Game Recap

WASHINGTON (AP) Matt Niskanen scored the tiebreaking goal with 3:22 remaining and the Washington Capitals beat the New York Rangers 4-2 Friday night to continue their climb up the Metropolitan Division standings.

Braden Holtby made 27 saves for the Capitals, who have won four in a row and seven of eight. Jay Beagle scored 14 seconds in, Nicklas Backstrom had a goal in a second consecutive game after a long drought and Tom Wilson added an insurance goal with 1:32 left.

Wilson also assisted on the winner by Niskanen.

Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist stopped 36 shots in his first game back after a brief illness. Michael Grabner and Jesper Fast scored for New York, which won its previous two games.

Kevin Shattenkirk started on defense in his return to Washington, where he finished last season, and made one of several miscues by the Rangers on the first shift of the game. Beagle got some space and scored a soft goal on Lundqvist to put the Capitals ahead.

Lundqvist stopped the final 16 shots of the first period to keep it 1-0. But a brutal giveaway from Grabner sending the puck off teammate Mats Zuccarello's skates gave it to Backstrom for his fifth goal of the season.

Grabner made up for that when he scored with 56.9 seconds remaining in the first. Since Oct. 26, Grabner leads the NHL with 13 goals.

Fast tied the score 9:37 into the third after ex-Capitals forward Paul Carey won a puck battle behind the net and fed it in front to the delight of the many Rangers fans in attendance.

Niskanen gave Washington the lead back when he put in a quick pass from Wilson on the rebound of Alex Ovechkin's shot for his first goal of the season.

NOTES: Capitals forward Andre Burakovsky returned after missing 20 games with a broken left thumb. ... RW T.J. Oshie missed his second consecutive game with what Washington is calling an upper-body injury. ... The Capitals assigned forward Tyler Graovac to Hershey of the American Hockey League after he cleared waivers. ... Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said C Mika Zibanejad (concussion) will not play Saturday against New Jersey, which will be his fifth game out of the lineup.


Rangers: Return home to face the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night.

Capitals: Look for their fifth consecutive win when they visit the New York Islanders on Monday night.


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