New York, NY – Alex Ovechkin scored a power-play goal with 7:27 remaining in the third period and the Washington Capitals edged the New York Rangers, 3-2, to even their Eastern Conference semifinal series at one victory apiece.
Mike Knuble and Jason Chimera supplied first-period goals for seventh- seeded Washington, which has yet to lose back-to-back games in this year's playoffs.
Braden Holtby stopped 26 New York shots.
Ryan Callahan tied the game in the third with a power-play goal for the top-seeded Rangers, who got 22 saves from Henrik Lundqvist, a Hart and Vezina Trophy finalist.
This series will shift to the nation's capital for Game 3 on Wednesday.
"They're a good team and we're not expecting this to be easy at all," Lundqvist said. "It's going to be a challenge to go into their building and try to get a couple of wins."
New York erased a two-goal deficit and pulled even after Knuble went off for high-sticking. Callahan was the one to draw the penalty and the Rangers' captain lit the lamp on the subsequent power play, deflecting Michael Del Zotto's shot from the right circle.
The Rangers were then whistled for consecutive infractions. Washington failed to cash in the first power play, but Ovechkin restored the lead four seconds into a Brad Richards holding penalty. Nicklas Backstrom won a draw in the left circle and Ovechkin shifted from the point to the middle of the New York zone before snapping a long shot past the glove of Lundqvist.
"You battle back as hard as we did, you can't take four minutes in penalties," said Rangers head coach John Tortorella.
New York nearly knotted the game again, but Del Zotto rang a shot off the crossbar with 50 seconds remaining. He hit the goal post 4 1/2 minutes into the third.
The Rangers had an early power-play opportunity when Capitals defenseman Roman Hamrlik tackled Artem Anisimov behind the Washington net. The Capitals' penalty killing unit helped out Holtby by blocking a trio of shots.
Knuble opened the scoring at the 12:20 mark of the first period off a giveaway by New York rearguard Stu Bickel at the Washington blue line. Bickel wanted to send the puck across to the left point to his defense partner. Joel Ward picked off the pass, and the turnover sparked a 3-on-2 rush for the Capitals.
Ward carried the puck down the left side and collected a return feed from a trailing Keith Aucoin before dishing to Knuble in the crease for a tap-in.
The Rangers were then caught with too many men on the ice. Rookie forward Chris Kreider, who earlier this month helped Boston College win the NCAA championship and potted the winning goal in Saturday's Game 1, served the penalty. As he exited the box, Washington's John Carlson had the puck hop over his stick. Kreider picked up it and raced in alone on Holtby, who delivered with a critical save.
On the counterattack, Chimera created a turnover by Lundqvist behind the New York net with his forecheck. A mad scramble ensued around the Rangers' crease, and Chimera banked the puck in off the skate of New York defenseman Ryan McDonagh for a 2-0 Washington lead at 17:14.
"You need them players [Knuble and Chimera]. They play hard every night," said Washington head coach Dale Hunter.
The Rangers were able to get on the board before the period ended, as Richards directed in a pass from Marian Gaborik while the clubs skated 4-on-4 with 42.4 seconds remaining.
Kreider drew a tripping penalty on Mike Green with 13 seconds left. But New York failed to convert on the power play that extended into a scoreless second period during which the home team had an 8-6 edge in shots.
Ovechkin tied Peter Bondra for third in Capitals playoff history with 56 points...Lundqvist allowed more than two goals for only the third time this postseason...Rangers forward Brian Boyle returned to the lineup after missing three games with a concussion. He was injured on a hit by Ottawa's Chris Neil...Tortorella was named a finalist for the Jack Adams Award as the top coach in the NHL on Monday. Tortorella won the award in 2004 while behind the Tampa Bay Lightning bench.