If there was a critical juncture in this game against Washington that the Rangers had pretty much owned from the second minute, it was now.

Alex Ovechkin had scored on a five-on-three power play at 0:59 of the second period to bring the Caps within 3-1 with 1:31 still to go on a five-on-four man advantage.

It shouldn’t be lost on anyone that the Blueshirts had increased the 1-0 edge they’d gained on Rick Nash’s dash to the net just 1:10 into the first to 3-0 late in the opening period when Nash’s five-on-three score was followed by Derek Stepan’s goal just 2 seconds after New York’s five-on-four advantage had expired.

“The objective is to kill the rest of it off,” Ryan Callahan said. “You’re not going out on the PK looking for a goal, but you always look for an opportunity.

“I think with the guys we have killing and the speed we have, if the opportunity presents itself, we are going to go for it.”

Callahan got the opportunity when relief goaltender Braden Holtby couldn’t hold onto Dominic Moore’s left wing drive, and he went for it. The captain beat Dimitry Orlov to the front and swept the rebound into the net just before crashing into the crossbar at 2:25 to put the sealant on the Rangers’ 4-1 victory at the Garden.

The sixth win in the last seven games pushed the Blueshirts into second place by two points over the Flyers, who have two games in hand. The Rangers have a five-point playoff cushion over Columbus, though the Jackets hold three games in hand.

“These are kind of moving weeks,” said Nash, who has moved into the club lead with 14 goals, including seven in the last eight games. “This is where you have to start climbing in the standings.”

Henrik Lundqvist was sharp yet again in going to 7-2-1 over his last 10 starts, during which time he has recorded a 1.98 GAA and .934 save percentage. The Rangers have surrendered a total of nine goals over their last seven games — two or fewer in each.

Through this Broadway run, the club’s marquee players are performing up to their billing.