"We've got a controlled breakout, controlled situation".
With the score tied 3-3 early in the third period, Alexander Wennberg came through with only his second goal of the season, snapping a 17-game drought, at 1:32. But the Capitals went in front on a busted play. "In the end, it's just a play in front where we can't track it down". The sequence started with Kevin Shattenkirk's pass that coach Alain Vigneault said was meant for a forward who missed an assignment. It happens, but it hurts because we battled to get back into it.
"It's extremely disappointing", said Lundqvist, who slammed his stick on the crossbar after the goal. "When they turn it up, they're a very good team". Grabner has 14 goals and two assists in 28 games. "We had them on the ropes with five minutes left", Nash said, "and just couldn't close out the deal". But the Capitals extended their lead to 2-0 at 11:42 of the second when an bad pass from Michael Grabner went into the feet of Mats Zuccarello then onto the stick of Nicklas Backstrom. The terrific Capitals center was alone in front and beat Lundqvist's glove with a quick wrist shot.
Tom Wilson then essentially ended it with a goal on a semi-breakaway, having skated around Ryan McDonagh and getting a lucky bounce to sneak through Henrik Lundqvist's legs, making it 4-2.
Despite rallying to tie the game at 2-2, a pair of late Washington goals were enough to sink the Rangers. With 13 goals, Grabner is tied for the most in the National Hockey League since October 26.
Washington held a 2-1 lead going into the third period, but the Rangers got another huge contribution from their fourth line of Paul Carey, Boo Nieves and Jesper Fast.
That would be it for the Blueshirts (15-11-2), who remain three points out of a wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.
"We made one mistake too many in the third", said a frustrated Vigneault, who walked away from the postgame interview and threw a lozenge past a row of exercise bikes.