Tonight the New York Rangers host the Washington Capitals at Madison Square Garden.
Game time for the fourth meeting of the season between these two teams is 7:30pm.
The Rangers won the first meeting 2-0 on 16 October 2013 with the game winning goal coming from John Moore. The games on 8 and 27 December ended in favor of the Capitals 4-1 and 3-2 respectively.
After last night’s beautiful win the Rangers are seated in third place of the Metropolitan Division with a record of 26-21-3 and 55 points. The Philadelphia Fliers also have 55 points though they only 19 loses and a game in hand. Henrik Lundqvist returns to the crease tonight after taking a break last night. Lundqvist now has a .914 save percentage with 2.58 goals against average. Brad Richards and Mats Zuccarello now lead the team with 13 goals each. Richards has a one point advantage , with 36, over Zuccarello. With his three point game last night, Derek Stepan now has eight goals for 30 points and he is now skating neutral on the +/- statistic. John Moore and Benoit Pouliot have also moved up to neutral. J. Moore now has two goals for nine points while Pouliot has eight goals for 18 points. Daniel Carcillo and Ryan McDonagh are skating at +1 while contributing 1 goal and seven goals for 27 points respectively. Rick Nash and Carl Hagelin are skating at +2 with 12 goals for 21 points and 11 goals for 19 points respectively. Chris Kreider now has 12 goals for 27 points and is skating as a +13. In the last five games, Kreider has posted three points. We know the Capitals are a physical team and Dan Girardi continues to lead the team with 120 hits; followed by Kreider with 108 hits. Girardi and McDonagh remain the extra goalies on the ice with 88 and 85 blocked shots. Derek Dorsett remains out of the line up while recovering from his broken leg. Hagelin left last night’s game early though is said to be playing by coach Alain Vigneault, who confirmed no changes to the line-up for tonight other than switching goalies. The Rangers have now won seven of their last 10 games. With Nash posting five goals in the last seven games, Richards has nine points in the last eight games, and Zuccarello has 10 points in the last 11 games
The Washington Capitals have elected to start Philipp Grubauer, despite giving him an early exit on Friday night and replacing him with Braden Holtby. Grubauer has 2.22 goals against average and a .931 save percentage. Now in fifth place of the Metropolitan Division, the Capitals are 22-18-8 with 52 points and are on a four game losing streak coming into tonight’s match up. This team is a team Ranger fans know fairly well. Alex Ovechkin continues to lead his team with 34 goals for 48 points while Nicklas Backstrom has 11 goals for 48 points. Mickhail Grabovski has 12 goals for 33 points and is the only Capitals player skating in the positive with a +6. All the usual suspects will be doing what they do best on the ice. Mike Green will be the player to watch if the Capitals get a power play, with his 12 power play points. Jason Chimera and Troy Brouwer will be finishing their checks without question. As always, the key to this game, for the Rangers, is staying out of the penalty box and sticking to playing their own game. Look for Brian Boyle and Hagelin to continue their strong power play teamwork and for Derick Brassard with Zuccarello to make some great offensive plays.