CAPITALS (22-13-2) at RANGERS (19-13-4)
8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NHL.TV
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
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
Scratched: Steven Kampfer
Injured: Jesper Fast (quad strain)
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.
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.