(Sports Network) – The New York Rangers will try to even the best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarterfinals tonight, when they host the top-seeded Washington Capitals in Game 4 at Madison Square Garden.
The Capitals won the first two tilts of this series on home ice, but New York responded with a thrilling victory in front of its fans this past Sunday. Brandon Dubinsky’s tally with 1:39 left in regulation lifted the eighth-seeded Rangers to a 3-1 victory in Game 3, cutting Washington’s series lead to two games to one.
Washington will try to keep recent playoff history from repeating itself, as the club has coughed up 2-0 series leads to lose its last two postseason sets. The Capitals also won the first two contests of the 2009 Eastern Conference semifinals before losing to Pittsburgh and last spring Washington held a 2-0 lead over Montreal and was ousted in seven games by the Canadiens.
The Rangers, meanwhile, have come back from a 2-0 deficit to win a seven-game series just once in their history and that was against Montreal in the 1996 conference quarterfinals.
"We have to make sure we don’t get too excited about this. We’re still down in the series and there’s still a lot of work to be done," said Dubinsky. "We have to make sure we get back to work as usual and correct mistakes we made and be ready for a tough Game 4."
Dubinsky’s game-winner started by carrying the puck along the goal line to the left of the Washington net. After a stick move near the crease, his shot popped in the air, and appeared to slide off Caps defenseman Karl Alzner before floating up and over Michal Neuvirth.
"We had too many guys in the corner in a 4-on-4 situation. Then, they come out and Dubinsky throws it at the net, it hits our guy in the shoulder, bounces over our goaltender and goes in the net. It counts," was all that Capitals head coach Bruce Boudreau offered about the deciding goal.
Vinny Prospal and Erik Christensen also scored for the Rangers in Game 3 and Henrik Lundqvist made 23 saves to earn his first win of these playoffs. Lundqvist is 15-18 overall in his playoff career.
Alex Ovechkin and Mike Knuble scored for the Capitals and Neuvirth played well in defeat, stopping 32 shots.
Ovechkin has two goals and two assists in this series to lead Washington in playoff scoring. The Russian superstar has 22 goals in 31 career playoff games.
The Rangers, who were 20-17-4 at MSG this season, will try to even the series tonight or Washington could get a chance to close the set out when the clubs meet for Game 5 in D.C. on Saturday.