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Monday, April 30, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Capitals 3, Rangers 2

By Katie Strang



Recap | Box score | Photos

What it means: With one single play, Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin managed to climb his way out of coach Dale Hunter's doghouse and silence the Madison Square Garden crowd.

After being limited to a mere 3:33 in the first period, Ovechkin made his presence felt with the go-ahead goal with 7:27 to play in the third to give Washington a 3-2 win against the New York Rangers and tie the series 1-1 in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. Off the draw, Ovechkin ripped a blistering wrist shot through traffic for a power-play marker that snapped his two-game goal drought.

After scoring, Ovechkin raised his hand to his ear in response to the crowd's taunts through the first two games of the series.

All tied up: Trailing 2-1 in the third, the Rangers tied the score with their first power-play goal in three games. With Washington's Mike Knuble in the box serving a high-sticking penalty, New York tallied the equalizer off Michael Del Zotto's blast from the point. Rangers captain Ryan Callahan was credited with the goal, which appeared to first glance off John Carlson's stick, at 6:58 of the third.

Boyle is back: Brian Boyle returned for the Rangers after missing three straight games with a concussion suffered in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals on Saturday. Boyle centered the team’s third line between wingers Ruslan Fedotenko and Brandon Prust.

Bad turnover for Bickel: Defenseman Stu Bickel's turnover in the first period proved costly, as the Capitals, well, Capital-ized. After Bickel coughed the puck up along the boards, Washington executed a nice tic-tac-toe passing play to set up Knuble at the right post for a 1-0 Caps lead at 12:20 of the first.

Gaborik gets involved: Making perhaps his best play of the postseason, struggling sniper Marian Gaborik faked a shot before dishing off to Brad Richards in front for a goal that cut the Caps' lead in half, 2-1 with 42.4 seconds remaining in the first. Although he has recorded assists in two consecutive contests, Gaborik has been held without a goal for eight straight games.