Malik's spectacular goal ends longest shootout in NHL history
The 30th player to go in the shootout, Malik scored a spectacular goal on Olaf Kolzig to end the longest shootout in NHL history, lifting the Rangers to their fifth straight win, a thrilling 3-2 victory over the Washington Capitals.
A 6-5, 235-pound defenseman known more for his bruising style of play than his offense, Malik entered Saturday without a goal or a shootout attempt this season.
However, the Rangers were forced to turn to the 30-year-old in an act of desperation after going through all of their forwards and several defenseman through the first 14 rounds.
"I started to think it would never end," Rangers rookie goaltender Henrik Lundqvist said. "I had to get my bottle of water. The first seven or eight (shooters) is kind of tough, you really hope they (my teammates) are going to score. But I just kept focused and stayed patient."
The shootout, which had the sellout crowd of 18,200 at Madison Square Garden on its feet throughout, saw three players score for each team before Washington's 15th shooter, Matt Bradley was stopped by Lundqvist's pad save, setting the stage for one of the most improbable finishes in NHL regular-season history.
Malik, who has not scored in nearly 21 months, skated in on Kolzig and dropped the puck slightly behind him before snapping a between-the-legs wrist shot right under the crossbar for the game-winner.
"I was watching everything before me," said Malik, who has taken just 28 shots through New York's first 26 games. "Olie was unbelievable, he stopped everything from shots, moves ... guys tried everything on him. I just thought to myself, 'Maybe I'll surprise him.' I tried the move and it worked."
"I got a pretty good view of it," Kolzig said. "I didn't expect a guy like that to make a move like that. That's something you see in practice. Give the guy credit - he has the (guts) to pull it off."
The highlight-reel tally put the Rangers (16-7-3) nine games over .500 for the first time since the end of the 1995-96 season. It also gave them five straight wins for the first time since April 2002 and their league-leading fourth shootout win of the season.
After scoring the game-winner, Malik skated to center ice, where he was mobbed by his ecstatic teammates, who had overcome a blown two-goal lead and a penalty to superstar Jaromir Jagr at the start of overtime for having an illegal stick.
"You can do that move, but you have to have guts to do that move," Jagr said. "In front of 20,000 people watching you, it's not that easy to do."
"He made a great move," New York defenseman Jason Strudwick said. "That was so unbelievable. I am so happy for that guy to get a little glory, because he's so good defensively for us."
Lundqvist allowed goals to Andrew Cassels, Brian Willsie and defenseman Bryan Muir in the shootout, but the tallies were answered by Michael Nylander, Ville Nieminen and Strudwick, with the last two coming in do-or-die situations.
Both goaltenders were sensational, both late in regulation and in the shootout. Lundqvist made 35 saves, while Kolzig knocked away 24 shots.
"Henrik Lundqvist won us this game tonight," New York coach Tom Renney said. "This was not a masterpiece by the New York Rangers."
Lundqvist also became the first goalie to stop rookie sensation Alexander Ovechkin in a shootout, when he opened the process with a glove save on the 20-year-old Russian.
The Rangers, who were playing their 14th game in 23 days, opened the scoring with Jason Ward's shorthanded breakaway goal with 2:44 left in the first.
Just 14 seconds into the second and with the teams skating 4-on-4, Jed Ortmeyer doubled the lead when he jammed in a rebound off Dominic Moore's shot. But just 3:18 later, the Capitals got on the board on Chris Clark's tip-in.
Washington tied it with 9:28 left in the second on Willsie's fifth goal of the season.
The Capitals kept it tied with a number of solid defensive plays, including a diving play by Ovechkin to knock the puck away from Ortmeyer on a breakaway attempt midway through the third.
"I felt that tonight we were the team that dictated the play," Capitals coach Glen Hanlon said. "We caught a team that played 14 games in 23 nights, which is a difficult task and I thought we were the better hockey club tonight."
This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index