Washington, DC – The Capitals lived to fight another game.
Facing elimination, Washington got 30 saves from rookie goaltender Braden Holtby to take a 2-1 win over the New York Rangers to stave off elimination in Game 6 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series.
Alex Ovechkin and Jason Chimera each posted a goal while Nicklas Backstrom added two assists for the Capitals, who will have to win a Game 7 on the road for a second straight series if they want to advance.
"There's a lot of character in that room," said Washington head coach Dale Hunter. "We caught some bad breaks in the last game, but these guys worked their tails off tonight and got the job done."
In the quarterfinals, the Capitals defeated the Bruins in overtime, 2-1, in Game 7 in Boston to move into the semifinals.
This time they will have to win at the world-famous Madison Square Garden as the deciding game is set for Saturday night.
Marian Gaborik scored in the final minute while Henrik Lundqvist turned away 21 shots for the Rangers, who won a Game 7 at home against Ottawa in the opening round.
"We had a slow start tonight and they were able to take advantage of it," said New York forward Ryan Callahan. "But we have home ice. It's what you fight for all season long and this is where it pays off."
The Capitals took advantage of an early power play to take the lead. With Anton Stralman in the box for tripping, a faceoff win saw Washington control the puck in the New York end, and crisp passing was finished off on a one- timer in the slot by Ovechkin that beat Lundqvist to the glove at the 1:28 mark.
The score stayed that way until halfway through the second period when Washington took a 2-0 lead. John Carlson fired a shot on net from near the right boards that hit off the skate of Backstrom to the right of the net. The puck then went to the left side and Chimera snapped it home with 9:01 left in the second.
Holtby stopped 20 shots and helped the team kill off four power plays through the first two periods, including a pair in the second off a pair of high sticking minors to Jeff Halpern.
He nearly posted his first playoff shutout, but Gaborik spoiled that with under a minute to play as his shot from the right circle hit off the back of Carlson and snuck into the net.
The goal came with just 50.5 seconds remaining, though, and the Rangers were unable to net the equalizer.
The past five games in this series have been decided by one goal...New York went 0-for-5 on the power play while Washington was 1-for-3...Ovechkin has five goals in the playoffs...This is the seventh playoff series between the clubs. Washington has won four of them...The Rangers are 4-0 all-time in Game 7s at the Garden.