Jan Erixon, the Rangers' designated shadow, shut down Washington...

NEW YORK -- Jan Erixon, the Rangers' designated shadow, shut down Washington right winger Mike Gartner Wednesday night, enabling goaltender Bob Froese to record his 100th NHL victory.

Walt Poddubny scored the winning goal when his shot with 90 seconds left in the third period was kicked into the net, and the Rangers stopped Gartner's goal-scoring streak at nine games in a 3-2 triumph over the Capitals.


Erixon, playing the left side on New York's defensive line, held Gartner without a point. Froese, who has played most of his career with the Philadelphia Flyers, stopped 20 shots and allowed only a first-period goal to rookie Michal Pivonka and a second-period score to former Ranger Mike Ridley.

'I'm now 6-2 against Washington and just a goaltender trying to do my best,' Froese said. 'We held them to 22 shots and the defense was fantastic and the forwards hemmed them in their end.

On the game-winner, Mark Osborne shot the puck into the left corner for Poddubny to center a pass. The puck hit the stick of Washington forward Bob Gould and deflected in off goaltender Bob Mason's stick and skate. The goal was Poddubny's 29th of the season.


'There was a red sweater between me and the goalie,' Poddubny said. 'It (the puck) hit him and Mason couldn't handle it.'

The Capitals had tied the score 2-2 when Ridley scored his 21st goal of the season, unassisted at 4:17 of the third period. His 25-foot shot from the top of the circle beat Froese to his stick side.

In the fast-paced second period, Don Maloney's power-play goal with 20 seconds left in the session had put New York ahead 2-1. Maloney went behind the Washington defense for Kelly Kisio's feed in front of Mason and flipped the puck over the sprawled goalie.

'Right now, the Rangers are better than us,' Capitals Coach Bryan Murray said. 'I tried to put the Gould line, with (Gaetan) Duchesne and Kelly Miller on the Poddubny line. When the Rangers put Erixon on Gartner, it made it a low scoring and defensive game. It took Gartner out of the game, but it also meant that they were attacking with only two forwards whenever Erixon was out there.'

Both first-period goals had also been scored on power plays. Tomas Sandstrom beat Mason from the slot at 3:31 and Pivonka responded at 5:59.

Sandstrom scored his 10th goal in his last 10 games and drew within one of his career high of 29. Pivonka beat Froese close-in after a cross-slot pass from Miller. Miller, who along with Ridley and Bobby Crawford was traded Jan. 1 for Bobby Carpenter, collected his eighth point in 10 games with the assist.


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