NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, March 24th (All times Eastern)
Washington Capitals (14-16-1) at New York Rangers (15-13-2), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Washington Capitals will try to hold onto the momentum built during a two-game stint in Winnipeg when they visit the New York Rangers for Sunday's clash at Madison Square Garden.
The Capitals won road games on back-to-back nights against the first-place Jets, outscoring the Southeast Division leaders by a combined 10-1 score over the two games.
Washington is still third in the division, but moved within five points of the Jets after recording the two regulation wins. The Capitals are tied for 11th in the East and are three points out of a playoff spot.
Alex Ovechkin scored twice to lead the Caps to Friday's 6-1 rout in Winnipeg. Washington's captain has tallied in four straight and has five goals over that span to give him 15 markers on the season.
Braden Holtby made 30 saves for the win, while Mike Ribeiro and Marcus Johansson each had two assists for Washington.
On Sunday, however, the Capitals are facing a New York team that has won both encounters in 2013 and seven of the past nine in this series overall. The Rangers earned a 2-1 home win over the Caps on Feb. 17 and then notched a 4-1 decision on March 10 in D.C. Washington has lost three of the last four matchups in New York City.
The Rangers also defeated the Capitals in seven games during the second round of last year's Eastern Conference playoffs.
New York, which is tied with Carolina for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East, has had two full days to rebound from a 3-1 home loss to the basement-dwelling Florida Panthers, who are last in the East with 24 points.
Jacob Markstrom made 44 saves to frustrate the Rangers in Thursday's 3-1 setback at the Garden. The setback came after back-to-wins and was New York's fourth loss in six games.
Marian Gaborik had a late goal for the Rangers, who lost despite outshooting Florida by a 45-23 margin. Henrik Lundqvist stopped 21-of-23 chances in the setback.
"We'd be concerned if we weren't getting the chances," Rangers captain Ryan Callahan. "We had 40-something shots on net. You do that on a nightly basis, you get those chances on a nightly basis, you're going to get more than one goal easily."
The Rangers also dodged a bullet when it was announced Friday that star winger Rick Nash wasn't going to be suspended for a hit he delivered on Florida's Tomas Kopecky. Nash left his feet to hit Kopecky up high, but the league said although it was not a legal hit it did not require supplemental discipline since the head was not the principal point of contact.
New York is 10-6-1 as the host this season and is completing a brief two-game homestand. The Rangers will play their next three games on the road, beginning with Tuesday's contest in Philadelphia.
03/24 10:44:45 ET