Rangers rally to grab series lead against Capitals

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NEW YORK — Marc Staal scored a power-play goal 1:35 into overtime after Brad Richards tied it in the last seconds of regulation to lift the New York Rangers to a stunning 3-2 victory over the Washington Capitals in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals Monday night.

New York defenseman Stu Bickel checks Washington winger Jason Chimera. New York tied the game with 7.6 seconds left.  KATHY WILLENS/ASSOCIATED PRESS
KATHY WILLENS/ASSOCIATED PRESS
New York defenseman Stu Bickel checks Washington winger Jason Chimera. New York tied the game with 7.6 seconds left.

With goalie Henrik Lundqvist pulled for an extra attacker, Washington’s Joel Ward took a four-minute penalty for high-sticking Carl Hagelin with 21.3 seconds left in the third period. Richards tied the game on the first half of the power play with just 7.6 seconds to go, and Staal won it with a drive that appeared to deflect off a Washington player before beating goalie Braden Holtby.

The top-seeded Rangers, now up 3-2, can advance to the Eastern Conference finals against the winner of the Flyers-Devils series with a victory Wednesday. If necessary, Game 7 would be back in New York on Saturday.

FLYERS: Claude Giroux was suspended for Game 5 by the NHL on Monday for his illegal check to the head of New Jersey center Dainius Zubrus in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

The punishment leaves the Flyers without their All-Star forward and leading scorer as they try to rally from a 3-1 deficit.

Giroux defended his position with league disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan for about 15 to 20 minutes Monday. Afterward, Giroux said he “respects the decision and wants to move on.”

Shana­han said in a video statement that Giroux deserved the one-game ban because he targeted Zubrus’ head.

Zubrus was not injured and returned to play.

COYOTES: NHL Commis­sion­er Gary Bettman announced Monday that the league has reached a preliminary agreement to sell the team to a group headed by former San Jose Sharks CEO Greg Jamison.

Bettman said the league and the group will work toward reaching a formal sales agreement while Jamison negotiates with the city of the Glendale on a new lease for Jobing.com Arena.

Bettman said he hopes to have the sale completed in a matter of weeks, not months.


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