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Preview: Rangers at Capitals

New York likely to juggle line combinations; Braden Holtby will start for Washington

by Katie Brown / NHL.com Correspondent

RANGERS (2-2-0) at CAPITALS (3-0-1)

7 p.m. ET; NHLN, MSG, CSN-DC, NHL.TV

 

Rangers team scope

Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is expected to start for the New York Rangers against the Washington Capitals on Saturday in the first game of a back-to-back. The Rangers, who did not conduct a morning skate, will host the Arizona Coyotes at Madison Square Garden on Sunday. Coach Alain Vigneault shuffled lines in practice on Friday but said he hadn't decided if he would stick with them for Saturday. Mats Zuccarello moved up to play with Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad, Rick Nash played with Derek Stepan and Jimmy Vesey, Michael Grabner was moved to a line with Kevin Hayes and J.T. Miller and Jesper Fast was slotted in beside Josh Jooris and Brandon Pirri. "I just wanted to get a look [Friday] morning at maybe trying [Zuccarello] with Mika," Vigneault told the Rangers website Friday. "I'm not 100 percent sure if we'll go that way. [Stepan] and [Nash] do play together shorthanded, they have played together a lot in the past." Kreider and Zibanejad have combined for 12 points in four games. 

 

Capitals team scope

The Capitals have won three consecutive games and have allowed six goals in four games. Goalie Braden Holtby will start. Washington's lineup changes were minimal at its morning skate Saturday. Rookie forward Zachary Sanford will replace Brett Connolly at third line left wing. Coach Barry Trotz has said he will continue to rotate the two forwards in and out of the lineup. "I just try and give them a couple games when I do pull them out so that they can get some traction," Trotz said. "They've both been playing well. I want to keep everybody a part of that."

 

Rangers projected lineup

Chris Kreider -- Mika Zibanejad -- Mats Zuccarello

Jimmy Vesey -- Derek Stepan -- Rick Nash

J.T. Miller -- Kevin Hayes -- Michael Grabner

Jesper Fast -- Josh Jooris -- Brandon Pirri

Ryan McDonagh -- Nick Holden

Marc Staal -- Kevin Klein

Brady Skjei -- Adam Clendening

Henrik Lundqvist

Antti Raanta

Scratched: Dylan McIlrath

Injured: Dan Girardi (hip flexor), Pavel Buchnevich (back spasms), Oscar Lindberg (hip surgery)

 

Capitals projected lineup

Alex Ovechkin -- Evgeny Kuznetsov -- T.J. Oshie

Andre Burakovsky -- Nicklas Backstrom -- Marcus Johansson

Zachary Sanford -- Lars Eller -- Justin Williams

Daniel Winnik -- Jay Beagle -- Tom Wilson

Karl Alzner -- Matt Niskanen

Dmitry Orlov -- John Carlson

Brooks Orpik -- Nate Schmidt

Philipp Grubauer

Braden Holtby

Scratched: Brett Connolly, Taylor Chorney

Injured: none

 

Status report

Buchnevich is still day-to-day and did not travel with the Rangers to Washington. … Vigneault mentioned the possibility Girardi could play in one of the Rangers' two games this weekend, but Girardi said Saturday he was not playing against the Capitals . He skated with McIlrath, Raanta and two coaches Saturday morning. … Winnik injured his right ear when he dropped to the ice to block a shot in Washington's 4-2 win against the Florida Panthers on Thursday. He didn't need stitches, just a little glue to hold the ear together. "The puck hit basically half the ear, maybe a little more ear and helmet," said Winnik, who will play Saturday. "I was very fortunate it wasn't way worse."

 

Who's hot

Kreider has seven points (three goals, four assists) in four games. Zibanejad has five points (two goals, three assists) in four games. … Johansson has four points (one goal, three assists) in four games.

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