Alex Ovechkin got the Capitals to within one midway through the third period with a highlight-reel goal.
Ovechkin split Rangers defensemen Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh, and then beat Henrik Lundqvist top corner while falling.
“The guy pushed him to the outside, there were almost three guys around him and he still got a shot off his knees,” said Rangers coach Alain Vigneault. “He’s a great player.”
The Washington Capitals had just four first period shots, but Henrik Lundqvist had to be sharp early.
Trailing 1-0, Alex Ovechkin had a glorious chance to tie the game 1-1.
With Lundqvist down and out, Ovechkin was unable to get his shot up and over the Rangers’ starter.
Chris Kreider opened the scoring 38 seconds into the first period with his second goal of the playoffs.
Braden Holtby struggled to control the rebound off of Jesper Fast’s shot leaving Kreider with a wide open net.
The New York Rangers will look to rebound from their Game 1 loss this afternoon when they play host to the Washington Capitals in Game 2 at MSG.
New York enters today’s contest hoping history does not repeat itself. The Rangers have lost six straight Game 2s on home ice dating back to 1996.
Washington took a 1-0 series lead in controversial fashion on Thursday night. Joel Ward scored the game-winner with 1.3 seconds remaining following a questionable hit by Nicklas Backstrom on Rangers’ defenseman Dan Boyle.
Puck drop this afternoon is at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC. You can also watch online using NBCSports.com’s Live Extra.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
Some relevant linkage for tonight’s affair:
Trotz on Ovechkin: ‘I wanted him to be more active’
Rangers add depth, recall Bourque
Vigneault: ‘Standards have been set’ after Ovechkin, Backstrom hits
With just 12 healthy forwards to choose from, the New York Rangers have recalled forward Ryan Bourque from the American Hockey League’s Hartford Wolf Pack.
Bourque had one assist in five playoff games as the Wolf Pack eliminated the Providence Bruins on Friday night to advance to the second round of the Calder Cup playoffs.
It’s Bourque’s second recall this season.
The 24-year-old made his NHL debut on April 9. Bourque had a shot on goal and a minus-1 rating while playing 11:49 in the Rangers’ 3-0 loss to the Ottawa Senators.
Bourque had 12 goals and 20 assists in 73 regular season games with the Wolf Pack this season.
New York had 13 forwards on the roster for the Game 1 loss on Thursday night, but that includes Mats Zuccarello, who has been ruled out for the entire series after taking a puck to the face in Game 5 of the first round.