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NHL Preview from The Sports Network

Thursday, March 18th (All times eastern)

New York Rangers (25-35-7-6) at Washington Capitals (21-42-8-2), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - Two clubs ripped apart prior to this year's trade deadline tangle tonight when the Washington Capitals welcome the New York Rangers to the MCI Center.

Washington dumped high-ticket players Jaromir Jagr, Peter Bondra, Sergei Gonchar and Robert Lang, while New York unloaded the likes of Brian Leetch, Vladimir Malakhov, Peter Nedved, Alex Kovalev and Chris Simon. Jagr, of course, was traded from the Capitals to the Rangers in January, and will make his first return trip to DC this evening.

The Caps have dropped five straight games, including Tuesday's 4-1 loss in Pittsburgh. Landon Wilson scored two power-play goals and Sebastien Caron made 20 saves to lift the Penguins.

Alexander Semin scored for the Capitals, who fell for the eighth time in nine games. Olaf Kolzig, who was surprisingly not dealt before the deadline, stopped 23 of 27 shots.

The Capitals have been outscored, 23-7, during their current five-game slump.

Josef Boumedienne and Jeff Halpern each had an assist for the Capitals, who went 1-for-3 on the power play. Washington, 1-6-1 in its last eight at home, will host Atlanta on Saturday.

The Rangers, meanwhile, have lost their last three tilts, including Monday's 3-1 defeat to the visiting Devils.

Mike Dunham was brilliant in defeat, but even his 42 saves weren't enough to keep the Rangers from falling to their Hudson River rivals. Jozef Balej, who was acquired from Montreal in the Kovalev trade, scored his first career goal in the setback.

The Rangers, who have dropped five of their last six on the road, will visit Philadelphia on Saturday.

Washington and New York have split two games this season, both at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers ended a two-game series losing streak with a 3-2 win on March 5.

03/18 11:36:27 ET

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