The New York Rangers hope a change of venue can get them back into the Eastern Conference quarterfinals when they host the Washington Capitals in Monday's Game 3 at Madison Square Garden.
The Rangers find themselves in an 0-2 hole in this best-of-seven series after losing the first two games in Washington. The third-seeded Capitals notched a 3-1 win in the opener on Thursday and then earned a 1-0 overtime victory in Saturday's Game 2 at Verizon Center.
New York was tied for 15th in the NHL in scoring during the regular season with 2.62 goals per game, but the Blueshirts have managed only one goal over the first two games of this series. Carl Hagelin scored the lone goal for the Rangers with 3:16 left in the first period of Game 1 and New York enters Game 3 mired in a scoring drought of 111 minutes and 16 seconds.
Meanwhile, Mike Green's power-play goal eight minutes into the extra session on Saturday lifted Washington to a 2-0 edge in the series.
The Capitals went on the power play 7:09 into the extra period when Ryan McDonagh was called for a delay of game after shooting the puck over the glass. Mike Ribeiro controlled the puck at the top of the right circle before setting up Green's one-timer from the point.
"He (Ribeiro) does such a great job drawing guys to him and obviously they are on Ovi (Alex Ovechkin), so I just happened to be open and my goal was to get it by the first guy and try to hit the net," Green said.
The call on McDonagh in overtime came after a controversial no-call in the final minute of regulation. With 45.3 seconds remaining in the third period, the puck deflected off Washington defenseman Karl Alzner's stick and out of play in the Rangers' offensive zone. However, the officials conferred and ruled that Alzner did not shoot or bat the puck into the stands and it was therefore not a penalty.
However, before Washington converted on McDonagh's penalty, the Rangers had a power-play of their own in overtime. Washington's Steve Oleksy was called for shooting the puck over the glass just 1:51 into OT, but New York failed to generate a shot on net on the ensuing power play.
The Rangers are 0-for-7 on the power play in this series.
"It's tough. It's tough to lose in overtime especially in a game like this but at the same time, we've got two (games) at home now. We have to take care of business at home. We lost two (games) on the road and we've just got to take care of business in our building now," Rangers captain Ryan Callahan said.
Braden Holtby made 24 saves to record a shutout for Washington, which won its fifth Southeast Division title in six seasons in 2013.
Henrik Lundqvist stopped 37-of-38 shots to take a tough-luck loss for the Rangers, who saw forwards Brian Boyle and Derek Dorsett return to the lineup. Boyle had missed the past seven games with a knee injury while Dorsett, who came over to New York in a trade from the Columbus Blue Jackets on April 3, made his Rangers debut. He had been out of action since March 7 due to a broken clavicle.
The Rangers also could get forward Ryane Clowe back in Game 3 after he sat out the last three games with an undisclosed injury. He participated in a full- contact practice on Sunday and could see his first action since playing in New York's second-to-last game of the regular season.
Clowe was acquired from San Jose at the trade deadline and posted three goals and five assists in 12 games with the Rangers.
New York defenseman Marc Staal hasn't played since suffering a serious eye injury on March 5, but he hopes to return for this series. He status for Game 3 is uncertain.
The Rangers, who will also host Game 4 on Wednesday, went 16-6-2 as the host during the regular season. Washington was 12-10-2 as the road team.
These two clubs are familiar foes in the postseason of late, as this is the fourth time in the past five years they have met. The Capitals took the first two matchups, but the Rangers won a seven-game series in the conference semifinals last year.
Washington has won four of the seven all-time playoff series between these two clubs, but the Rangers took two of three from the Capitals in the regular season