When the Capitals head into Madison Square Garden tonight as they resume the schedule after the Christmas break they’ll be taking on a Rangers team that also is riding a two-game losing streak. While their are many familiar faces in Manhattan, David Desharnais is new to the 2017-18 Rangers and has continued to carve himself out a nice NHL career as he’s closing in on 200 career points. The diminutive forward is versatile and his ability to move up and down the lineup has made him a valued asset in the league. Averaging 0.5 pt/game for his career, Desharnais who has has also skated for the Canadiens and Oilers (scored playoff game winning goal vs Sharks) is a playmaker who can dart in and out of the traffic areas and looks to the snipers to finish off. He’s recorded four assists in his last five games but has only registered one goal and one assist in 20 career games vs the Capitals.Going undrafted the 5’7′ 180 pound forward took a training camp invite by his hometown Habs (born in Laurier-Station, Quebec) in 2007 and turned it into a pro contract with Cincinnati in the ECHL where he ended up leading the league in scoring with 106 pts. He then carried that over to a 33 point performance in 22 games helping capture a Kelly Cup. After being named league MVP and rookie of the year he was promoted to AHL Hamilton the following season where he waited for a NHL opportunity. The Canadiens called him up mid-season in 2010-11 finishing with 22 points in 43 games.
Look for the Caps to force Desharnais to move the puck quick and keep laying the body on him to force him into a turnover. With Zabanejad back in the New York lineup, Desharnais was pushed back down the lineup but his versatility will allow him to seamlessly pivot to a different role.