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game preview

Capitals at Rangers preview

Grubauer in goal for Washington; Pavelec likely to start for New York

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / Senior Writer

CAPITALS (22-13-2) at RANGERS (19-13-4)

8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NHL.TV


The Game

New York Rangers goalie Ondrej Pavelec will make his first start in more than two weeks against the Washington Capitals at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday.

Pavelec last played Dec. 11, when he made 44 saves in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Dallas Stars. Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said Pavelec was told last week he'd start against Washington.

The Rangers are fourth in the Metropolitan Division, four points behind the second-place Capitals and five behind the first-place New Jersey Devils.

Goalie Philipp Grubauer will start for Washington. He made 24 saves in a 3-2 overtime loss at the Arizona Coyotes on Friday.


Players to watch

Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin has no goals in three straight games and two in his past eight.

Rangers center Mika Zibanejad didn't play the final 18:09 of a 3-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday. He has no points in three games since returning from a nine-game absence because of a concussion. Vigneault said he's been average.


They said it

"It's always tough coming back a little break, but they're doing the same thing. The only thing they've got on us is the travel, but it's a quick flight [from Washington to New York], so it should be fine." -- Capitals forward T.J. Oshie

"We felt after talking it through, [goalie coach Benoit Allaire] and I, this was probably the best thing for [Henrik Lundqvist], not having to worry during the three days off about making sure he was ready the first game back." -- Rangers coach Alain Vigneault


Capitals projected lineup

Alex Ovechkin -- Nicklas Backstrom -- Tom Wilson

Jakub Vrana -- Evgeny Kuznetsov -- T.J. Oshie

Andre Burakovsky -- Lars Eller -- Brett Connolly

Devante Smith-Pelly -- Jay Beagle -- Alex Chiasson

Dmitry Orlov -- Matt Niskanen

Christian Djoos -- John Carlson

Brooks Orpik -- Madison Bowey

Philipp Grubauer

Braden Holtby

Scratched: Nathan Walker, Taylor Chorney

Injured: Chandler Stephenson (ill)


Rangers projected lineup

Rick Nash -- Mika Zibanejad -- Mats Zuccarello

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

Chris Kreider -- David Desharnais -- Jimmy Vesey

Paul Carey -- Boo Nieves -- Pavel Buchnevich

Ryan McDonagh -- Nick Holden

Brady Skjei -- Marc Staal

Brendan Smith -- Kevin Shattenkirk

Ondrej Pavelec

Henrik Lundqvist

Scratched: Steven Kampfer

Injured: Jesper Fast (quad strain)


Status report

The Rangers' forward lines and bottom-two defense pairs are different from what they used against Toronto. Vigneault said he made changes hoping to surprise the players and find a spark. … Chiasson, who didn't play in a 3-0 loss at the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday, will be back in for Stephenson.


Stat pack

The Rangers have allowed 37.7 shots per game and have been outshot by 8.2 per game in 11 games this month. … The Capitals' power play is 1-for-20 in their past eight games.

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