NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Tuesday, November 17th
(All times eastern)
Washington Capitals (12-4-4) at New York Rangers (11-8-1), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - After having a four-game winning streak end their last time
out, the Washington Capitals expect to have superstar winger Alex Ovechkin
back on the ice tonight when they visit the New York Rangers for a battle at
Madison Square Garden.
Ovechkin has missed the last six games since suffering a strained left
shoulder against Columbus on November 1. The 24-year-old Ovechkin, who still
leads Washington with 14 goals and 23 points, has been practicing with the
team over the past few days and head coach Bruce Boudreau expects the Russian
sniper to be ready for tonight, barring any setbacks.
The Capitals have lost twice over their last six games and both of those
setbacks came against the New Jersey Devils, who are tied with Washington for
the most points in the Eastern Conference with 28. Washington has already lost
three times to the Devils this season.
The Capitals got off to a quick start in Saturday's road test against the
Devils, but wound up losing the game, 5-2. Washington jumped out to a 2-0 lead
just over five minutes into the game, but New Jersey scored five unanswered
goals to take control of the game.
Tomas Fleischmann and Mathieu Perreault tallied for the Capitals, while Jose
Theodore took the loss after allowing all five goals on 23 shots.
"We didn't execute as good as we have been," said Caps forward Brendan
Morrison. "They play tight, a lot of one-goal games. We're disappointed. They
already beat us twice this year and we wanted to come in and make a statement
but it didn't happen."
Semyon Varlamov will get the start in goal tonight as Jose Theodore has stayed
in Washington due to personal reasons. The Capitals called up Michal Neuvirth
from their AHL affiliate in Hershey to serve as the backup to Varlamov until
Theodore is able to return to the team.
Caps forward Boyd Gordon (back) and defenseman Milan Jurcina (lower body) are
doubtful for this evening's game.
The Caps are 5-3-1 as the visiting club this season and are wrapping a brief
two-game road trip this evening.
Meanwhile, the Rangers will try to post back-to-back wins for the first time
in a month tonight. New York had a seven-game winning streak from October
3-17, but the Blueshirts haven't won consecutive outings since then and are
just 4-7-1 over their last 12 contests.
New York ended a two-game slide with a close victory Saturday in Ottawa. P.A.
Parenteau scored the decisive goal in the seventh round of the shootout, as
the Rangers edged the Senators, 2-1, at Scotiabank Place.
Vinny Prospal registered a short-handed goal in regulation for the Rangers,
while Henrik Lundqvist finished with 35 saves in the win.
"I could feel it the whole game that (Brian Elliott) wasn't going to give up
too many goals tonight so I had to be sharp," Lundqvist said of his
counterpart in the Ottawa net. "It was a fun game to play, a lot of action."
Rangers center Chris Drury missed his second straight game with a concussion
and is sidelined indefinitely.
Tonight marks the start of a three-game homestand for the Rangers, who are
6-3-0 in the Big Apple this season. New York will host Florida on Saturday and
then welcome Monday on Columbus.
The Capitals, who beat the Blueshirts in seven games during last year's
Eastern Conference quarterfinals, were dealt a 4-3 regulation loss by a
visiting New York club on October 8, giving the Rangers two straight victories
in the series after dropping the previous five regular-season matchups.
Washington has lost eight of its last nine at the Garden.
11/17 10:49:52 ET