NEW YORK — Center Derek Stepan scored with 8:36 remaining in overtime to give the New York Rangers a 2-1 win against the Washington Capitals in Game 7 of their second-round series at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night.

Stepan corralled a loose puck after a point shot and beat a sprawling Capitals goalie Braden Holtby for the winner.

The Rangers won the best-of-seven series 4-3 and will host Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning, possibly Saturday afternoon.

Left winger Alex Ovechkin backed his guarantee after the Capitals lost in Game 6 by scoring in the first period. Holtby stopped 37 shots.

Center Kevin Hayes had the Rangers’ first goal, a power-play tally early in the second period. Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist improved to 6-0 in Game 7s by turning aside 35 of 36 shots.

Ovechkin broke a four-game point drought with his fifth goal of the playoffs midway through the first period.

The Capitals took a 1-0 lead after Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh lost track of Ovechkin in the defensive zone. Right winger Marcus Johansson floated a pass to a streaking Ovechkin, who beat Lundqvist to the glove side to open the scoring.

The Rangers applied heavy pressure in the second period and received power plays less than a minute part after defenseman Mike Green committed a pair of defensive-zone infractions. The second power play resulted in Hayes’ goal that evened the score at 1 at 6:22.

McDonagh intercepted a clearing attempt by defenseman Brooks Orpik and worked the puck to left winger J.T. Miller. Miller hit a cutting Hayes for a back-door goal as the power play was about to expire to put the teams on even footing heading to the third period.

Rangers defenseman Dan Boyle left the game midway through the third period after taking a hit from Orpik. Boyle stumbled and fell as play continued, but officials eventually blew the whistle to allow Boyle to receive medical attention on the ice. Boyle did not return.


Hawks 82, Wizards 81

ATLANTA — Al Horford wasn’t going to let the Truth hurt the Hawks again.

Horford, Atlanta’s All-Star forward, outmuscled several Washington Wizards for an offensive rebound and scored on a put-back with one second left to give the Hawks an 82-81 win Wednesday at Philips Arena.

The win gives Atlanta a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series. Game 6 is Friday in Washington. Game 7, if necessary, would played Monday in Atlanta.

In a back-and-forth thriller, Washington forward Paul Pierce hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 8.2 seconds to play. Nicknamed the Truth, Pierce already beat Atlanta with a last-second basket in Game 2 of the series and looked as if he did it again.

However, Horford flew in to follow a missed shot by backup point guard Dennis Schroder and hit a game-winner that will be talked about in Atlanta for a long time.

Horford finished with 23 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks to help the Hawks spoil the return of Wizards point guard John Wall.

Wall, who missed the previous three games with an injured wrist, made a surprise return and played well. He scored 15 points and dished out seven assists in 37 minutes, though he also committed six turnovers.

Guard Bradley Beal had 23 points and seven rebounds for the Wizards, who absorbed their first loss of the postseason with Wall in the lineup.

The Wizards led 73-64 with 5:32 to play and appeared to be in complete control. Atlanta guard Kyle Korver didn’t hit a shot until late in the fourth quarter, but it was a big one. Korver’s deep 3-pointer trimmed the Hawks’ deficit to 73-69.

Horford followed Korver’s 3-pointer with one of his from the corner, cutting the margin to one and electrifying the crowd for the final four minutes.

Atlanta won despite turning the ball over 25 times and shooting 5-for-22 (22.7 percent) from the 3-point arc. Washington committed 19 turnovers and hit just four of 17 (23.5 percent) long-distance shots.

The Hawks led for much of the first half but went cold in the final five minutes of the second quarter. The Wizards took advantage, closing out the half with a 19-6 run. Washington led 47-41 at halftime.