WASHINGTON -- Fifty-one seconds into the third period, Troy Brouwer blindsided Rangers center Derek Stepan with a high forearm in neutral ice, clipping him in the helmet. Stepan went down and eventually skated to the dressing room; Brou- wer was not penalized. The Rangers center returned to the bench with about 13 minutes left.

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"The referee said it was accidental contact," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "I just looked at the replay, if he couldn't see [Stepan], I don't know what he was looking at. Obviously the principal point of contact was the head. He went through the protocol and said he was good to go."

Stepan, who played 15:16, wasn't upset with Brouwer, and said the Caps forward told him on the ice that he didn't see him. He called it "a hockey play."