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Friday, March 5th (All times eastern)

Washington Capitals (20-36-8-2) at New York Rangers (21-32-7-5), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - Two clubs that have been torn apart in recent weeks clash tonight when the New York Rangers welcome the Washington Capitals to Madison Square Garden.

The Capitals, after dealing Jaromir Jagr to the Rangers in January, have since unloaded Peter Bondra, Robert Lang, Sergei Gonchar and Michael Nylander. The Blueshirts, meanwhile, have dealt Alex Kovalev, Petr Nedved and franchise staple Brian Leetch this week.

New York enters the match with a four-game losing streak (0-3-0-1) intact. On Thursday the Rangers dropped a 3-1 contest in Boston, as Joe Thornton scored twice to lead the Bruins.

Mike Dunham allowed three goals on 29 shots for the Rangers, who have lost six of their last seven overall. Jagr scored the lone goal for the Rangers, who are headed for their seventh consecutive season without reaching the playoffs -- 15 points out of the final postseason spot.

The Rangers, who have dropped their last three at MSG, will host Pittsburgh on Sunday.

Washington, meanwhile, has lost its last two contests and is 1-4-1 in the last six. On Tuesday the Caps dropped a 1-0 decision to the visiting Florida Panthers. Roberto Luongo made 29 saves to post his career-high seventh shutout of the season to back the Panthers.

Olaf Kolzig stopped 26 shots for the Capitals, who suffered their second straight defeat and lost for the fourth time in five games (1-4-0). They have allowed a power-play goal in five straight games.

Tonight's match will be the Caps' first since the Gonchar deal with Boston. Washington obtained promising defenseman Shaone Morrisonn and the Bruins' first and second round selections in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft in return.

The Capitals, 4-3-1 in their last eight road games, will begin a four-game homestand Saturday against Philadelphia. Washington defeated Jagr and the Rangers, 2-1, at MSG on January 28 and is 7-3-1 in the last 11 meetings.

03/05 10:20:46 ET


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