New York Rangers prepare for a matinee trip to DC to take on the Washington Capitals

Dec 27, 2023; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers defenseman K'Andre Miller (79) and
Dec 27, 2023; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers defenseman K'Andre Miller (79) and / Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Two straight losses and a 8-8-1 record in the last 17 have the stench of stagnation all over the New York Rangers organization at this moment in time. It seems the team is having a difficult time trying to pull itself back up to the high standards it set for itself with the long winning streak early in the year. However, there is no time to worry about that as a matinee game in the Capitol against the Washington Capitals awaits the Blueshirts.

New York will not be the only team reeling in agony in this game. With the Washington Capitals going 3-5-2 in their last 10, they will be desperate for some points tonight. New York are 4-5-1 so not faring much better, but they are still 10 points clear of the Capitals right now. However, in the recent weeks, the Carolina Hurricanes have churned the gap to the division leaders to just three points. It could get dicey for the Blueshirts if they cannot figure their problems out soon.

Rangers forward Mika Zibanejad should return tonight after missing the 4-1 loss in St Louis due to a lingering illness. If he cannot go for whatever reason, Zac Jones was the one that filled in last game making 7 defensemen available with just 11 forwards. That is not the ideal configuration for this team right now, but there will not be a great fix with all the injuries the team has right now.

Projected Lineups

New York Rangers

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

Washington Capitals

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

Puck Drop

This will be a 1 p.m Eastern puck drop from Capital One Arena, and the Rangers will be looking to try and put some shaky performances in recent weeks behind them to get past a team that is struggling even more than they are. If nothing else, they Rangers have more top end talent available to them tonight than their opponents, and riding that could just get them the two points they desperately need.