NEW YORK — The New York Rangers were less than two minutes away from seeing their season end before coming up with two goals to beat Washington 2-1 in overtime on Friday and stay alive in the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs.
Going into the game trailing 3-1 in the best-of-seven series, the Rangers’ season looked over before Chris Kreider tied the game with 1:41 left and Ryan McDonagh netted 9:37 into overtime to trim the series deficit to 3-2.
In the day’s other game, Anaheim won 4-2 at Calgary to go 3-1 up in that series.
The Rangers continued their uncanny knack of staving off elimination in home games at Madison Square Garden. They have won each of their past nine home playoff games when facing elimination, dating back to 2008.
“We are still alive,” Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist said after a 28-save performance. “Being in their shoes, we’ve been there. Going home now there is a lot of pressure for them. I know for sure they don’t want to come back here for another game. So we’ll try to use that to our advantage.”
The Capitals lead the series 3-2. Game 6 is Sunday in Washington, and there is bound to be pressure on the Capitals. Since 1985, they have lost nine series in which they led either 2-0 or 3-1. That includes a first-round loss to the Rangers in 2013 in which they led 2-0 and 3-2.
“Of course you want to close out the series,” said Capitals captain Alexander Ovechkin, who is still looking to reach his first conference final. “You have to forget about it and move forward.”
Goaltender Braden Holtby made 41 saves for Washington, and Curtis Glencross scored.
The overtime winner came when Jesper Fast kept the puck in the Washington end and sent a pass to Derek Stepan in the left circle. Instead of shooting, Stepan hesitated and found McDonagh coming late down the middle. His shot flew into the net and set off a second loud celebration at Madison Square Garden.
Earlier, Kreider scored the late tying goal from the top of the left faceoff circle. He took a pass from Stepan and fired a shot quickly to the far corner that Holtby never saw.
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.
Anaheim’s Matt Beleskey broke a tie on a power play early in the third period and the Ducks went on to victory at Calgary.
Anaheim leads the series 3-1 and can close it out at home Sunday.
Jakob Silfverberg, Andrew Cogliano and Patrick Maroon also scored for the Ducks, and Frederik Andersen made 25 saves.
Sean Monahan and Micheal Ferland scored for Calgary, and Karri Ramo stopped 25 shots.
Anaheim was 2 for 4 on the power play. Calgary failed to score on a two-man advantage for 56 seconds in the third, finishing 0 for 2.