Washington, DC – Braden Holtby made 35 saves to help the Washington Capitals grab a 3-1 win over the New York Rangers in Game 1 of the teams' Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.
Alex Ovechkin, Jason Chimera and Marcus Johansson all scored in the second period for the third-seeded Capitals, who won the Southeast Division for the fifth time in the past six seasons.
"It's a win and we need to move on, simple as that," said Holtby. "We need to watch the video tomorrow and see what we did right, and what we did wrong, and be ready for the next game. In my mind there's no individual who wins a game, this is a team sport."
Carl Hagelin had the lone goal of the game for the sixth-seeded Rangers, who are in the playoffs for a third straight year. Henrik Lundqvist stopped 27 shots in the loss.
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.
Game 2 of this best-of-seven series will be played Saturday afternoon in Washington.
The Rangers got the only goal of the first period when Hagelin's wraparound from the right side hit off the skate of Washington's John Erskine and snuck into the net at the 16:44 mark.
Holtby kept it a one-goal game by making a save on a Hagelin breakaway during a Washington power play around a minute into the second period.
The Caps finally broke through while on another power play later in the second. With Arron Asham in the box, a slap shot from Mike Green in the high slot went wide to the left of the net, but it bounced out front and Ovechkin one-timed it home 6:59 in.
"I'm not so sure Asham's was a penalty but they called it, though," said New York head coach John Tortorella. "We can't take that many penalties in a game. You can't take two in a row so hopefully we'll be more disciplined in the next game."
Washington took the lead with 5:39 to play in the second. Steve Olesky sent a long pass through the middle from his own end to Johansson, who took the puck near the blueline and skated down low before snapping a wrister under the glove of Lundqvist for a 2-1 edge.
It was 3-1 just 46 seconds later, as Chimera's turnaround shot from the left boards fooled Lundqvist and got through.
New York was pressing in the third period and nearly made it a one-goal game, but Hagelin's shot hit off the crossbar with about 10 1/2 minutes to play.
With 4:03 to go, John Moore fired a shot on net that Holtby trapped at the right post. The play was reviewed to see if the puck crossed the line, but the on-ice call of no-goal was upheld.
New York got Lundqvist out of the net with under two minutes left, but was unable to close the gap.
Washington has won four of the seven all-time playoff series between these two clubs ... The Rangers took two of three from the Capitals in the regular season ... Ovechkin led the NHL in goals this season with 32 ... Washington went 1-for-5 on the power play, while New York was 0-for-4 ... Washington winger Joel Ward returned to the lineup after missing the final nine games of the regular season with a knee injury.