Pregame Analysis

Rangers Seek Eight Game Win Streak At MSG

Less than 24 hours after a poor showing in Philadelphia, the Rangers host Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals (2:00 P.M. ET, MSG).

The Blueshirts are coming off a performance they’ll have to put behind them if they want to beat the Capitals. The Flyers defeated the Rangers four to zero and they were the better team throughout the game. Lundqvist kept the contest close for most of the game, registering 42 saves.

The Rangers didn’t do much right as they could not generate many scoring opportunities and kept turning the puck over.

“We really didn’t have our legs, from the get-go, and over 82 games, you’re going to have stinkers,” said head coach David Quinn. “And I put this in the stinker category. We were a little bit slow in everything we did. We were slow skating, we were slow thinking and we were slow shooting.”

The blueshirts found themselves only down one as the third period was winding down and they generated their two best chances of the game. Lias Andersson had a breakaway which was stopped by Pickard and Tony DeAngelo hit the post. Sean Couturier would get the dagger shortly after.

“At the end of the day, we got what we deserved,” said Quinn.

In the first meeting between the Capitals and the Rangers, the Capitals won 4-3 in overtime. Special teams were a factor as each team scored two power play goals.

The key for the Rangers will be slowing down Ovechkin and the power play of the Capitals. Ovechkin has 26 points (16 goals) on the season, seven of which came with the man advantage. Ovechkin is one goal behind David Pastrnak and Patrik Laine for most power play goals in the league. The Washington power play is currently fourth in the league at 28.6%.The Rangers will have to stay of the penalty box and be more responsible with the puck than they were in Philadelphia. 

“We gave up more odd-man rushes last night (12) than we had in our previous four games combined,” Quinn said.

In addition, the supporting cast in Washington consisting of Nicklas Backstrom, John Carlson and Evgeny Kuznetsov are all having great offensive seasons. Each player is averaging more than a point per game.

Tom Wilson, who missed the first meeting between these two teams due to suspension, will be in the lineup today. Wilson has eight points in six games.

The Capitals will turn to backup goalie Pheonix Copley. Like Pickard of the Flyers, Copley has struggled this season statistically. In eight appearances, Copley’s goals against average is 3.07 and he has a below .900 save percentage.The Capitals defeated the Red Wings yesterday, 3-1. Braden Holtby made 31 saves.

Alex Georgiev will make his second start of the week. Georgiev has won his last four starts, including a shutout against the Islanders this week. Georgiev enters the game with a 2.94 goals against average and .911 save percentage.

In other news, the Blueshirts have called up 6’6 Tim Gettinger from Hartford. The 20-year-old registered 11 points in 20 games for Hartford. Gettinger is tied for first among AHL rookies in goals with seven. Gettinger was a fifth round pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.

Gettinger will play for the injured Mats Zuccarello. Zuccarello has been dealing with a nagging groin injury that has sidelined him for six of the past 8 games. Quinn said he doesn’t want to push Zuccarello in a back to back situation coming off a groin injury. Gettinger will likely join Lias Andersson and Steven Fogarty on the fourth line.

Brendan Smith, who was a healthy scratch the past two games, will play in place of Tony DeAngelo. Adam McQuaid who has missed the past 13 games, is still out due to injury.

The Blueshirts will look to make it eight straight wins at Madison Square Garden.


Projected Lineup:









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