- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 29, 2009

There is one player in the Washington Capitals dressing room who owns a Stanley Cup ring, and that guy propelled them into the second round of these NHL playoffs.

Sergei Fedorov scored his first goal of the series with 4:59 left in the final period, and the Caps won Game 7 against the New York Rangers 2-1 to complete a rally from down 3-1 and claim the franchise’s first playoff series in 11 years.

Fedorov took a pass from Matt Bradley in the neutral zone and skated to the right circle. He pulled up there and the left-handed center who won three Cups with the Detroit Red Wings fired a shot into the near corner, beating Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist above his glove hand to set off a delirious celebration at a sold-out Verizon Center.

They will play either the Penguins or Devils in the conference semifinals.

The first 55 minutes of this game were uneven, and the first time in the series the Rangers had controlled the play for long stretches.

The Caps played their worst period of the series to open the game, but a fluke goal helped they stay even after 20 minutes. Washington was outshout 8-2 in the period — the second straight with only two shots for the Caps after they were outshout 11-2 in the final 20 minutes of Game 6 after the contest was well in hand.

Nik Antropov, who Simeon Varlamov stopped on a breakaway in the first minute, gave the Rangers the lead at 5:35. Sean Avery and Brandon Dubinsky were able to win a battle with Brian Pothier and Fedorov in the left corner for the puck, and it came to the front of the net.

Dubinsky had the first attempt, but the puck was knocked away. Antropov swooped in and put home the rebound for his second goal of the series, and New York’s first lead since Game 4.

Alexander Semin evened the score at one with his league-leading fifth goal of the playoffs at 15:34. Mike Green came out of the penalty to help set up a three-on-three for the Caps, and Semin took Nicklas Backstrom’s pass and carried it into the left circle.

His shot was altered — first by Ryan Callahan’s stick and then after it deflected off Callahan’s body on a near-impossible trajectory toward the net.