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Capitals Defeat Rangers to Even NHL Playoff, Kings Take 2-0 Lead

Alex Ovechkin’s third-period goal lifted the Washington Capitals to a 3-2 road victory against the New York Rangers that tied their National Hockey League second-round playoff series at one game each.

Ovechkin scored on a power play with seven minutes, 27 seconds remaining, ripping a 57-foot wristshot past Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist four seconds after New York’s Brad Richards was sent off for a holding penalty. Ovechkin’s third goal of the postseason came after the Rangers erased a 2-0 deficit at Madison Square Garden in New York.

The Capitals will host the next two games in the best-of-seven series, including Game 3 tomorrow.

“All year we responded after losses, and this is no different,” the Rangers’ Ryan Callahan said. “It’s a tough place to play in Washington. They usually come out strong there. We’re going to have to be ready.”

The Los Angeles Kings, the eighth seed in the Western Conference, improved to 5-0 on the road this postseason with a 5-2 win against the St. Louis Blues last night.

Anze Kopitar scored twice as the Kings, who upset the top-seeded Vancouver Canucks in the opening round of the playoffs, jumped out to a 4-0 first-period lead at Scottrade Center in St. Louis.

“We wanted to make sure we had a great start and we established our game early,” Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi said. “We couldn’t have asked for a better start.”

The Capitals, the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference, took a 2-0 lead against the top-seeded Rangers on first-period goals by Mike Knuble and Jason Chimera.

Richards scored for the Rangers with 43 seconds left in the opening period and Callahan added a power-play tally with 13:02 remaining to tie the score 2-2. Less than six minutes later, the Capitals regained the lead for good.

“That’s the playoffs,” Rangers defenseman Marc Staal told reporters. “A couple mistakes like that will hurt you, and then we were unable to get the lead. We battled hard to tie it up, but just couldn’t get that lead.”

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