Washington, DC (SportsNetwork.com) - Chris Kreider scored two goals, Henrik Lundqvist made 42 saves and the New York Rangers held on for a 4-3 win over the Washington Capitals in Game 6 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series.
The Presidents' Trophy winners staved off elimination for the second time in three days to force a Game 7 on Wednesday at Madison Square Garden.
New York was 1:41 away from defeat in Game 5 on Friday before Kreider tied it. Ryan McDonagh then scored in overtime for a 2-1 victory.
On Sunday, the Rangers fended off the Capitals in hostile territory.
Rick Nash ended an eight-game goal drought, and Dan Boyle added a third-period goal that proved to be the game-winner after the Capitals nearly erased a 4-1 deficit.
Joel Ward had a goal and two assists for the Capitals, who suffered consecutive losses for the first time in these playoffs. They have been eliminated by the Rangers in each of their last two postseason appearances, both in seven games.
"They are probably disappointed we didn't get (the win) in front of our fans, but the pressure is the same on both teams, really," said Washington coach Barry Trotz. "It is one game. Loser goes home. You can't say there is more pressure on us than them. No matter what, someone is going home."
Braden Holtby, who gave up only three goals to the Rangers in the previous three games, allowed four on 28 shots Sunday, including two in the early stages of the third.
Nash cut across the slot and waited for the right moment to send a shot past Holtby 54 seconds into the third.
"Obviously they've been hard to come by, and it's been really frustrating when you can't do the thing you're supposed to do and you feel like you're letting your team down," Nash said.
Boyle scored on a one-timer to give New York a three-goal edge at 4:24, but the Capitals reinvigorated the fans at Verizon Center with a pair of goals just 2:53 apart.
Evgeny Kuznetsov fired a shot over Lundqvist's left shoulder and off the crossbar at 7:40. Ward then slipped a rebound past the New York goaltender at 10:33.
There was a bit of tension late in the game. New York's James Sheppard was called for a delay of game penalty after he appeared to shoot the puck over the glass with 2:44 remaining. It looked as though the puck made contact with the glass before it went out of play. Nonetheless, the Rangers killed it off.
Kreider gave the Rangers the lead with a singular effort in the game's opening minute.
Jesper Fast started the play by banking the puck off the boards to the neutral zone, where Kreider was able to corral it. As he charged toward the net, Kreider controlled the puck with one hand while using the other to hold off Washington defenseman Matt Niskanen. He then used both hands to fire a backhander past Holtby on the short side 40 seconds into the game.
"It's always nice to be able to get one on the first shift, get one early," Kreider said. "I think it was important that we had a good start."
Kreider beat Holtby again, and the buzzer, scoring on a power play with three- tenths of a second left in the first period to give the Rangers a 2-0 lead.
Washington's Troy Brouwer was called for a roughing penalty with four seconds remaining. New York's Derek Stepan won the ensuing faceoff and Holtby made a save on Derick Brassard. Capitals defenseman John Carlson unwittingly kicked the puck into his goaltender's pads. A scrambling Holtby had the puck deflect off his left pad and go right to Kreider, who had an open net at which to shoot.
Jason Chimera cut Washington's deficit in half 28 seconds into the second period. Kuznetsov redirected a shot by Ward and the puck pinballed off Lundqvist and a New York player before Chimera poked it across the goal line.
The Capitals wound up outshooting the Rangers 18-4 in the second but still trailed after 40 minutes.
Brassard had two assists in New York's 13th consecutive one-goal postseason game, which is an NHL record ... The Rangers have won 13 of the last 16 playoff games in which they have faced elimination ... Alain Vigneault earned his 20th postseason win with the Rangers, passing John Tortorella for sole possession third place on the franchise's all-time playoff wins list ... Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi played in his 100th career postseason game ... According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Game 6 marked the first playoff game where goals were scored in the opening minute of all three periods since May 7, 2000 in Game of 5 the second-round series between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.