Rangers survive Caps’ mad rush, force Game 7

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The New York Rangers managed a 4-3 win to force a Game 7 against the Washington Capitals, but not after the kind of finish that likely left fans hyperventilating.

In a way, quick plot twists only seem to fit the ending considering the beginning of Game 6 … and really, this skin-tight series in general.

Chris Kreider didn’t just begin the scoring with a goal 40 seconds in; he barely beat the clock with a 2-0 goal that came with .3 seconds remaining in the first period.

The Capitals dominated the second period, generating an 18-4 shot advantage. They only were able to beat Henrik Lundqvist once, however, and entered the final frame down 2-1.

The theme of quick goals continued as Rick Nash made it 3-1 just 54 seconds into the third (Jason Chimera’s goal came less than 30 seconds into the second period, giving the opening minute of each period a tally).

Dan Boyle’s 4-1 tally seemed like it would make this game a laugher … instead, it eventually stood as the game-winner.

Evgeny Kuznetsov and Joel Ward combined for two goals in less than three minutes to make things very tense in the final 10 minutes or so. That line with Jason Chimera might be a trio to watch, as Barry Trotz took Ward off of a line with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom.

Ovechkin’s line failed to score a point for the fourth consecutive game, even if he created some havoc, including this dangerous chance and big hit on Ryan McDonagh:

The bottom line is that many won’t give Ovechkin & Co. the benefit of the doubt, even in a series where goals were hard to come by (at least until tonight) and Washington enjoyed significant luck in building what was once a 3-1 series lead in the first place.

These Capitals and Rangers series have been tight since it’s been Ovechkin vs. Lundqvist (who was stellar tonight), so it all seems fitting that this one is going the distance. With Washington’s dignity and the Rangers’ outstanding season on the line, the stakes will certainly be high at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday.