Five straight

Caps con­tinue streak with 5-3 win over Rangers

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Cap­i­tals 5 — Rangers 3

NEW YORK (AP) — Brett Con­nolly was call­ing for the puck as he skated up the left side. He quickly put the Wash­ing­ton Cap­i­tals ahead when he got a cross-ice pass from John Carl­son and helped the Cap­i­tals keep their win­ning streak go­ing.

Con­nolly scored the tiebreak­ing goal on a one-timer from the left cir­cle with 6:24 left in the third pe­riod, and the Cap­i­tals beat the New York Rangers 5-3 Satur­day for their sea­son-high fifth straight win.

“A lit­tle bit of open ice,” Con­nolly said of his fourth goal of the sea­son. “(Carl­son) saw me over there, I was call­ing for it . ... I got a good piece of it and it went right where I wanted it.”

Alex Ovechkin, Nic Dowd, Jakub Vrana and Tom Wil­son also scored for de­fend­ing Stan­ley Cup cham­pion

Wash­ing­ton, and Carl­son had three as­sists. Pheonix Co­p­ley, start­ing in place of Braden Holtby, stopped 27 shots.

“Good team win, we’re play­ing re­ally well as of late,” Con­nolly said. “We’re start­ing to get that feel­ing again through our room ... like we had to­ward the end of last year.”

The Cap­i­tals, who have ral­lied af­ter giv­ing up the first goal in four of their wins dur­ing their streak, trailed 1-0 af­ter one pe­riod and by two mid­way through the sec­ond be­fore scor­ing three straight to take the lead head­ing to the third.

“We’re al­ways be­liev­ing we’re in games,” Con­nolly said. “We’re find­ing ways to win.”

Ryan Strome had tied the score 3-3 on a wrap­around at

5:30 of the fi­nal pe­riod — his first goal with the Rangers since be­ing ac­quired from Ed­mon­ton on Nov. 16.

Con­nolly, who also had an as­sist, then gave Wash­ing­ton the lead back, and Wil­son added an empty-net­ter with

1:08 left for his fourth. He has nine points in seven games since re­turn­ing from a sea­son-open­ing sus­pen­sion that side­lined him for 16 games.

Jimmy Ve­sey, Brady Sk­jei and Ryan Strome scored for the Rangers, who lost their sec­ond straight, ending a seven-game win­ning streak on home ice. Kevin Hayes had two as­sists and Alexan­dar Ge­orgiev fin­ished with 23 saves.

Trail­ing 1-0, the Cap­i­tals came out with in­creased in­ten­sity in the sec­ond pe­riod and scored three goals while out­shoot­ing the Rangers 15-9.

“You can’t take a pe­riod off against anyone, let alone the de­fend­ing Stan­ley Cup cham­pi­ons,” Rangers coach David Quinn said. “If you’re go­ing to have a chance to beat them, you’re go­ing to have to stay on them for 60 min­utes. You can have lapses where you don’t play well, but they can’t be

20-minute lapses.”

Just 31 sec­onds af­ter Sk­jei dou­bled the Rangers’ lead, Dowd tipped Carl­son’s shot for his sec­ond to pull the Cap­i­tals back within one mid­way through the sec­ond.

Vrana then tied it with his sixth as he beat Ge­orgiev with a back­han­der with 3:33 left.

Ovechkin put the Cap­i­tals ahead, tip­ping Carl­son’s pass from the right side with 30 sec­onds left. It was Ovechkin’s 17th goal, ty­ing him for the league lead with Bos­ton’s David Pas­tr­nak and Buf­falo’s Jeff Skin­ner.

“(Dowd’s) goal is huge,” Wil­son said. “We know when we’re not play­ing the way we want to. We know when it has to turn around . ... They’ve been play­ing some good hockey at home, so it was big for us to be able to do that.”

Near the mid­point of the sec­ond, Sk­jei scored on a re­bound of Bren­dan Smith’s shot that came off the end boards and right to him on the out­side edge of the left cir­cle at 9:39 to make it 2-0 on the Rangers’ first shot on goal of the pe­riod.

Ve­sey gave New York a 1-0 lead less than 15 sec­onds af­ter com­ing out of the penalty box near the mid­point of the first. Hayes brought the puck up the left side on a 2-on-1 rush, cut to­ward the net and dropped the puck back to Jes­per Fast, who tapped it to the right, and a trail­ing Ve­sey put it un­der a sprawled Co­p­ley’s left pad for his eighth at 9:12.

NOTES: Ovechkin’s goal was his 624th, pulling one be­hind Jarome Iginla and Joe Sa­kic for 15th place on the NHL’s ca­reer list. Ovechkin now has 33 goals and 51 points in 54 ca­reer games against the Rangers . ... The Cap­i­tals have outscored op­po­nents 35-23 in the sec­ond pe­riod . ... Cap­i­tals also won the first meet­ing 4-3 in OT at home on Oct. 17. The teams play two more times, Feb. 24 at Wash­ing­ton, and March 3 back at Madi­son Square Gar­den . ... LW Ti­mothy Get­tinger made his NHL de­but one day af­ter be­ing called up from Hart­ford of the AHL. He was sent back down af­ter the game . ... Strome now has four goals and 14 points in 19 games against the Cap­i­tals.

UP NEXT Cap­i­tals: At the New York Is­lan­ders on Mon­day night.

Rangers: Host Ot­tawa on Mon­day night to cap a stretch of five of six at home.

AP PHOTO

Wash­ing­ton Cap­i­tals goal­tender Pheonix Co­p­ley makes a save dur­ing the sec­ond pe­riod Satur­day against the New York Rangers at Madi­son Square Gar­den in New York.

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