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
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