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NHL Preview from The Sports Network

Saturday, April 3rd (All times eastern)

New York Rangers (26-40-7-8) at Washington Capitals (23-45-10-2), 3 p.m.

(Sports Network) - Yet another season of disappointment comes to a close for the New York Rangers today when they visit the Washington Capitals at the MCI Center.

New York will finish 13th in the Eastern Conference standings, thus missing the playoffs for the seventh consecutive season -- the longest current drought in the National Hockey League.

On Wednesday, what could have been the last game of Mark Messier's career was spoiled by the Buffalo Sabres, who escaped Madison Square Garden with a 4-3 win.

Messier has indicated that he may retire at the end of the season. The Rangers concluded their home slate and the future Hall of Famer may not play this afternoon.

The six-time Stanley Cup champion and two-time Hart Trophy winner as league MVP scored a goal, the 18th of his 25th season. The 43-year-old Messier hasn't said for certain if he will call it a career, but the fans at MSG showered him with applause during his final few shifts and gave him a standing ovation when he was named the game's first star.

Washington, meanwhile, has also experienced a disappointing campaign, and joined the Rangers in unloading many of its stars before the trade deadline.

On Thursday, Jeff Halpern's power-play goal midway through the third period enabled the Capitals to skate to a 3-3 tie with the Northeast Division-leading Boston Bruins at the FleetCenter.

Brendan Witt and Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre also scored for the Capitals, while Kip Miller set up a pair of goals. Olaf Kolzig made 35 saves for Washington, which earned a point for just the fourth time in its last 12 games (2-8-2). Kolzig, the one big-ticket player who wasn't traded, stopped 11 shots in the third period, then turned aside four in the extra period. He made a big save on a shot from the slot by former teammate Michael Nylander in the final minute of overtime to keep the game tied.

Washington will finish its season on Sunday in Pittsburgh.

The Capitals are 2-1 against the Blueshirts this season, and 11-6-1 in the last 18 meetings overall. New York has lost two straight at the MCI Center.

04/03 10:13:40 ET

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