1/24/2011 Rangers at Washington Capitals: Game Notes

The Rangers, coming off a dramatic and well-deserved victory against Atlanta, will look to build some momentum in Washington tonight as they take on the Capitals, who at this time are barely above the Rangers in the standings. The Capitals themselves are looking to build a winning streak after easily handling the Maple leafs in Toronto on Saturday. The last meeting between these two teams resulted in a lopsided 7-0 victory in favor of the Blueshirts. This game figures to be of a different variety, however. Brandon Dubinsky and Ryan Callahan, both out with injury, tallied 3 of those goals, and it is Martin Biron this time, not Lundqvist, that will look to frustrate the Capitals offense.

Updating on last night’s post, though Dan Girardi was on the ice for the morning skate, John Tortorella confirmed that he will not be playing tonight. Michael Del Zotto will be filling in for his first game with the Rangers since being demoted at the beginning of the month. Brandon Prust is likely to play, and if he does indeed play then one of Evgeny Grachev or Brodie Dupont will be the healthy scratch. I would assume that Grachev plays.

The Rangers injury problems are well documented, but the Capitals are also experiencing issues of their own. Both Semyon Varlamov and Michal Neuvirth are banged up, and as a result rookie Braden Holtby (4-2-1 in 7 games) will be manning the pipes for the Capitals. The Capitals will also be missing defenseman and former Rangers whipping boy Tom Poti, as well as forwards Eric Fehr, Matt Bradley, and most significantly Alex Semin.

Some final notes:

-Over his whole career, Martin Biron is 10-8-3 with a 2.58 GAA and a .911 SV% against the Washington Capitals. This is Braden Holtby’s first career start against the Rangers.

-Michael Del Zotto is playing his first game with the Rangers since January 2nd in Florida.

-If Grachev plays, it will be his 7th career game and first since November 7th against St. Louis.

-Since joining the Rangers, Marian Gaborik has totaled 5 goals with 2 assists in 5 games against the Capitals.

-Dan Girardi is missing his first game with the Rangers since he was called up during the 2006-2007 season. His consecutive game streak (not including playoffs) ends at 330 .

-Alexander Ovechkin is coming off a hat-trick against Toronto. Ovechkin has 13 goals and 11 assists in total over 24career regular season games against the Rangers.

I’ll be at the game tonight. Let’s hope the team can continue to produce in spite of the injuries.

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Tags: Alexander Ovechkin Alexander Semin Brandon Dubinsky Brandon Prust Brodie Dupont Dan Girardi Evgeny Grachev Injuries Martin Biron Michael Del Zotto New York Rangers Rangers Ryan Callahan Washington Capitals

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