Pregame Analysis

Rangers Host Capitals on Wednesday Night Rivalry

               The Blueshirts look to snap a two-game losing skid as they host the league-leading Washington Capitals on national television (8:00 P.M. ET, NBCSN).

Rangers Ranks Capitals
8-8-2 Record 16-3-4
9th GF/PG 1st
30th GA/PG 17th
12th PP% 5th
28th  PK% 7th

               The Rangers last game was a 4-3 defeat on Saturday night against the Florida Panthers. Artemi Panarin registered two points to extend his point streak to 12 games. Brian Leetch holds the all-time record for the longest point streak in Rangers history with 17.  The penalty kill for the Rangers struggled on the road trip in Florida. Between both games against the Lightning and Panthers, the penalty killed allowed seven goals. The Rangers focused on the penalty kill at Monday’s practice.

               On Sunday, the Rangers sent Lias Andersson to Hartford to get more ice time. Andersson has been stuck on the fourth line for the entire season and was accustomed to playing under ten minutes again. The Blueshirts are hoping he’ll find and elevate his game in the American Hockey League (AHL) like Filip Chytil did to start the season.

               In his place, the Rangers have recalled Tim Gettinger from the Wolf Pack. Gettinger registered six points in the AHL this season. He is expected to play tonight on the fourth line with Brendan Smith and Greg McKegg. Gettinger is 6’6 and is known for his net-front presence and defensive ability. The Rangers will hope he can improve the penalty kill.

               Mika Zibanejad practiced in a red non-contact jersey. Zibanejad will miss his tenth straight game against the Capitals. Head coach David Quinn said Zibanejad will likely not play on the upcoming back-to-back games in Canada. When Zibanejad returns to the lineup, Quinn has stated that he wants to keep Ryan Strome at center. This could move Brett Howden or Filip Chytil down the lineup.

               Meanwhile, the Capitals are struggling with injuries of their own. Nicklas Backstrom, Carl Hagelin, and Nic Dowd will all miss Wednesday’s game against the Rangers. Garnet Hathaway is indefinitely suspended by the league for sucker-punching and spitting on an opposing player. He isn’t expected to be available.

But don’t expect Washington’s offensive absences to slow them down. The Capitals are the highest-scoring team in the league who are led by John Carlson. Carlson is tied for third in the league with 35 points and leads all defensemen in scoring. Superstar forward Alex Ovechkin has 25 points in 23 games including 15 goals. The Capitals will be looking for a repeat performance of the first meeting when they won the game 5-2.

Braden Holtby will start for the Capitals. After a slow start to the season statistically, Holtby is now 11-1-3 with a 2.91 goals-against average and a .906 save percentage.

Henrik Lundqvist will return to the net for the Rangers. Quinn said he would like to get Lundqvist into a rhythm.

Marc Staal is still recovering from ankle surgery and is not available. Kaapo Kakko is expected to play after missing the past two games with the flu.

Projected Lineup

Panarin-Strome-Fast

Kreider-Chytil-Buchnevich

Lemieux-Howden-Kakko

McKegg-Andersson-Smith

Hajek-Trouba

Skjei-DeAngelo

Lindgren-Fox

Lundqvist

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