Then, once the game reached overtime, the result was seemingly inevitable.
The last time the teams met, on Dec. 12 in New York, the Rangers rolled to a 7-0 win. In this one, the Capitals cranked up the defense and took a 1-0 lead in the second period on a goal by Matt Hendricks.
“I felt it hit me and then I turned away and saw the guys celebrating,” Gaborik said. “I didn’t have any idea. I guess it was one of the lucky ones.”
That’s how the Capitals felt, too.
“It was a lucky bounce, a fluke goal on their part,” Hendricks said.
And, it ended Holtby’s bid for his first NHL shutout.
New York improved to 8-3 in games that extend beyond regulation. Washington lost its seventh consecutive overtime game and ninth in the last 10 despite outshooting the Rangers 6-1 in the extra five minutes.
“We haven’t lost the overtime games because of lack of offense; it’s because of poor defense,” Boudreau said. “We talked about how we have to play in the overtime and we talked about it again on the bench. I thought we did a real good job of it.”
Biron made several sensational saves in overtime, including one on a blast by Alex Ovechkin, who was held without a point.
“Tonight I thought he had two really good chances to score,” Boudreau said. “Sometimes you get them. Some years they’re all going in, and some years they’re not going in. He’s fighting for every goal he can get this year.”