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Rangers visit Capitals with each coming off loss

by Corey Masisak

RANGERS (12-9-2) at CAPITALS (10-12-1)


Last 10: New York 5-4-1; Washington 7-3-0

Season series: The New York Rangers won the first game, 2-1 at Madison Square Garden, on a third-period power-play goal by Derek Stepan on Feb. 17.

Big story: The Washington Capitals will try to avoid a weekend sweep by the New York teams, while the Rangers open a four-game road trip looking to hang on to the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference.

Team Scope:

Rangers: New York was rolling along since Rick Nash returned from an injury, but the Rangers' four-game win streak was snapped Friday night by the Ottawa Senators at MSG. The Rangers have moved into the top eight in the East and have games in hand on the teams in ninth, 10th and 11th.

Forward Brian Boyle was a surprise scratch against the Senators.

"Other guys are playing better," Tortorella told reporters after the loss. "I like the way [Taylor] Pyatt and [Darroll] Powe have played, but Brian, we’re hoping he becomes part of it, but he certainly has to do more than he has."

Capitals: Washington put together a nice run of eight wins in 11 games, but discipline -- a huge issue all season -- killed the chances of it being nine in 12 on Saturday. The Capitals yielded two power-play goals after taking back-to-back double-minor penalties and dropped a 5-2 decision to the New York Islanders.

Now the Capitals need to defeat the Rangers to avoid being seven points out of a Stanley Cup Playoff spot at the midpoint of their season.

Who's hot: Nash, who has a five-game goal streak, leads the Rangers with nine goals and 21 points. He has 14 points in the past nine contests. … Capitals forward Eric Fehr has two goals and five points in the past four games. Forward Nicklas Backstrom has two goals and eight assists in the past eight.

Injury report: Rangers defenseman Marc Staal (eye) is out indefinitely. Forward Arron Asham (back) is out. … Capitals defensemen Mike Green (groin), Jack Hillen (upper body) and Dmitry Orlov (upper body) are out. Defenseman John Erskine left the game Saturday in the first period and did not return. Goaltender Michal Neuvirth missed Saturday because of illness. Forwards Brooks Laich (groin) and Marcus Johansson (upper body) have been out, though Johansson has been skating with the team.

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