The Washington Capitals and New York Rangers couldn’t keep their frenetic pace in overtime Friday night — something had to give. The two teams traded heavy hits, end-to-end rushes and plenty of scoring chances through the first nine minutes of overtime.

It was just a matter of which team would get the bounce, the play, the shift that was needed to secure a win in Game 5 of this Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.

With 9 minutes 24 seconds gone in overtime the Capitals got that bounce when a point shot by Karl Alzner redirected off the skate of New York defenseman Anton Stralman and over to the right side of the net.

Mike Ribeiro corralled the loose puck for a close-range slap shot that gave Washington a 2-1 win at Verizon Center and a 3-2 series lead. Game 6 is 4:30 p.m. Sunday at Madison Square Garden.

In the Alex Ovechkin era, the Capitals have been tied two games apiece in a playoff series entering Game 5 three times. They’ve gone 1-2 in those contests, with the outcome in Game 5 mirroring the ultimate result of the series.

Two hours before the game, Coach Adam Oates said he was concerned his team would be tight at the start. The Capitals had rough first periods that damaged their efforts in Games 3 and 4 in New York and couldn’t afford such a start at home.

“I’m worried about our start tonight,” Oates said. “You’ve got your home crowd, which should give you life, but you’ve got to make good decisions with the puck. Let’s get it in, get our legs and get into the rhythm of the game.”

Despite Oates’s emphasis on a strong start, the Capitals were on their heels early and New York took a 1-0 lead just 53 seconds into the contest.

On the second shift of the game Nicklas Backstrom lost a puck battle along the boards to Derick Brassard, who kept the play alive in the offensive zone. Brassard made a swift pass from behind the goal line to the top of the crease where Brian Boyle stood alone for a one-timer to put the Rangers ahead.

Aside from the third line, which has been a steady source of energy and momentum-building shifts throughout the series, the Capitals looked tight just as Oates feared. Washington gave up a few partial breakaways, took two penalties and it wasn’t until the end of the opening frame that the players began to look comfortable.

The top line of Ovechkin, Backstrom and Marcus Johansson occupied the offensive zone and John Carlson wound up with a prime opportunity in the slot as time ticked down in the first. While the start wasn’t ideal and they entered the second period trailing, the Capitals appeared to have finally found stable ground.