New York, NY – Derick Brassard scored the game's lone goal and Henrik Lundqvist posted a 27-save shutout to backstop the New York Rangers' 1-0 victory over the Washington Capitals on Sunday to force a Game 7 in this Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.
Lundqvist, making his 60th consecutive postseason start between the pipes, stopped 12 shots over the final 20 minutes to secure his seventh career playoff shutout and force a decisive Game 7 on Monday in Washington, where the Rangers have yet to win a game in this series.
"I feel like they always come a little harder in their home building, but we can build on this one," Lundqvist said. "From the get-go we did all the things we talked about...forechecked, played physical. It was fun."
Braden Holtby played admirably in defeat, stopping 28-of-29 shots, but the Capitals were unable to solve the reigning Vezina Trophy winner Lundqvist in falling for the third straight time at Madison Square Garden.
"We've been taking too many penalties here on the road," Washington forward Niklas Backstrom admitted. "That's something you can't do if you're going to win a road game."
Washington was whistled for three penalties in the first period, including a pair in a 1:16 span that provided the home team with a 5-on-3, but Holtby turned away all 12 shots he faced in the frame to send the teams into the second locked in a scoreless tie.
The Rangers finally broke through near the midpoint of the second when Brassard fired a shot from the high slot that deflected off Washington defenseman Steve Oleksy in front and slipped past Holtby for a 1-0 lead at the 9:39 mark.
The Capitals hampered their comeback bid with a pair of penalties in the third, including a cross-checking minor on defenseman Mike Green with 6:14 left that forced the visitors to kill off yet another penalty.
Washington finally got back to full strength with just over four minutes remaining and peppered Lundqvist with shot after shot, but the New York netminder was up to the task.
Holtby left the net in favor of the extra attacker with 90 seconds left, but Lundqvist, with the help of some timely blocks from his defensive unit, kept the Capitals off the board to extend the Rangers' season.
This is the fourth time in the past five years the Capitals and Rangers have met in the postseason. Washington 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 the clubs ... Brassard extended his point streak to four games (two goals, five assists) ... New York finished 0-for-5 on the power play, but did not allow the Capitals to skate on the man advantage ... With the win, New York coach John Tortorella moved into fourth place on the Rangers' all-time playoff wins list, passing Mike Keenan with his 17th postseason victory behind the Blueshirts' bench.