Brandon Dubinsky's at a playoff beard produced little more than patchiness on the sides of his face last week, so the 24-year-old Ranger forward groomed it away until only a '70s-style mustache remained.

Lest anyone expects the hair above his upper lip to be going away anytime soon, think again. Especially after Dubinsky's net-crashing goal with 1:39 remaining lifted the Rangers to a rousing 3-2 win Sunday at the Garden and their first victory in three games.

"Mustache stays," he declared.

So, too, will Dubinsky remain at center despite thriving over the past two seasons since he was switched from his natural position in the middle to the left wing.

After the Rangers scored just once in the first two games of the series in Washington, John Tortorella aligned Dubinsky between slumping star Marian Gaborik (no goals since March 20) and Ruslan Fedotenko for Game 3. Vinny Prospal took the latter's place on that unit in the third period, and slammed in a rebound for the Rangers' second goal.

"Our middle of the ice, Artie (Artem Anisimov) has been fighting it a little bit, Step (Derek Stepan) has been fighting it a little bit. Dubi is still a left wing, but I needed to use him in the middle and he did a good job," Tortorella said. "He's been taking a lot of faceoffs and he's been doing a lot of work as a center-ice man anyway. ... They scored a big goal for us, so he will probably stay there."

The team leader in goals (24) and points (54) during the regular season, Dubinsky registered no points and a team-worst minus-3 rating through two games. But Tortorella leaned heavily on him - with a game-high 25:45 of ice time - the most Dubinsky has logged all season aside from the Blurshirts' overtime loss in Game 1.