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Preview: Rangers at Capitals

Washington clinches Presidents' Trophy with one point against New York

by Katie Brown / Correspondent

RANGERS (47-26-6) at CAPITALS (53-18-8)

8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVA Sports, NHL.TV


Rangers team scope

New York Rangers forwards Rick Nash, Mats Zuccarello and Jesper Fast, and defenseman Ryan McDonagh, will be rested for the final three games of the regular season, coach Alain Vigneault said Tuesday. All four are expected to be ready for the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. "There are a few guys right now that have some minor bumps and bruises, no one that will not be able to start the playoffs, but it is an opportunity for us to heal those bumps and bruises," Vigneault told the New York Post. "And with those things being said, you also want to go in playing good hockey and playing the right way. We're going to try to manage all those things at the same time." The Rangers hold the first wild card into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference. Goalie Henrik Lundqvist will start in his fifth game since his return from a strained hip muscle. 


Capitals team scope

The Washington Capitals can clinch the Metropolitan Division, Eastern Conference and Presidents' Trophy if they get at least one point against the Rangers. Washington leads the Pittsburgh Penguins by five points in the conference and division. Defenseman John Carlson will miss his second game with a lower-body injury and is considered day to day. Carlson was a late scratch prior to the Capitals' 4-1 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday. "It's nothing serious at all," coach Barry Trotz told the Washington Post. "Where we are right now, we just felt, let's not put anything at risk and let everybody heal." Goalie Braden Holtby will start after Philipp Grubauer made 27 saves Tuesday.


Rangers projected lineup

Chris Kreider -- Derek Stepan -- Pavel Buchnevich 

J.T. Miller -- Mika Zibanejad -- Brandon Pirri

Michael Grabner -- Kevin Hayes -- Jimmy Vesey

Tanner Glass -- Oscar Lindberg -- Matt Puempel

Marc Staal -- Kevin Klein

Brady Skjei -- Dan Girardi

Brendan Smith -- Nick Holden

Henrik Lundqvist

Antti Raanta

Scratched: Steven Kampfer, Adam Clendening, Mats Zuccarello, Rick Nash, Jesper Fast

Injured: Ryan McDonagh (undisclosed)


Capitals projected lineup

Alex Ovechkin -- Nicklas Backstrom -- T.J. Oshie 

Marcus Johansson -- Evgeny Kuznetsov -- Justin Williams

Brett Connolly -- Lars Eller -- Andre Burakovsky

Daniel Winnik -- Jay Beagle -- Tom Wilson

Karl Alzner -- Nate Schmidt

Dmitry Orlov -- Matt Niskanen

Brooks Orpik -- Kevin Shattenkirk

Braden Holtby

Philipp Grubauer

Scratched: Taylor Chorney, Paul Carey

Injured: John Carlson (lower body)


Status report

Schmidt will play for a second consecutive game. … Vigneault said Tuesday he was still determining which six defensemen would play against the Capitals.


Who's hot

Skjei has four points (one goal, four assists) in his past four games. … Stepan has six points (three goals, three assists) in his past six games. … Zibanejad has six points (two goals, four assists) in his past games. … Backstrom has 18 points (two goals, 16 assists) in his past 12 games. … Johansson has 10 points (one goal, nine assists) in his past seven games. … Oshie has 11 points (seven goals, four assists) in his past nine games. …Ovechkin has nine points (five goals, four assists) in his past nine games.

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