New York, NY – Derek Stepan scored the go-ahead goal on the power play early in the third period, and Henrik Lundqvist made 27 saves to lead the New York Rangers to a 2-1 victory over Washington at Madison Square Garden.
Carl Hagelin had the other goal for the Rangers, who have now registered at least one point in nine of their last 12 contests (8-3-1) after dropping the first two games of the season.
"I think special teams are key," Lundqvist said. "Lately, the PK (penalty kill) has been great, the power play's getting really good. I think that's a huge part of having success in this league is having special teams go well for you."
John Carlson had the goal for the Capitals, who had a season-high, three-game winning streak broken. Braden Holtby stopped 38 shots.
"We took too many penalties and it ended up costing us," Capitals coach Adam Oates said. "We didn't give them a lot of chances, but we still made a lot of mistakes."
A tripping penalty on Karl Alzner gave the Rangers a power play 4:18 into the third period. The hosts made the Caps pay only seven seconds later after some nice passing from Brad Richards and Michael Del Zotto. Richards sent the puck to Del Zotto in the right circle. Del Zotto delivered the disc to Stepan on the doorstep at the left of the net and he lifted the puck over Holtby's pad.
The Caps were given a power play with under seven minutes left when Rick Nash went off for tripping. Lundqvist turned aside a left circle shot from Alex Ovechkin halfway through the power play. Ovechkin was wide on a one-timer from the same circle as the man-advantage came to an end.
Washington pulled Holtby for an extra attacker, but New York's Ryan Callahan blocked a shot in the closing minute. In the final few seconds, Joel Ward's deflection attempt on a shot from Ovechkin was turned aside.
The Caps broke on top 79 seconds into the game on Carlson's blast from above the right circle. Mike Ribeiro picked up his 400th career assist on the play.
Rangers center Darroll Powe, playing in his 300th career game, had to be assisted off the ice early in the second period. Powe went down at center ice after an accidental collision with Washington center Matt Hendricks. Powe, who appeared to hit his head on the ice, was helped to the boards by teammates Stepan and Arron Asham before going to the dressing room.
The Rangers tied the game on their 30th shot of the night. Hagelin was in front and deflected a shot from the point by Ryan McDonagh at the 7:39 mark of the second period.
"We were on the puck and winning draws, that's where it starts," Hagelin said. "When you win draws, you get the puck and they can't be as aggressive."
Lundqvist made a pad stop in front by Wojtek Wolski a short time later. Last season's Vezina Trophy winner had nine stops in the middle period.
Capitals defenseman Mike Green missed the game due to a lower body injury and teammate Marcus Johansson didn't play the finale of a three-game road trip due to an upper body ailment ... The Blueshirts' penalty kill has held opponents scoreless in each of the last five contests ... The Rangers have posted a record of 18-3-2 in their last 23 games against Southeast Division opponents ... The Rangers have won six of their last eight regular season games against the Capitals, out-scoring Washington, 28-15, over the span.