's feed over Lundqvist's glove to put Washington ahead 4-3.
Williams completed the barrage with his second of game — this one on the power play —with less than a minute left in the period.
Lundqvist allowed five goals on 24 shots and was replaced by Hellberg before the start of the third period.
Chimera's short-handed goal 2:26 into the third pushed Washington's lead to 6-3. Johansson's goal 2:10 later ended the scoring.
NOTES: Both teams have one game remaining before the Christmas break. ... New York did not have Antti Raanta (head) and Dan Girard (knee) because of injuries. Viktor Stalberg was scratched. ... Washington scratched Stanislav Galiev and Connor Carrick. ... Sir Paul McCartney was among the 18,006 in attendance at Madison Square Garden.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.