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Capitals 5, Rangers 3

New York, NY (Sports Network) – Matt Hendricks scored the game-winning goal in the third period, as the Washington Capitals edged the New York Rangers, 5-3, at the Garden.

Brooks Laich scored two goals while John Erskine and Mike Knuble also scored for the streaking Capitals, who won their fifth consecutive game. Michal Neuvirth allowed three goals on 28 shots while Alex Ovechkin and Mike Green both posted two assists in the victory.

Brian Boyle scored twice for the Rangers, who have dropped two straight and three of their last four games overall. Enforcer Derek Boogaard added a rare goal — his first NHL tally since 2006 — and Henrik Lundqvist finished with 19 saves for New York.

“We need to find a way to get more clutch goals, create more pressure and generate more scoring chances,” said New York’s Brandon Dubinsky.

With the score tied 3-3 in the third period, Washington moved ahead for good at the 7:53 mark. Strong forechecking along the rear boards by Matt Bradley allowed him to maintain puck control. From near the right post, Bradley then slipped a pass to Hendricks, who corralled the disc beneath the near circle and lit the lamp from in close.

The best chance for the equalizer down the stretch was when Ruslan Fedotenko had a partial breakaway at the midpoint of the period, but his shot from the right circle failed to find the back of the net.

Laich’s empty-netter in the final seconds capped the scoring.

“I thought we were going to get one at the end, but it just didn’t happen,” said Boyle. “We want to win at home, but that’s how it goes sometimes.”

The Rangers opened the scoring 4:02 into the game when Boyle tallied for the sixth time this season. He carried down the left-wing side and shot wide, but Dan Girardi kept the puck in at the right point. Girardi passed back to Boyle, who had made his way to the area below the right circle, and he scored from a sharp angle.

At the 8:52 mark of the first, the Caps tied the score on Laich’s power-play goal. Alex Semin held control atop the left circle and slid a quick pass into the crease area, where Laich’s nice redirection slid under Lundqvist.

Just over four minutes later, Boyle’s second goal of the game, this one on the power play, put the Rangers back on top at 12:56. After a Washington turnover deep in the zone following a faceoff at the right circle, Boyle gained control and beat Neuvirth.

Erskine’s laser slap shot from the left circle 2:34 into the middle stanza knotted the score at 2-2.

Boogaard, who stands 6-foot-7 and is mainly known for his fisticuffs, gave New York a 3-2 lead only 41 seconds later. Caps defenseman Tyler Sloan whiffed on an attempt to keep the disc in the offensive zone at the right point, which paved the way for the burly Boogaard to skate in all alone down the left side. From the circle, Boogaard unloaded a slap shot that sailed past Neuvirth.

Knuble’s second goal of the season, a one-timer from the slot, again tied the score midway through the second.

“I liked the way we battled back three times to come from behind,” said Laich. “We showed a lot of resiliency.”

Ovechkin has 12 assists so far this season…New York was 1-for-4 on the power play, while the Caps were 1-for-4 with the extra skater…This was Washington’s fourth straight win over the Rangers and the Caps have taken nine of the last 11 overall in this series…New York fell to 2-5-1 at home this season…The Caps had only four shots against Lundqvist in the third period.