New York Rangers complete home and home set with the Washington Capitals at MSG

Jan 13, 2024; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov
Jan 13, 2024; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov / Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Three straight defeats have left the New York Rangers in agony. With the lead at the top of the division down to just a point, the Rangers need to win their game in hand tonight to keep the red hot Carolina Hurricanes at bay. The struggles the Blueshirts have endured outline serious issues in the team, and whether that is because of the injuries or other issues, it needs to come to an end soon.

The Rangers are going to be giving the reigns in net back to Igor Shesterkin after the Capitals took on Jonathan Quick yesterday afternoon. It'll be a difficult game, but the Blueshirts have to find a way to get the Russian shot-stopper. He's been fine, but he hasn't been up to the lofty standards that the goaltender has set for himself. We know he is one of the best in the NHL, but his stats do not stand up to that currently.

In the previous three matchups, the Rangers have not had the better of the Caps. A 4-0 drubbing in DC, and the 3-2 defeat yesterday sandwich the 5-1 beating of the Capitals at Madison Square Garden. It's not been a season series that has been particularly kind to the Blueshirts. But, the Garden will never be an easy place for teams to come and try to take the two points, so perhaps the safety of home ice will help even the series tonight.

Projected Lineups

Washington Capitals

Max Pacioretty - Dylan Strome - T.J. Oshie
Aliaksei Protas - Connor McMichael - Tom Wilson
Hendrix Lapierre - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Anthony Mantha
Beck Malenstyn - Nic Dowd - Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Martin Fehervary - John Carlson
Joel Edmundson - Trevor van Riemsdyk
Ethan Bear - Nick Jensen
Darcy Kuemper
Charlie Lindgren

New York Rangers

Chris Kreider - Mika Zibanejad - Will Cuylle
Artemi Panarin - Vincent Trocheck - Alexis Lafreniere
Jimmy Vesey - Barclay Goodrow - Blake Wheeler
Anton Blidh - Nick Bonino - Jonny Brodzinski
Ryan Lindgren - Adam Fox
K'Andre Miller - Jacob Trouba
Erik Gustafsson - Braden Schneider
Igor Shesterkin
Jonathan Quick

Puck Drop

This will be a 1 p.m puck drop from the Garden as the New York Rangers will be looking to try and get back to winning ways. It's been a very difficult spell for the Blueshirts. Winning tonight to ensure that the gap between themselves and the Hurricanes does not disappear would be a good start for stopping the rot. There's a lot that could be a cause for concern, but at the minute, the Blueshirts need to focus on a game by game basis. Win tonight, and move on from there.