Sergei Fedorov scored with 4:59 remaining in the game, breaking a 1-1 tie and bringing down the house, as the Washington Capitals beat the New York Rangers 2-1, advancing to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time since their trip to the finals in the 1997-98 season.

The Capitals became just the 21st team in NHL history to win a series after trailing 3-1.

Fedorov, 39, took a head-man pass from Matt Bradley and skated down the right wing. He hit the brakes hard, faking out defenseman Wade Redden, and fired a slap shot high glove side to beat Henrik Lundqvist.

It was an uneven game, with the two teams trading first period goals. Nik Antropov took a drop pass from Brandon Dubinsky in the slot and lifted the puck past rookie goalie Simeon Varlamov, who had lost his stick in contact with Dubinsky.

Then a few minutes lated, Alexander Semin whipped a shot toward the Rangers net, which was deflected past a defenseless Lundqvist.

The Rangers, for their part, played the aggressor during much of the middle part of the game, but just couldn't click against the Caps defense and goalie Varlamov.

Varlamov, who turned 21 just yesterday, made 14 saves and played with a confidence that belies his NHL inexperience.

His biggest save was his first of the evening, as Nik Antropov came in on a breakaway and tried to stuff a backhander past the goalie's right skate. But the rookie put his blade on the post, making the first of many big saves.

Lundqvist, who had been pulled the last two games, played an excellent game, making 22 saves, some in spectacular fashion. But the Caps have beaten him glove-side several times this series, and that's where Fedorov put the game winner tonight.

So in coach Bruce Boudreau's second career NHL Game Seven, his oldest player and his youngest led the team to victory.

Thanks to Carolina's 4-3 win over New Jersey in their Game Seven tonight, Washington will face the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round. Pittsburgh beat the Philadelphia Flyers four games to two in the first round.

Game One of the Second Round will be Saturday, May 2.

05:35 Nik Antropov (2), Snap Shot. Assist: Dubinsky, Avery
15:34 Alexander Semin (5), Wrist Shot. Assist: Backstrom, Green


15:01 Sergei Fedorov (1), Wrist Shot. Assist: Bradley

1. S. Varlamov - WAS (Saves: 14, Save Pct: .933)
2. S. Fedorov - WAS (Goals: 1, Assists: 0)
3. H. Lundqvist - NYR (Saves: 22, Save Pct: .917)

Fedorov becomes the oldest player in NHL history to score a game-winning goal in a Game Seven.

Caps captain Chris Clark played and provided a spark for his team, taking the place of suspended winger Donald Brashear.

There were just three minor penalties in the game.

The Caps were outshot in the first period 8-2, but outshot New York 13-1 in the final frame.