NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, December 8th (All times Eastern)
Washington Capitals (15-12-2) at New York Rangers (15-14-1), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Washington Capitals will try to win for the fourth time in five games when they visit the New York Rangers in Sunday's Metropolitan Division clash at Madison Square Garden.
Washington dropped a season-high four straight games from Nov. 20-27, but the club has since won three of four games and is coming off Saturday's 5-2 rout of visiting Nashville.
Eric Fehr posted a goal and an assist and Alex Ovechkin, Troy Brouwer, Karl Alzner and Nate Schmidt all scored for the Capitals, who jumped out to a 3-0 lead against the Predators in the first period and never allowed Nashville to get closer than two goals of the lead after that.
"We came out strong and that's the way you want to start games," said Fehr. "We did a real good job of getting the puck out of our zone and keeping it deep in theirs. It was a pretty good win."
Braden Holtby stopped 34 shots in the win. With his team playing on consecutive days, Washington's No. 1 goaltender could get a rest Sunday if head coach Adam Oates decides to start rookie Philipp Grubauer against the Rangers.
The Rangers and Capitals are meeting for the second time this season after New York recorded a 2-0 win in D.C. on Oct. 16. The Blueshirts have claimed three of the last four regular-season meetings in this series, but Washington has taken two of three at MSG.
Of course, the Caps and Rangers also met in the opening round of last spring's playoffs. New York won that series in seven games, taking the decisive contest by a 5-0 score in D.C.
New York and Washington have met in the playoffs four times over the past five seasons. The Caps won the first two series in 2009 and 2011 before the Rangers ousted Washington in each of the past two postseasons.
The Blueshirts will try to bounce back from a loss after dropping the opener of the longest homestand in club history on Saturday. New York began the nine- game residency at MSG against the rival New Jersey Devils and dropped a 4-3 overtime decision after Eric Gelinas scored a power-play goal for the visitors just 1:15 into the extra session.
New Jersey trailed 2-0 early in the second, but ripped off three straight goals to jump in front before Chris Kreider scored on a power play with 21.3 seconds left in regulation to bring the Rangers even. New York's Ryan Callahan took a high-sticking double-minor 1:02 into the extra session, and Gelinas lit the lamp with a blast from the top of the right circle just 13 seconds into the man advantage.
Mats Zuccarello notched a goal and an assist and Brad Richards scored once for the Rangers, who have lost all three meetings with New Jersey this season. Henrik Lundqvist allowed all four goals on 24 shots in defeat.
"It's a big point," Lundqvist said of picking up a point despite the loss. "We never gave up so that's a good sign. We just didn't get the bounces tonight."
Lundqvist, who signed a seven-year contract extension with the Rangers on Wednesday, will get the call again on Sunday, marking only the second time this season the Swede will start on consecutive days. Lundqvist picked up a win against Los Angeles on Oct. 7 before getting pulled from his start the next day after allowing four goals on 26 shots in a 9-2 loss to San Jose,
The veteran goaltender is 15-7-3 with a 2.56 goals against average in 25 career games against the Capitals.
New York, which will continue its lengthy homestand Tuesday against Nashville, is just 5-6-1 at MSG this season.
12/08 10:50:14 ET