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The Caps did just about everything they could on the penalty kill Monday night, though Brassard’s goal ended their streak. The Rangers are 1-for-13 on the power play through three games.

They were trying to get some shots on net with some traffic and they probably did a better job,” Oates said.

Goaltender Holtby was a major reason why the Caps were even in the game. The Rangers, as expected, played like a team trailing two games to none, and Holtby took care of some offensive waves with 26 saves on 30 shots.

Holtby expressed concern after the morning skate about the Caps perhaps being too “loose” up 2-0 in the series. After the loss, the 23-year-old did not have a strong review of the overall performance.

“That game was far from our best. We weren’t as tight as we should be,” Holtby said. “Penalties is a good sign if you’re not quite focused enough.”

Holtby took responsibility for his tripping penalty, which led to Brassard’s goal.

A brutal play by New York defenseman Michael Del Zotto helped the Caps’ cause late in the second period. He let Jason Chimera have the puck behind the net, and Washington was able to maintain pressure on the offensive zone. Green, who should have made a better play on Boyle’s goal, made up for it by blasting a perfect shot through a screen and past Lundqvist.

With the Garden quiet through the second intermission and into the third, the Caps lost control again on Arron Asham’s goal 2:53 into the third. But they got it back when Beagle deflected Hillen’s shot off a faceoff five-and-a-half minutes later.

After Game 2, defenseman Karl Alzner quoted “Any Given Sunday” about playoff hockey in saying “the inches we need are everywhere around us.” When Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh kept the puck in the offensive zone that inch set up the game-winning goal.

Seconds after the Caps couldn’t clear the zone, Derek Stepan deflected Rick Nash’s odd-angle shot past Holtby. With that, the arena erupted.

The Caps had several chances to tie it in the final two minutes thanks to a slashing penalty on Brad Richards. With Holtby off for an extra attacker, the power play went to work but did not register a shot in the final 1:54.

We try to find the shooting lane and we didn’t find it. It’s blame on us,” said captain Alex Ovechkin, who drew the penalty. “I think we didn’t find the shooting lane and if we move the puck, we move the puck too slow.”

Unable to get the puck on net while skating six-on-four for well over a minute, the Caps were left to wonder about that missed opportunity. But they won’t worry too long while still leading the series.

It’s obviously disappointing, but that’s why it’s seven games,” Green said. “It’s unfortunate. We obviously wanted to be up three but we’ve got a lot of work to do, and we know that. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy.”