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Preview: Capitals at Rangers

Kevin Shattenkirk set for Washington debut; Dan Girardi of New York to miss two weeks

by Jon Lane @JonLaneNHL / Staff Writer

CAPITALS (41-13-7) at RANGERS (40-20-2)

7 p.m. ET; SN1, SNO, SNP, TVA Sports, MSG, CSN-DC+, NHL.TV


Capitals team scope

Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk will debut for the Washington Capitals one day after he was acquired in a trade with the St. Louis Blues for forwards Zach Sanford and Brad Malone, a first-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft and conditional draft picks. "Obviously, he's proven in the League," coach Barry Trotz said. "He can put up some points and he's a veteran guy, and I don't think you can have enough depth in the [Stanley Cup Playoffs] as you see every year." Shattenkirk will play on the right side with Nate Schmidt on Washington's third pair. "Around the locker room, guys realize you're getting a Team USA guy, a guy that's high profile, and he can come in and do a lot really things for us," Schmidt said. Defenseman Matt Niskanen will play after missing two games with a lower-body injury, but the Capitals will be without defenseman Brooks Orpik (lower body) and forward T.J. Oshie (upper body). Forwards Jakub Vrana and Riley Barber were recalled from Hershey of the American Hockey League. The Capitals are 2-2-1 in their past five games, including a 2-1 loss to the New York Rangers on Feb. 19. "It was a bad game from our side, especially the first 20 [minutes]," forward Nicklas Backstrom said. Trotz is one win from 700 in his NHL coaching career.


Rangers team scope

Defenseman Dan Girardi will be sidelined for two weeks with an open wound in his right ankle, coach Alain Vigneault said. Girardi blocked a shot by Anaheim Ducks forward Ryan Getzlaf on Feb. 7 and missed two games before playing the next seven. Steven Kampfer was recalled from Hartford of the AHL, giving the Rangers six healthy defensemen with Kevin Klein (back) also out. "We've got guys who are going to have to step up, for sure," defenseman Ryan McDonagh said. "Play some different minutes and different situations, I'm sure. Like any situation when you've got injuries, you expect the guys to come up and be excited and play well. The extra minutes, let's see how they handle it." The Rangers were rumored to be targeting Shattenkirk in trade discussions before he was sent to a Metropolitan Division rival. "That's part of the game," Vigneault said. "There's no doubt that they picked up a good defenseman. They're focused on our team and we're focused on ours. I like our team. I like our group. We're going to have an opportunity to measure ourselves against a team that was No. 1 last year." Goalie Henrik Lundqvist is one win from tying Grant Fuhr (403) for 10th place on the NHL's all-time list.


Capitals projected lineup

Alex Ovechkin -- Nicklas Backstrom -- Tom Wilson

Marcus Johansson -- Evgeny Kuznetsov -- Justin Williams

Brett Connolly -- Lars Eller -- Jakub Vrana

Daniel Winnik -- Jay Beagle -- Riley Barber

Karl Alzner -- John Carlson

Dmitry Orlov -- Matt Niskanen

Nate Schmidt -- Kevin Shattenkirk

Braden Holtby

Philipp Grubauer

Scratched: None

Injured: Andre Burakovsky (hand), T.J. Oshie (upper body), Brooks Orpik (lower body)


Rangers projected lineup

Jimmy Vesey -- Derek Stepan -- Rick Nash

Chris Kreider -- Mika Zibanejad -- Mats Zuccarello

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

Brandon Pirri -- Oscar Lindberg -- Jesper Fast

Ryan McDonagh -- Nick Holden

Marc Staal -- Adam Clendening

Brady Skjei -- Steven Kampfer

Henrik Lundqvist

Antti Raanta

Scratched: Matt Puempel, Pavel Buchnevich

Injured: Kevin Klein (back spasms), Dan Girardi (ankle)


Status report

The Rangers acquired defenseman Brendan Smith from the Detroit Red Wings for a third-round pick in 2017 and a second-round pick in 2018, obtained from the Ottawa Senators as part of the Derick Brassard trade on July 18, 2016. … Shattenkirk is slotted to appear on the Capitals' first power-play unit. "We'll see how he transitions into that," Trotz said. "Here's a player coming right into your lineup. He's going to try to figure out what you do systematically."


Who's hot

Backstrom has 16 points (five goals, 11 assists) in his past 12 games. … Oshie has eight points (four goals, four assists) in his past five games. … Holtby is 10-0-1 with a .923 save percentage and one shutout in his past 11 starts. … Miller has 12 points (three goals, nine assists) in his past 13 games.

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