NEW YORK (AP) — Dryden Hunt scored the go-ahead goal in the third period, Alexandar Georgiev made 34 saves and the New York Rangers downed the Washington Capitals 3-2 in the regular-season finale on Friday night.
The Capitals’ loss means the Pittsburgh Penguins take the No. 3 seed in the Metropolitan Division and will play the Rangers (52-24-6), who are in the postseason for the first time since 2017. Washington (44-26-12) will go into the playoffs as the East’s second wild card, and will match up with the Florida Panthers.READ MORE: Teen, Man Injured In East Baltimore Shooting
Hunt’s sixth goal of the campaign came on a dazzling move to fool Capitals goaltender Ilya Samsonov at 6:42, with assists for Kaapo Kakko and Adam Fox.
After a scoreless first period, Filip Chytil opened the scoring for the Rangers at 3:26 of the second, sliding the puck past Samonov for his eighth goal of the season. Kakko and Schneider assisted.
But Washington took a 2-1 lead after defensemen Justin Schultz and John Carlson scored.
Rangers forward Alexis Lafreniere tied it up with his 19th goal of the season at 15:44 of the second, and Washington’s Schultz responded 35 seconds later with his fourth goal with an assist to fellow defenseman Trevor Van Riemsdyk.
Both teams entered the contest on three-game losing streaks.
Samsonov had 30 saves in defeat as Washington finished with a league-best road record of 25-10-6.
MISSING OVECHKINREAD MORE: Neighbors Demand Action On Baltimore’s Persistent Violent Crime As Mayor, Council Talk Strategy
Washington’s injured leading scorer Alex Ovechkin missed his third straight game to finish the regular season. The 36-year-old scored 50 goals for the ninth time and had 90 points overall in his 17th NHL season.
Washington reached the 100-point mark for the sixth time in their last eight seasons — and is the only team with least 100 points six times over that span … The Capitals also secured their eighth-straight playoff berth, the second-longest active streak in the league behind Pittsburgh’s 16 straight.
SHARING THE WORKLOAD
Samsonov (23) and Vitek Vanecek (20) each reached the 20-win mark this season, the second time in franchise history two goaltenders reached that mark in the same year. The previous season was 1983-84 when Al Jensen and Pat Riggin accomplished the feat. Two other teams have also done so this season: Boston (Jeremy Swayman and Linus Ullmark) and Los Angeles (Jonathan Quick and Calvin Petersen. )
Washington’s T.J. Oshie played his 900th career game. … Since 2012-13, the Rangers are 7-1-2 in season finales … The Rangers scratched forwards Artemi Panarin, Andrew Copp, Gregg McKegg and Julien Gauthier and the injured Tyler Motte plus defensemen Libor Hajek and Justin Braun … In addition to Ovechkin, the Capitals scratched forward Nicklas Backstrom and defensemen Michal Kempny and Matt Irwin.MORE NEWS: How To Avoid Heat-Related Illness This Blistering Weekend