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Rangers-Capitals Preview @NHLdotcom
Rangers-Capitals Preview

GAME: New York Rangers (17-7-3) at Washington Capitals (8-15-2).

TIME: Saturday, 7 p.m. EST.

New York has had a long list of sports celebrities over the years. Given his recent play, Rangers defenseman Marek Malik may soon join that group.

Malik and the Rangers look to continue their hot streaks when they meet the Washington Capitals for the second time in a week.

Malik came into this season having scored just 27 goals in nine NHL seasons with the Hartford Whalers, Carolina Hurricanes and Vancouver Canucks.

But a week ago, Malik scored the game-winning goal in a record 15th round of the shootout, giving New York a 3-2 win over Washington. On Thursday, he followed that up with the game-winning goal in a 2-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

"I'm scared to turn on the TV now. You can't hide from him," teammate Jaromir Jagr said. "I can't go to the bar without people showing it. I can't even go to the Giants game because I think he is going to be there again. It's just unbelievable."

The Rangers are looking for their seventh straight win, something they have not done since Oct. 30-Nov. 13, 1993 - the year they last won the Stanley Cup.

Washington, meanwhile, has lost five in a row, all by one goal. Its latest loss was a 3-2 setback Thursday to the Florida Panthers.

"It's frustrating," said defenseman Bryan Muir, who scored in the latest loss. "I thought we played well enough to win."

The Capitals have not lost six in a row since Oct. 14-29, 2003.

Rookie standout Alexander Ovechkin is in the middle of the worst scoring drought of his brief career. Ovechkin, the top overall pick in the 2004 draft, has not scored in six straight games, but still leads the teams in scoring.

He has one goal and one assist in two games against New York.

Washington has won six of its last eight home games against New York with both losses coming in overtime.

STANDINGS (through Dec. 2): Rangers - 37 points, 1st place, Atlantic Division. Capitals - 18 points, 5th place, 16 PB, Southeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Rangers - Jagr, 21 goals and 40 points; Martin Straka, 21 assists; Darius Kasparaitis, 40 PIM. Capitals - Ovechkin, 15 goals and 25 points; Jeff Halpern, 15 assists; Brendan Witt, 68 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Dec. 2): Rangers - Power play: 16.8 percent (27 for 160), 18th in NHL. Penalty killing: 86.7 percent (151 for 174), 2nd. Capitals - Power play: 12.1 percent (17 for 140), 29th. Penalty killing: 79.4 percent (147 for 185), 26th.

GOALTENDERS: Rangers - Henrik Lundqvist (10-3-2, 1 SO, 2.00 GAA); Chris Holt (no appearances). Capitals - Brent Johnson (1-5-0, 0, 4.99); Olaf Kolzig (7-9-0, 0, 3.48).


LAST MEETING: Nov. 26; Rangers, 3-2 (SO). At New York, Malik scored the winning goal in a record 15th round of shootout.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Rangers - 8-5-1 on the road; Capitals - 6-5-1 at home.

Associated Press
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