NEW YORK – Marek Malik ended the NHL’s longest shootout in the 15th round Saturday night, fooling goalie Olie Kolzig with a trick shot to give the New York a 3-2 victory over the Washington Capitals.

With only two available skaters left on the Rangers’ bench, the defenseman took a shot with his stick between his skates and beat Kolzig to give the Rangers their longest winning streak in nearly four years.

New York has won five straight, its best stretch since a five-game run from March 30-April 8, 2002.

The Rangers, who also got shootout goals from Michael Nylander, Ville Nieminen and Jason Strudwick, improved to 4-1 in the new tiebreaker. Washington fell to 3-2 in shootouts despite goals from Andrew Cassels, Brian Willsie and Bryan Muir.

Strudwick kept the shooutout going, matching Muir’s 14th-round score.

Chris Clark and Willsie scored second-period goals to rally Washington from a 2-0 deficit after Jason Ward and Jed Ortmeyer scored for the Rangers. It was the sixth straight meeting between the clubs decided by one goal.

Kolzig and Rangers counterpart Henrik Lundqvist were sharp in the third period and even better in the shootout. Kolzig turned away Jaromir Jagr, who spent the first two minutes of overtime in the penalty box after his former teammates caught him using an illegal stick.

Lundqvist, subbing for injured starter Kevin Weekes, was the first goalie to stop Alexander Ovechkin in a shootout.

Ovechkin, who leads rookie scorers with 15 goals, made the defensive stop of the game in regulation. Ortmeyer raced in on a breakaway with just over 10 minutes left in regulation, but Ovechkin dived in front to knock the puck off his stick.

He needed just over 6 minutes to record his first shot after failing to get one for the first time in the NHL in a loss to Tampa Bay on Wednesday night.

Just like fellow No. 1 pick Sidney Crosby of Pittsburgh, Ovechkin got on the score sheet in his first trip to Manhattan. He earned an assist on Clark’s sixth goal.

The Capitals, who held a 37-26 shots advantage, got even at 2 when Ovechkin’s road roommate, Brian Willsie, scored as Matt Pettinger fell into Lundqvist in the crease at 10:36. Clark scored Washington’s first goal by deflecting in Ovechkin’s shot after Jamie Heward got his stick on it.

The Capitals had the better of the play throughout the first period and were outshooting the Rangers 13-4 when Ward netted New York’s first short-handed goal of the season on a breakaway with 2:44 left. Ward had gone five games without a point before posting a goal and assist in New York’s win at Atlanta on Thursday.

The Capitals power play continued to be a problem, going 0-for-7 including four chances after the second period. Washington entered with the NHL’s third-worst unit, connecting just 15 times in 126 chances, and yielding five short-handed goals.

With the teams skating 4-on-4 to start the second period, Ortmeyer and Dominic Moore teamed up for a dirty goal.

Moore rushed down the right side and curled to the front of the net, stuffing a shot toward Kolzig. Ortmeyer was there to clean up the rebound just 14 seconds into the frame.

Notes: Rangers D Fedor Tyutin returned to the lineup after missing four games with a fractured finger. C Steve Rucchin sat out his second straight due to a lower back strain. … The span of 7:04 between Washington’s second-period goals was long by the Capitals’ standards this week. Clark and Brooks Laich scored 14 seconds apart at Pittsburgh on Tuesday. Pettinger and Brian Sutherby connected 13 seconds apart the following day against Tampa Bay. … Rangers D Tom Poti strained his groin and didn’t play in the third period. … The Knicks beat Philadelphia in overtime in the afternoon portion of the NBA-NHL doubleheader at Madison Square Garden.

AP-ES-11-26-05 2321EST

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