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Washington Capitals vs. New York Rangers @NHLdotcom
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GAME: Washington Capitals (20-36-8-2) at New York Rangers (23-32-7-5).

TIME: Friday, 7 p.m. EST.

Thus far, the new-look New York Rangers haven't fared much better than the team that struggled through most of the season.

The stripped-down Rangers will try for their first win without Brian Leetch, Alexei Kovalev and Petr Nedved when they host the Washington Capitals.

New York lost 3-1 to the Boston Bruins on Thursday for their fourth straight defeat (0-0-3-1). The loss came just one day after the Rangers shipped 17-year veteran Leetch to Toronto for defenseman Maxim Kondratiev, forward Jarkko Immonen, a first-round pick in this year's draft and a second-round choice in 2005.

Thursday's game was the first the Rangers played without Leetch on the active roster since a 2-1 loss to New Jersey on Feb. 26, 1988.

The Rangers also traded Kovalev to Montreal on Tuesday for a prospect and a 2004 second-round pick, and sent Nedved and goalie Jussi Markkanen to Edmonton on Wednesday for forward Dwight Helminen, goalie Stephen Valiquette and a second-round pick this year.

The Rangers, who have all but clinched their seventh straight season without a playoff appearance, managed just 17 shots and went 1-for-6 on the power play against the Bruins.

"I think there could be some residual effects. I'm OK with the effort, but it has to improve an awful lot," Rangers interim coach Tom Renney said.

Jaromir Jagr, who was acquired in a trade that sent Anson Carter to Washington earlier this season, scored the lone goal for New York.

Leetch assisted on three goals in a win over the New York Islanders in his first game with the Maple Leafs on Thursday.

The cost-cutting Capitals have also been revamping their lineup this season, sending Sergei Gonchar to Boston on Wednesday for defenseman Shaone Morrisonn and first- and second-round selections in the 2004 draft. Gonchar scored a third-period goal in his Bruins debut Thursday.

Washington lost 1-0 to the Florida Panthers on Tuesday for its second straight defeat and fourth in five games (1-4-0). Olaf Kolzig, who is also rumored to be traded, stopped 28 shots for the Capitals.

STANDINGS: Capitals - 50 points, 5th place, 36 PB, Southeast Division. Rangers - 58 points, 4th place, 28 PB, Atlantic Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Capitals - Carter, 14 goals; Jeff Halpern, 16 assists; Dainius Zubrus and Halpern, 27 points; Jason Doig, 105 PIM. Rangers - Jagr, 26 goals, 38 assists and 63 points; Chris Simon, 221 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through March 3): Capitals - Power play: 18.8 percent (52 for 276), 6th in NHL. Penalty killing: 81.7 percent (259 for 317), 25th. Rangers - Power play: 14.1 percent (37 for 263), 25th. Penalty killing: 81.1 percent (261 for 322), 27th.

GOALTENDERS: Capitals - Kolzig (17-30-7, 2 SO, 2.83 GAA); Sebastien Charpentier (0-3-0, 0, 3.14). Rangers - Mike Dunham (15-24-6, 1, 2.97); Jason LaBarbera (0-1-0, 0, 5.35)

SEASON SERIES: Capitals, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Jan. 28; Capitals, 2-1. At New York, Halpern and Trent Whitfield scored for the Capitals, and Kolzig turned away 32 shots, including 19 in the third period. The matchup was the first between the teams since Washington traded Jagr to New York for Carter.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Capitals - 10-19-3-1 on the road; Rangers - 12-16-3-4 at home.

Associated Press
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