NEW YORK – Ryan McDonagh scored 9 minutes, 37 seconds into overtime and the New York Rangers kept their Stanley Cup hopes alive with a 2-1 victory over the Washington Capitals on Friday night in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series.
Chris Kreider breathed life into the Presidents' Trophy winners by scoring with 1:41 left in regulation to force the overtime.
The Capitals lead the series 3-2. Game 6 is Sunday night in Washington.
Henrik Lundqvist made 28 saves for the Rangers, who have won each of their past nine playoff games when facing elimination at Madison Square Garden — dating to Game 4 of the 2008 Eastern Conference semifinal round against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Braden Holtby made 41 saves for Washington, which was less than two minutes away from its first conference final before New York rallied. Curtis Glencross scored for the Capitals.
On the winner, Jesper Fast kept the puck in the Washington end sent a pass to Derek Stepan in the left circle. Instead of shooting, Stepan hesitated and found McDonagh, a St. Paul native who played for Wisconsin in college, coming late down the middle. His shot flew into the net and set off a second loud celebration at Madison Square Garden.
The Rangers were 1:41 from seeing their season end when Kreider tied it from the top of the left faceoff circle after taking a pass from Stepan and firing a shot to the far corner past Holtby.
As Kreider swiped the air with a roundhouse, it set off a wild celebration that had the Garden shaking.
The goal came seconds after Lundqvist left his net for a sixth skater.
Until the goal, it seemed that the Capitals were going to win on Holtby's second shutout of the series and another winning goal by one of Washington's unknowns.
Joel Ward had the winner in the opener. Jay Beagle and Andre Burakovsky had the winners in Washington and Glencross seemed destined in Game 5. He broke through with 9:06 left in regulation, scoring on a breakaway after being sent in all alone by defenseman Matt Niskanen.
Lundqvist actually stopped the breakaway attempt, but Glencross chipped the rebound over the prone netminder.
The goaltenders have been the stars of this series and Holtby and Lundqvist put on another show in Game 5.
Holtby set the tone early stopped 14 shots in an opening 10-minute onslaught by the Rangers. He was at his best against Martin St. Louis, making three outstanding saves, including a post-to-post pad save early when Rick Nash set up the one-time league scoring champion for a tapper in the crease.