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NY RANGERS 3, WASHINGTON 2 (OT)

4/3/2004

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The New York Rangers took very little from a
season-ending victory.

Bobby Holik's power-play goal 1:08 into overtime, his second
score of the game, brought an end to yet another frustrating season
for the Rangers as New York beat Washington 3-2 Saturday.

"This just means we get to go home, that's about it," Holik
said. "A win is not going to make much of a difference in our
season. It makes a better trip home, that's all."

It was just the second win for New York in its final 12 games.
However, it gives the Rangers the sixth worst record in the NHL,
which is good enough to keep them out of the lottery for a chance
at the top pick in the draft.

Holik put the game away with a deflection in front of the net,
tipping in a sharp pass from Thomas Pock.

Mike Green also scored for the Rangers (27-40-7-8).

Jeff Halpern scored twice for Washington marking the first time
this season he had more than one goal in a game. He has been one of
the few bright spots for the otherwise anonymous Capitals, scoring
in three straight games and recording 20 points in 19 games.

But even his recent scoring success has done little to change
Halpern's opinion of the season.

"It hasn't been a whole lot of fun this year," Halpern said.
"When you're losing games, it doesn't make any of the (individual
stats) feel any good."

Both Washington (23-45-10-3) and New York had long since been
eliminated from postseason contention, with the Rangers having
missed the playoffs every year since 1997.

"I think we've had a great deal of satisfaction in the last
month, and if we had 40 more games to go we'd be pretty excited
about it. I don't think that I could suggest to you, at least
personally, that I'm glad it's over," New York coach Tom Renney
said. "I'm a little disappointed that it is, to tell you the
truth."

Washington will close its season in Pittsburgh on Sunday.

Halpern put the Capitals ahead at 7:54 of the first period,
before Green tied it just under seven minutes later. Both
first-period goals came one second after penalties expired.

Holik made sure New York's power play converted at 4:44 of the
second period with a slap shot over the shoulder of Olaf Kolzig,
who finished with 32 saves.

Halpern was left alone for a shot in front to tie it less than
two minutes later.

Game notes
New York C Mark Messier didn't make the trip after
Wednesday's emotional tribute from the Madison Square Garden crowd.
He finished his 25th -- and likely final -- NHL season with 18 goals
and 25 assists in 76 games. ... The Capitals signed LW Mel
Angelstad from Portland of the AHL. Angelstad, who became the 51st
player to dress for Washington this season, recorded 3,476 penalty
minutes in 706 minor league games before making his NHL debut
Saturday. ... Green's goal was his first in the NHL.