The New York Rangers played what amounted to two games over two days just to get one win against the Capitals in Washington.

Each team scored a goal in the second period, then skated up and down the ice for the next 83 minutes before Marian Gaborik gave the Rangers a 2-1 victory at 14 minutes, 41 seconds of the third overtime to end the 20th longest game in the history of the Stanley Cup playoffs, a tense matchup that began on Wednesday night and spilled into Thursday.

If it was the decisive game of this tight Eastern Conference series, Rangers coach John Tortorella might have been far more enthusiastic about the outcome.

Instead, he looked at the win for exactly what it was: a gritty performance that provided New York with a 2-1 lead in a best-of-seven confrontation that doesn't appear destined to end anytime soon.

"It's one game," Tortorella said in a conference call Thursday. "You take the good things out of it and try to keep momentum on your side."

It's impossible to say whether the good feeling the Rangers derived from the victory will carry into Saturday, when the teams meet in Washington for Game 4.

The Capitals trailed Boston 2-1 in games before winning in seven, so they have no reason to believe this loss to New York will be any more difficult to overcome.

"We have confidence in our team," Washington's Troy Brouwer said. "We played a real good game, I thought, holding them to one goal, almost, for two whole hockey games. I mean, if we continue playing like we did, creating offense, blocking shots, you know, playing good, patient hockey, we'll be successful."

- Associated Press