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Rangers and Caps meet for pivotal Game 5

(Sports Network) - The top-seeded New York Rangers will try to regain the lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals, as they host the Washington Capitals in tonight's Game 5 at Madison Square Garden.

The Rangers and seventh-seeded Capitals have split the first four battles of this best-of-seven series with New York taking Games 1 and 3 and Washington claiming the even-numbered tilts.

Washington evened the series at 2-2 on Saturday afternoon, taking Game 4 by a 3-2 score. Capitals defenseman Mike Green scored a power-play goal with 5:48 remaining in the third period to account for the difference.

The Caps, who defeated Boston in seven games in the opening round, still haven't lost consecutive games in this postseason. Washington last dropped two games in a row from March 22-23.

Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom also scored for Washington in Game 4, while Braden Holtby stopped 18 shots for the victory. Ovechkin recorded his 29th career playoff goal, placing him one behind Peter Bondra for first all- time in Capitals history.

"We needed to step up. It was important that we got a win in our building," Green said.

Artem Anisimov registered a goal and an assist for the top-seeded Rangers, while Henrik Lundqvist made 23 saves in the loss. Marian Gaborik, who recorded the Game 3 winner in triple overtime, scored the other goal for New York.

"Everything is just so tight," said Rangers captain Ryan Callahan. "You never know which play is going to win the game for you. It's tight defensively, guys are blocking shots, but it's the playoffs and you have to control your emotions and keep moving forward and try to get that equalizer. But we didn't get that today."

The Rangers are 3-3 on home ice in the playoffs after going 27-12-2 at the Garden in the regular season. Washington had a poor 16-21-4 road record during the 2011-12 campaign, but is 4-2 as the guest in the postseason.

Game 6 of this series is scheduled for Wednesday in Washington.

The Capitals are in the second round for the third time in four seasons, but Washington hasn't made it to the conference finals since 1998, when it earned the franchise's only trip to the Stanley Cup Finals.

New York is the top seed in the East for the first time since it won its last Stanley Cup title in 1994. The Rangers are aiming for their first conference finals appearance since 1997.

This marks the seventh playoff series between the Rangers and Capitals and Washington has taken four of those six matchups. The Capitals beat New York in the conference quarterfinals in both 2009 and 2011, winning last year's series in just five games. The last time the Rangers defeated Washington was in the 1994 conference semifinals.

05/07 10:44:19 ET

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