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game preview

Rangers at Capitals preview

Ovechkin aims to extend goal streak; New York expected to play without Hayes, McQuaid

by Harvey Valentine / Correspondent

RANGERS (27-26-8) at CAPITALS (34-21-7)

12:30 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN, NBCSWA, MSG, NHL.TV


The Game

The Washington Capitals return from a season-long six-game road trip to host the New York Rangers at Capital One Arena on Sunday.

The Capitals, who lost 5-2 to the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday, are 6-3-1 in their past 10 games and trail the New York Islanders by four points for first place in the Metropolitan Division.

It will be New York's first game since trading forward Mats Zuccarello to the Dallas Stars on Saturday. The Rangers won 5-2 against the New Jersey Devils earlier in the day without Zuccarello, forward Kevin Hayes and defenseman Adam McQuaid, each scratched with the 2019 NHL Trade Deadline on Monday at 3 p.m. ET. Like Zuccarello, Hayes and McQuaid each can become an unrestricted free agent July 1; it is expected Hayes and McQuaid will be scratched against the Capitals.

The Rangers are 5-4-1 in their past 10 games and are 10 points behind the Carolina Hurricanes for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference.


Players to watch

Rangers forward Mika Zibanejad has 16 points (nine goals, seven assists) in his past 12 games.

Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin has scored in five straight games and has 19 points (11 goals, eight assists) in his past 13.


They said it

"I think everyone has emotion toward what's going on and we might lose guys that are a big part of this team. It's tough. The way we played today, the way competed mentally and physically, it's pretty impressive with all the circumstances going on right now." -- Rangers defenseman Brady Skjei

"We have to find a way to play a solid game for 60 minutes, and not just for 25 or whatever. Just get back on the horse [Sunday] and find a way." -- Capitals forward Andre Burakovsky


Rangers projected lineup

Chris Kreider -- Mika Zibanejad -- Jimmy Vesey

Vladislav Namestnikov -- Ryan Strome -- Jesper Fast

Filip Chytil -- Lias Andersson -- Pavel Buchnevich

Brendan Smith -- Boo Nieves -- Connor Brickley

Brady Skjei -- Fredrik Claesson

Marc Staal -- Neal Pionk

Tony DeAngelo -- Kevin Shattenkirk

Henrik Lundqvist

Alexandar Georgiev

Scratched: Adam McQuaid, Kevin Hayes

Injured: Brett Howden (knee sprain)


Capitals projected lineup

Alex Ovechkin -- Evgeny Kuznetsov -- Tom Wilson

Jakub Vrana -- Nicklas Backstrom -- T.J. Oshie

Andre Burakovsky -- Lars Eller -- Brett Connolly

Carl Hagelin -- Nic Dowd -- Chandler Stephenson

Michal Kempny -- John Carlson

Dmitry Orlov -- Matt Niskanen

Brooks Orpik -- Nick Jensen

Pheonix Copley

Braden Holtby

Scratched: Dmitrij Jaskin, Travis Boyd, Christian Djoos

Injured: None


Status report

Jensen is expected to make his Capitals debut. He signed a four-year contract shortly after he was acquired, along with a fifth-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, by Washington on Friday in a trade with the Detroit Red Wings for defenseman Madison Bowey and a second-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft.


Stat pack

Buchnevich has seven points (three goals, four assists) in his past six games. … Kuznetsov has two assists in his past six games after scoring 10 points (five goals, five assists) during a four-game point streak.

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