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Rangers, Capitals look to get on right path

by Corey Masisak /

RANGERS (1-4-0) at CAPITALS (2-4-0)


Season series: This is the first meeting of the season between these members of the new Metropolitan Division. It is the first time these clubs will meet since the New York Rangers bounced the Washington Capitals from the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 5-0 victory in Game 7 of their opening-round series at Verizon Center.

Big story: These teams have split four playoff series in the past five seasons (with New York claiming the past two), but neither has looked like a postseason-caliber club in the first couple weeks of the season.

Team Scope:

Rangers: This is the second time in three seasons the Rangers are starting on a long road trip because of renovations at Madison Square Garden, but this time it hasn't gone as well as it did in 2011. New York has lost three straight games by a combined 20-5 margin.

The Rangers have yielded 25 goals and the team's Corsi-for percentage when the game is either tied or within one goal is last in the NHL at less than 40 percent. Backup goaltender Martin Biron and forward Arron Asham were waived Monday and assigned to the American Hockey League.

This has not been the start new coach Alain Vigneault envisioned.

Capitals: Washington has laid early claim to being the best team in Alberta, but the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers only appear once more each on the schedule. The power play continues to roll, and the Capitals scored twice more with the man advantage Monday against the Oilers in a 4-2 win.

Still, there were a couple of defensive breakdowns and the Capitals were the beneficiaries of some suspect goaltending while being outshot in the team's first regulation win of the season. Washington entered play Tuesday 27th in the League in goals-allowed per game, while Alex Ovechkin (six) and a Mikhail Grabovski hat trick represent more than half of the team's goals scored.

This has not been the start coach Adam Oates, with his first full training camp to prepare for the season, envisioned.

Who's hot: Brad Richards, who was considered a candidate for a compliance buyout in the offseason, has four of New York's nine goals in the first five games. ... Ovechkin has six goals and was tied with Sidney Crosby for the League lead with nine points entering play Tuesday.

Injury report: Rick Nash (upper body) is on injured reserve and there is no timetable for him to return. Carl Hagelin (shoulder) has yet to play this season while recovering from offseason surgery. Defenseman Michael Del Zotto (flu) did not make the trip Tuesday but could play if he's feeling better. … Capitals defenseman John Erskine (upper body) has missed the past two games, while Jack Hillen (right leg) is expected to be out for an extended period of time.

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