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#CapsNYR Skate Shavings: Coming Home

After finishing off their longest road trip in more than six years with a 4-1-0 record, the Caps are back home - temporarily anyway - to entertain the New York Rangers.

by Mike Vogel @VogsCaps / Monumental Sports Network

After finishing off their longest road trip in more than six years with a 4-1-0 record, the Caps are back home - temporarily anyway - to entertain the New York Rangers in Washington's penultimate home game of the 2016-17 regular season.

In their last home game before departing on the road trip, the Caps defeated the Arizona Coyotes for their 31st home ice win of the season, establishing a new single-season franchise record in the process. The 1985-86 and 2009-10 Capitals both finished with 30 victories on home ice. 
Video: Mike Vogel and John Walton preview #CapsNYR
Now the Caps have two remaining home games with which to add to that total; they'll also host the Florida Panthers on Sunday night in the '16-17 regular season finale.

In the Rangers, the Caps are facing a formidable road foe. The Blueshirts lead the NHL with 27 road victories (27-10-2), three more than any other team in the league.

Shoe On The Other Foot - The Capitals have routinely dismantled teams on short rest this season, and they did so once again on Tuesday night's 4-1 win over the Maple Leafs. On Wednesday night, the shoe will be on the other foot as a weary Caps team will take on a rested Rangers club. 

Having been so effective and so methodical at taking down teams on short rest in 2016-17, can the Caps put any of that expertise to their use as they find themselves on the opposite side of the coin? 

"Absolutely," says Caps coach Barry Trotz, "I think you try to avoid what you try to do with other teams. That's something we're going to talk about. 
Video: Coach Trotz previews Rangers matchup
"Today, we didn't meet at Kettler. We had a long road trip, and we're getting back. So we're going to meet today and we're going to talk about the Rangers and prepare for them. I'm going to give them five things - me personally - that I think they need to be aware for our team, and hopefully let's respect that.

"We've got to trust the other guy next to you that he's going to get his job done. So to me, the road trip is not necessarily over until this game is over. And then we can have a day off [Thursday] and sort of regroup a little bit, and it's hopefully a nice day [Thursday]." 

Washington is just 6-7-1 this season when playing the second of back-to-back games, and it has lost three of its last four in such situations. 

Final Frames - In a reversal from earlier in the season, the Caps have become somewhat leaky in the third period of their games over the last month or so. 

With 68 seconds remaining in Tuesday's game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Caps surrendered a power-play goal to Toronto's Mitch Marner. It was the Leafs' only goal of the game in Washington's 4-1 victory, and it also marked the ninth straight game - and the 15th game in the last 16 - in which the Capitals have yielded at least one goal in the game's final frame. 

On the season, the Capitals own a plus-29 goal differential (95-66) in the third period. They've surrendered 20 of those 66 goals against in the last 16 games, scoring only a dozen goals of their own during the same stretch. 

Metro - Wednesday's game with the Rangers marks the Capitals' final Metropolitan Division game of the 2016-17 regular season. The Caps have been on a roll against Metro foes of late, winning six straight games and earning at least a point in 15 of their last 17 (13-2-2) divisional contests.

Overall, Washington is 17-7-5 against Metro foes this season. Caps goaltender Braden Holtby is 14-4-3 with three shutouts, a 1.74 GAA and a .939 save pct. in 21 games against Metro opponents this season. 

Since the Metro Division was founded at the start of the 2013-14 season, Holtby is 57-23-14 with 10 shutouts, a 2.29 GAA and a .922 save pct. 

New York Nicks - Four key New York regulars are not expected to be in the lineup on Wednesday when the Caps meet the Rangers for the final time this season. Defenseman Ryan McDonagh and forwards Jesper Fast, Rick Nash and Mats Zuccarello will sit out Wednesday's contest with what Rangers coach Alain Vigneault is terming "bumps and bruises." 

In The Nets - A night after Philipp Grubauer stopped 27 shots in a 4-1 win over the Maple Leafs in Toronto, Holtby gets the net back for Washington as he takes aim on his 42nd victory of the season.

Holtby made 35 saves on Sunday against the Blue Jackets in Columbus in his most recent outing, earning a 3-2 victory to help the Caps tighten their grip on the top spot in the Metropolitan Division standings. That Sunday victory over the Jackets lifts Holtby's career regular season record in the month of April to 20-2-4 in 27 games, with two shutouts, a 2.18 GAA and a .931 save pct. 

Lifetime against the Rangers in the regular season, Holtby is 7-9-1 with a 2.61 GAA and a .914 save pct. in 18 appearances.

At the opposite end of the ice, we're expecting to see the venerable Henrik Lundqvist in net for the Rangers. With 405 career wins, Lundqvist has cracked the league's all-time top 10 in that category; he now ranks 10th and is just two wins behind Hockey Hall of Famer Glenn Hall (407) for ninth place on the all-time ledger.

Lifetime against Washington in the regular season, Lundqvist is 21-10-4 with four shutouts, a 2.62 GAA and a .908 save pct.

All Lined Up - Neither side conducted a morning skate prior to Wednesday night's game, but here's how we expect the Capitals and Rangers to look when they take to the ice for the Rivalry Night contest: 

WASHINGTON

Forwards


8-Ovechkin, 19-Backstrom, 77-Oshie

90-Johansson, 92-Kuznetsov, 14-Williams

10-Connolly, 20-Eller, 65-Burakovsky

26-Winnik, 83-Beagle, 43-Wilson

Defensemen

27-Alzner, 88-Schmidt

9-Orlov, 2-Niskanen

44-Orpik, 22-Shattenkirk 

Goaltenders

70-Holtby

31-Grubauer

Injuries

74-Carlson (lower body, day-to-day)

NEW YORK

Forwards


20-Kreider, 21-Stepan, 89-Buchnevich

73-Pirri, 93-Zibanejad, 26-Vesey

40-Grabner, 13-Hayes, 10-Miller

15-Glass, 24-Lindberg, 12-Puempel 

Defensemen

18-Staal, 8-Klein

76-Skjei, 5-Girardi

42-Smith, 22-Holden

Goaltenders

30-Lundqvist

32-Raanta

Injuries

19-Fast

27-McDonagh

36-Zuccarello

61-Nash

Scratches

4-Clendening

43-Kampfer 

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