Playing without two 30-goal scorers and their top defenseman didn't seem to bother the Washington Capitals in their last game. Winning at Madison Square Garden promises to be far more difficult.
The Capitals look to end a six-game road losing streak against the New York Rangers on Thursday night when the teams meet for the second time this season.
Despite missing captain Chris Clark, left wing Alexander Semin and defenseman Tom Poti, the Capitals (5-6-0) coasted to a 7-1 victory over Toronto on Monday.
It was only the second win in eight games for Washington, which won as many as five games in the first month of the season for the first time since going 5-6-0 with one tie in 2001-02.
Alexander Ovechkin scored twice, Michael Nylander had three assists and five others scored their first goals of the season.
"We played very well tonight, all four lines played well, everybody scored and our goalie played well," Ovechkin said. "I think we deserved tonight's win."
The Capitals could be without Clark, Semin and Poti again on Thursday as they try to end an 0-5-1 skid at MSG, where they haven't won since Jan. 28, 2004.
Clark, who scored a career-high 30 goals last season, has missed the past two games after being struck on the left ear by a shot in Friday's loss to Vancouver. An ankle injury has limited Semin to four games this season and Poti - a former Ranger - has been slow to recover from a strained groin that has kept him sidelined the last three contests.
Ovechkin is doing his best to compensate for the injuries, collecting four goals and five assists during a four-game point streak. He scored a goal in Washington's 3-2 road loss to the Rangers on Oct. 12, and has five goals and four assists in nine games against them.
Nylander, who spent the previous two seasons with the Rangers, has two goals and five assists during a five-game point streak.
New York (4-6-1) has scored a league-low 19 goals in 11 games but has shown positive signs lately by winning two of its last three.
Jaromir Jagr and Brendan Shanahan each had a goal and an assist and Henrik Lundqvist was stellar again Monday in a 3-1 victory over visiting Tampa Bay.
It was the third goal of the season for Jagr and the second for Shanahan - both 600-goal scorers during sure Hall of Fame careers.
"These are the backs that we're going to ride," Rangers coach Tom Renney said. "These are important people to us because of their experience, the winning that they've done, because they can play and we need them to. Maybe within them they said, 'OK, finally.'"
Jagr has four goals and 12 assists in 12 games against the Capitals since they traded him to New York on Jan. 23, 2004.
Keeping the Rangers close during their scoring slump has been Lundqvist, who has allowed one goal or fewer in four of his last five games. He ranks among the NHL leaders with a 1.82 goals-against average and two shutouts.
Lundqvist has surrendered five goals during a three-game win streak against the Capitals, and is 6-2-0 with a 2.55 GAA in eight starts versus them.