Rangers at Capitals.
The post-Christmas break ends, and the Rangers begin a five-game road trip that will take them into 2014 and the second half of the season.
Ya boys have won two in a row and are 3-1-1 in their last five, with a hideous loss to the Islanders tainting what has been a decent streak following an 0-3-1 start to their nine-game homestand.
Calm Talbot starts his third straight game in goal, after winning the last two, as Henrik Lundqvist is a healthy backup for the first time since the 2006-07 season.
Otherwise the Rangers go with the same lineup, meaning Taylor Pyatt is prucha’d.
Marc Staal (concussion) practiced with the team today and hopes to play during the road trip. Ryan Callahan (knee) is off crutches and skated lightly on his own after the morning skate.
Philipp Grubauer, who beat the Rangers 4-1 at MSG Dec. 8 in his second NHL start, starts in goal for the Capitals, who will play the Rangers for the 200th time (Rangers are 88-87-18-6) tonight. The Caps, who have lost three of four, have the NHL’s best power play (25.9 percent) and the league’s leading goal scorer (Alex Ovechkin, 30).
Borrowed this from Larry Brooks this morning: “Matched primarily against Ryan McDonagh, Ovechkin has not scored against the Rangers in eight straight games — all with Henrik Lundqvist in nets — since his second-period power play goal in Game 1 of last year’s first round of the playoffs.”
Don’t forget to vote for the Three Rangers Stars in the poll on the left.