Brandon Dubinsky wasn't sure where the puck had gone, but he certainly knew where he was

headed.

Straight into Michal Neuvirth's kitchen.

For too much of this first-round NHL playoff series, New York had allowed the young Capitals' goaltender the cushy life, failing to get traffic in front of his net, failing to force him into any tough save situations. The Rangers knew it, but as Game 3 unfolded Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden, it was obvious Dubinsky was most intent on changing it.

So when he found himself deep in the corner of the Capitals' end with less than two minutes remaining in a tie game, Dubinsky forced a shot at Neuvirth. The puck bounced off defenseman Karl Alzner's shoulder, leapt high over Neuvirth's head and caromed off the stick of Capitals' star Alex Ovechkin, coming to rest behind Neuvirth.

In the goal.

Dubinsky's game-winner with 1:39 remaining gave the Rangers a 3-2 victory that allowed their faint playoff pulse to grow strong once again, cutting their series deficit to 2-1 with Game 4 on Wednesday at the Garden. The debut of a playoff moustache that came straight out of a 1970s Burt Reynolds casting call apparently is here to stay.

"I did see it go over him; I wasn't sure how close it was. I was getting ready to start jamming before I saw the ref's arm point to it," Dubinsky said. "It was a great bounce. We were due for one of those."

Perhaps no one was more due than Dubinsky, who didn't merely struggle across the series' first two losses, when he was on the ice for all three Washington goals, had three shots and won just 12 of 33 faceoffs. He still seemed off well into the first period of Sunday's crucial game, admitting later that he regretted passing up some early chances to shoot.