GAME TIME IS 7 pm ET
Washington Capitals: 47-12-4
NY Rangers: 37-21-6
It’s always interesting when the New York Rangers come into town. And usually it comes down to whose goalie protects the net better. The two teams last met in New York with the Caps leaving the island after a hard-fought 4-3 OT win. The Caps lead the Eastern Conference with the Rangers trailing in second place.
The Capitals have been quietly moving along this week, winners of their last two games 3-2 over the Penguins and Maple Leafs. Even with sub-par play throughout those games, the Capitals remain the best team in hockey by far with 98 points and 47 wins. They are ranked first in goals per game (3.3) and power play percentage (23.9%), second in goals against (2.3) and fourth in the penalty kill (84.4%).
- Evgeny Kuznetsov leads the team in overall points (66) and has recorded a point in his last four games—two of which were goals. He is second only to Alex Ovechkin in number of goals (20). Look for more magic from Kuzy.
- Nicklas Backstrom , the quiet Swede, ranks second on the team with assists (43). He forced the January game into overtime.
The Rangers come into this game the winner of three straight one-goal decisions and after a loss in Pittsburgh Thursday night (4-1) before rolling into Washington. Their power play ranks 24th in the league while their penalty kill is 26th but their goals per game and goals against are in the league’s top 10. They really could use a win against Washington, who is 18 points ahead of the Rangers in the Metropolitan Division and can capture a playoff berth as early as this weekend.
- The Rangers added Eric Staal during the NHL trades last week; he only had one SOG in his first game on Monday.
- Mats Zuccarello leads the Rangers in points at 48, although he has only notched one goal in the last five games.
- Henrik Lundqvist left the game against the Pens with neck spasms and was replaced by Antti Raanta. (No word yet who will be in the net against the Caps.)