Hunt's 3rd-period goal lifts Rangers past Capitals 3-2

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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), who are in the postseason for the first time since 2017. Washington (44-26) will go into the playoffs as the East's second wild card, and will match up with the Florida Panthers.

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 OVECHKIN

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.

STEADY RESULTS

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. )

NOTES

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.

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More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Allan Kreda, The Associated Press

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