Boyd Gordon ended a 71-game goal-scoring drought, Alex Ovechkin scored his team-high 11th goal and the Capitals beat the Rangers 3-1 Saturday night.
“It’s been a while,” said Gordon, who scored for the first time since Oct. 11, 2003. “It feels good to contribute and be part of a big win for us.”
Washington, coming off a 5-0 loss at Carolina on Thursday night, won for the third time in four games and snapped New York’s four-game road winning streak.
Matt Pettinger also scored for the Capitals, whose last four victories have come against teams that totalled 100 or more points last season.
“If we can keep bringing that same energy, we’re going to be a tough team,” said Gordon, who also picked up an assist, matching his career high for points.
Michael Nylander scored for the Rangers, who had at least a point in five straight games.
Washington outshot New York 17-5 in the opening period and took a 1-0 lead on Gordon’s goal at 11:59. Gordon picked up a puck that skipped off defenceman Sandis Ozolinsh’s stick deep in the Rangers zone, skated in on goal and scored on his third whack in front of the net.
“We talked about the first period. We want to have a good start,” said Ovechkin.
That impressive opening mirrored the Rangers’ early struggles.
“We needed to be in here and take it to this team – and we chose not to,” New York coach Tom Renney said. “I am awfully disappointed with how we started this game tonight because I think that was two points that could have been had.”
New York’s offence, unable to establish any momentum while the Rangers were killing six straight penalties, started putting some pressure in the second period with 16 shots at Capitals goalie Olaf Kolzig. Most were routine, but Kolzig sprawled along the goal line with 7:07 remaining in the second, finally gloving the puck after a goal-mouth scramble, then swept aside Matt Cullen’s drive at the left post with 3:14 left.
“When you play at home, most of the teams are going to prey on you when they have a chance,” said Jagr, who was shadowed by Washington’s Shaone Morrison and held without a point for the fourth time in seven games.
Ovechkin’s goal made it 2-0 early in the third period. With the Rangers’ Peter Prucha bearhugging him at the top of the slot, Ovechkin took a lead pass from Dainius Zubrus and somehow managed to uncork a low shot that skittered between Lundqvist’s legs at 4:53.
Pettinger increased the lead with 9:06 left, scoring from between the circles after a Gordon feed sprung him for a dash along the boards.
With Zubrus off for tripping, Nylander ruined Kolzig’s bid for his 34th career shutout, scoring from the left side with 1:51 left.
Notes: Capitals enforcer Donald Brashear finally picked up his first fighting major in the team’s 16th game. Brashear pummelled Colton Orr 2:34 into the first period. … Capitals rookie D John Erskine assisted on Ovechkin’s goal, his first NHL point. … Ozolinsh was briefly shaken up early in the third period when he was driven into the goal, dislodging it from its magnetic moorings, but returned to the game.