WASHINGTON -- Matt Niskanen scored the go-ahead goal with 3:32 remaining, Tom Wilson and Nicklas Backstrom each added a goal and an assist and the Washington Capitals defeated the New York Rangers 4-2 on Friday night.
Wilson's goal gave Washington a 4-2 lead with 1:32 remaining.
Backstrom and Jay Beagle also scored for Washington (18-11-1), which has won four straight games and seven of its last eight.
With the score tied 2-2, Alex Ovechkin fired from the point. Henrik Lundqvist made the save, but Niskanen poked home the rebound for his first goal of the year.
Braden Holtby stopped 27 shots for the Capitals.
Michael Grabner and Jesper Fast scored for New York. Lundqvist had 36 saves in the first meeting of the season between the Metropolitan Division rivals.
Trailing 2-1 to start the third, the Rangers got the equalizer at 9:37. On a dump in, Paul Carey beat the Capitals to the puck behind the end line. He fed Fast whose one-timer from the left circle beat Holtby far side.
Fast has five goals in his last seven games.
The game was just 14 seconds old when Beagle took a centering pass from Devante Smith-Pelly and fired through Lundqvist's five hole for a 1-0 lead on the evening's first shot.
Washington unleashed a season-high 17 first-period shots on goal -- to just nine for New York -- but the score remained 1-0 after one period.
Holtby made a huge stop on Mats Zuccarello alone in front at 1:00 of the second period.
Backstrom made it 2-0 at 11:42 of the second period. Grabner's pass hit Zuccarello's skate and slid to Backstrom, who turned and fired just under the crossbar for his fifth goal of the season.
After going 21 games without a goal, Backstrom has scored in two straight.
The Rangers finally scored when J.T. Miller came off the boards with the puck behind the end line and fed out to Grabner, who beat Holtby stick side on a wrister with 57 seconds left in the period for his 14th goal of the season.
NOTES: Washington F Andre Burakovsky returned after missing 20 games due to a broken thumb. The Capitals reassigned F Tyler Graovac to Hershey of the American Hockey League. ... Capitals F T.J. Oshie (upper-body) missed his second straight game. ... Rangers F Mika Zibanejad (concussion) missed his fourth straight game. ... With his goal, F Nicklas Backstrom is now tied for seventh with Dave Christian (193) on the Capitals' all-time goals list. ... New York hosts New Jersey on Saturday night.