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Preview: Capitals at Rangers

Washington coming off first loss this month; New York trying to improve power play

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

CAPITALS (39-11-7) at RANGERS (37-19-1)

12:30 p.m. ET; NBC, NHL.TV

 

Capitals team scope

After a six-day break, the Washington Capitals will play their second game in two days. Washington, which lost to the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 in a shootout Saturday, has at least one point in 22 of its past 24 games, going 19-2-3 and outscoring the opposition 104-49. The Capitals are 26-4-4 since Dec. 5 and 7-2-2 in their past 11 road games. "Obviously we practiced only once [before the game] and it felt kind of different," captain Alex Ovechkin said. "I think the first period was OK. We can be worse. But it's a good thing we battled through that, and [Sunday] is going to be much better. You could see in the third period we moved better, backed them down better, shots got through." Forwards Zach Sanford and Daniel Winnik have scored in back-to-back games. Winnik has eight goals, giving the Capitals a chance to have 10 forwards who score at least 10.

 

Rangers team scope

The New York Rangers haven't played since Thursday, when their six-game winning streak ended with a 4-2 loss at the New York Islanders. The Rangers are 1-for-14 on the power play with a shorthanded goal allowed in the past five games. "We worked on it prior to practice (Saturday) and talked a lot about it in the video session, and I really like the work we did in practice on the ice," coach Alain Vigneault said. "The puck movement was better. The shot attempts were better. Retrieving the puck was better. All in all, I thought it was a good day." If goalie Henrik Lundqvist wins, he would tie Chris Osgood for 11th on the NHL list (401). "We've got the best team in the NHL coming in our building [Sunday]," Vigneault said. "Very anxious to see that matchup. Should be a real fast-paced, intense hockey game. They are a big, skilled team and we're going to have to be at our best."

 

Capitals projected lineup

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

Marcus Johansson -- Evgeny Kuznetsov -- Justin Williams

Brett Connolly -- Lars Eller -- Zach Sanford

Daniel Winnik -- Jay Beagle -- Tom Wilson

Karl Alzner -- John Carlson

Dmitry Orlov -- Matt Niskanen

Brooks Orpik -- Nate Schmidt

Philipp Grubauer

Braden Holtby

Scratched: Taylor Chorney, Jakub Vrana

Injured: Andre Burakovsky (hand)

 

Rangers projected lineup

Jimmy Vesey -- Derek Stepan -- Rick Nash

Chris Kreider -- Mika Zibanejad -- Mats Zuccarello

Michael Grabner -- Kevin Hayes -- J.T. Miller

Pavel Buchnevich -- Oscar Lindberg -- Jesper Fast

Ryan McDonagh -- Dan Girardi

Marc Staal -- Nick Holden

Brady Skjei -- Kevin Klein

Henrik Lundqvist

Antti Raanta

Scratched: Brandon Pirri, Matt Puempel, Adam Clendening

Injured: none

 

Status report

Buchnevich was a healthy scratch against the Islanders. Klein missed that game with an illness.

 

Who's hot

Backstrom has 14 points (four goals, 10 assists) during an eight-game point streak. He has 31 points in the past 20 games. … Oshie has six points (three goals, three assists) in the past three games. … Skjei has six assists in the past six games, including two against the Islanders. … Vesey has scored in the past two games.

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