NEW YORK -- In a game that was decided by a few costly mistakes, the New York Rangers found themselves down a man after taking two consecutive penalties in the third period. They ended up falling 3-2 to the Washington Capitals as a result.
After a pivotal penalty kill on Brian Boyle's holding-the-stick infraction midway through the third, the Rangers' momentum was quickly erased when they went down a man 36 seconds later.
Brad Richards was whistled on a borderline holding penalty at 12:29 of the third and it took the Capitals only four seconds to Capital-ize.
Limited to a mere 9:14 in the first two periods of play, Capitals star Alex Ovechkin responded by ripping a blistering wrist shot through traffic to snap a 2-2 draw and beat Henrik Lundqvist for his first goal in three games.
The clinching goal, which ultimately tied the series 1-1, sapped the life out of the Madison Square Garden crowd and Ovechkin took pleasure in rubbing it in. Ever the showman, he raised his hand to his ear in response to the fans' merciless taunts through the first two games of the series.
"You battle back as hard as we did and you can't take four minutes in penalties late," a fire-breathing and visibly annoyed John Tortorella said after the game.
Richards said the contact he made with John Carlson on the play was more "reactionary" than anything, but took culpability, regardless.
"We just killed a big one, so [I] can't take another one," he said.
It was the first man-up goal surrendered by a superior Rangers penalty-kill that had thwarted six straight Capitals power-play attempts through the first two games of the series.
"It's tough," said Lundqvist, who gave up three goals on 25 shots. "We killed off that [Boyle] penalty and went back on the PK again. They are a skilled team. If you give them enough chances on their power-play, they're gong to hurt us."
Now heading to Washington for Game 3 with the series tied 1-1, the Rangers find themselves in the exact same situation they were in just two weeks ago against the Ottawa Senators.
"It's going to be tough, that's for sure," Lundqvist said. "They're a good team and we're not expecting this to be easy at all. It's going to be a challenge to go into their building and try to get a couple of wins."
Captain Ryan Callahan, who along with Richards scored one of the teams' two goals, said the team needs to elevate the intensity as they take the series on the road.
"We have to grate more," he said. "It's a matter of trying to win every battle. They came out hard, but we have a good group in here. We have to go into Washington now and try to get Game 3."