WASHINGTON — Once merely 101 seconds from having their season end in Game 5, then forced to hold off a furious Game 6 rally, Chris Kreider and the New York Rangers are now one victory away from returning to the Eastern Conference finals.

Kreider scored 40 seconds after the opening faceoff and with 0.3 seconds left in the first period Sunday night, Rick Nash and Dan Boyle added goals in the third period, and the Rangers barely held on to beat the Washington Capitals 4-3 and force a Game 7 in the second round.

New York led 2-0, then 4-1 with less than 121/2 minutes left in regulation. But Washington’s Evgeny Kuznetsov and Joel Ward put the puck past Henrik Lundqvist less than 3 minutes apart to make it a one-goal game with nearly half a period to go.

That prompted the Rangers to call a timeout and brought many of the red-clad Capitals fans to their feet.

But Lundqvist was solid the rest of the way, stopping Washington’s last four shots – including Alex Ovechkin on a one-on-one – and surviving a late Capitals power play to finish with 42 saves. That’s a career high for Lundqvist in a playoff game that didn’t go to overtime.

After two days off, the teams will wrap things up Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden – a fitting finish for a matchup in which each of the first six games was decided by one goal.

This was the 13th consecutive playoff game involving the Rangers decided by one goal – all 11 this postseason, and two last year – the longest streak in the history of the Stanley Cup playoffs.


BLACKHAWKS: David Rundblad is expected to take the place of injured defenseman Michal Rozsival in the Western Conference finals.

Rundblad, 24, has never appeared in an NHL playoff game. During the regular season, the former Portland Pirate played in 49 games, averaging 12:48 minutes. He had three goals and 11 assists and was a plus-17.