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Rangers happy to be home, beat Caps; Fisher's goal lifts Predators to win

NEW YORK -- This bounce was three games in the making for the New York Rangers. Instead of being on the verge of elimination, the No. 8 seed suddenly has something to build on.

After a pair of frustrating losses in Washington, the Rangers made the most of their return home Sunday and beat the Capitals, 3-2, to cut their series deficit to 2-1.

Brandon Dubinsky netted the winning goal with 1:39 left by bouncing a shot off defenseman Karl Alzner, goalie Michal Neuvirth, and then the stick of Alex Ovechkin to give New York the win. After the Rangers managed only one goal in two losses at Washington, Dubinsky, Vinny Prospal and Erik Christensen figured out young Neuvirth and got their club back into the series.

"Bang bang it was in the net," Dubinsky said. "You try to make a conscious effort to shoot, jam the net, and make it tougher on Neuvirth, and we did that."

The Rangers will be the first to admit that they likely won't score many highlight-reel goals. Their best route to success is to shoot and crash the net to get some ugly ones. New York fought all the way for this one, holding three one-goal leads.

Now the Rangers have a chance to get even in the Eastern Conference matchup when they host Game Four on Wednesday night.

Dubinsky's fortunate winner came while the teams were playing 4-on-4. Washington had erased a 2-1 deficit with 5:12 remaining when Mike Knuble scored a power-play goal.

"That's the way we have to do it," Rangers coach John Tortorella said. "We don't play any other way. We're just not good enough. We have to grind."

Henrik Lundqvist was sharp again, and made 24 saves for the win. New York got 35 shots through on Neuvirth after a combined 47 in the opening two games -- 2-1 and 2-0 losses.

Ovechkin had a goal and an assist for the Capitals, 1-4 in series in which they lead, 2-0. The Rangers have erased only one such deficit to advance.

"All three games have been wars, battles," Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said.


Predators take lead

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Nashville Predators may bend. They're trying to prove they've learned to bounce back and finish what they started.

Mike Fisher broke a tie at 10:21 of the third period, and the Predators took advantage of Bobby Ryan sitting out the first of his two-game suspension by beating the Anaheim Ducks, 4-3, on Sunday for a 2-1 lead in the Western Conference first-round playoff series.

The Predators outshot Anaheim, 37-16, overall and led, 2-0, after the first period before Teemu Selanne scored two goals 30 seconds apart late in the second to tie it.

"That could've been a real dagger if we let that one slip away," Nashville captain Shea Weber said. "They didn't really have a lot of chances, but the chances they had they scored."

The NHL suspended Ryan on Saturday for stomping Predators defenseman Jonathon Blum's foot late in the Ducks' 5-3 victory Friday night. Ryan also will miss Game Four on Wednesday night in Nashville when the Predators have a chance to take their first 3-1 lead in their short history.

"It's a big game," Weber said. "Obviously, we can't have any letdowns. I think Game Two, we came out a little sloppy, took too many penalties and really gave them the momentum back."

Martin Erat had a power-play goal and an assist, David Legwand and Jordin Tootoo also scored, and Ryan Suter had two assists to help Nashville improve to 4-0 in Game Threes on home ice.


Canucks close in

CHICAGO -- Mikael Samuelsson scored the go-ahead goal in the third period, Roberto Luongo made 30 saves and the Vancouver Canucks moved within a victory of sweeping defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago, beating the Blackhawks, 3-2, on Sunday night.

The Canucks, with the best record in the NHL during the regular season, lead the first-round series, 3-0, and can finish it off Tuesday night at the United Center.

Christian Ehrhoff and Daniel Sedin also scored for the Canucks, eliminated by the Blackhawks in the first round the previous two seasons.

Duncan Keith and Patrick Sharp had power-play goals for the Blackhawks, but it was a night of missed chances for Chicago.

The Blackhawks had seven power-play opportunities overall, including a 5-on-3 in the first period when they led, 1-0, but were turned away by Luongo and the Canucks' penalty kill.


Today's other games

*The Boston Bruins are in big trouble in their first-round series with the Canadiens, which resumes tonight in Montreal (7:30 p.m., Ch. 5). The Bruins are down, two games to none. What's more, they've lost their last six playoff games. Zdeno Chara of Boston missed Game Two because of dehydration and is questionable for tonight.

*The Tampa Bay Lightning is even with Pittsburgh, even though Steven Stamkos hasn't done much in the opening two games. Stamkos had a total of two shots in the opening games in Pittsburgh; maybe a return home today will help.

*The Coyotes lost the first two games against the Red Wings back in Detroit. They come home to triple-digit temperatures and talk that the franchise is headed to Winnipeg next season.

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