Happy Festivus, all! Let us begin with the airing of grievances. I got a lot of problems with you people! It is also the anniversary of the night the Boston Bruins celebrated Christmas by going into the stands and Mike Milbury feeding a guy a shoe.
Finally, a Rangers-Capitals game. I was wondering if they had folded.
This is a different Capitals team, and the reason is that Barry Trotz is the best coach they’ve had since they fired Bruce Boudreau.
The Capitals are unbeaten (NHL unbeaten) in their last nine (7-0-2), while the Rangers have won six in a row, as you know. The Rangers are 9-0-1 in their last 10 divisional games and trail the third-place Caps by two points with two games in hand. Washington played last night at home against Ottawa (a 2-1 win).
After tonight the NHL shuts down for the holiday, then the Rangers host the Devils on Saturday.
Alex Ovechkin comes in with just one goal in his last six games, and 3-3-6 in his last 11 (two of those goals and two of the assists in two games against Tampa Bay). Against the Rangers, he’s been handled by Ryan McDonagh, Dan Girardi, Marc Staal and Henrik Lundqvist. Ovechkin has just one goal and one assist in his last 10 games against the Rangers, and 3-2-5 in his last 14, including the seven-game playoff series in 2013 when he was shut out the final five games.
Lundqvist starts in goal (his 599th NHL game) after sitting out Sunday’s game. He has won five in a row.
The Rangers are expected to go with the same lineup. Lee Stempniak (mumps) has rejoined the team in practice and almost ready to return. John Moore is prucha’d.
After the game, vote for the Three Rangers Stars in the poll on the left.