|9:30 AM PT10:30 AM MT11:30 AM CT12:30 PM ET17:30 GMT1:30 10:30 AM MST12:30 PM EST21:30 UAE12:30 ET14:30 BRT, February 24, 2019
Capital One Arena, Washington, District of Columbia Attendance: 18,506
Capitals aim to keep streak alive vs. Rangers
New York Rangers at Washington Capitals
- The Capitals have earned points in eight straight games against the Rangers (7-0-1); this is the longest points streak ever by the Caps against NYR. The Rangers' last regulation win over Washington came on February 19, 2017 at New York, 2-1, with Mats Zuccarello scoring the game-winner in the third period.
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The Washington Capitals appeared to be running on empty as they sputtered toward the end of their season-high six-game road trip.
With under 24 hours to refuel after a grueling 12-day trek, the Capitals look to put it in gear on Sunday afternoon when they bid for their fifth straight victory versus the visiting New York Rangers.
The Capitals boasted a 6-2-1 mark in their previous nine contests and had won three of five games on the road trip before dropping a 5-2 decision to Buffalo on Saturday afternoon.
"Looking at it, we knew it was going to be a tough trip for us. That trip kind of sums up our game overall for the last little while -- it is the inconsistency," Washington coach Todd Reirden said. "We had a couple games on this trip and we have everyone all in and really solid team efforts, (but Saturday) I didn't feel that was the case."
Captain Alex Ovechkin converted a partial breakaway in the second period for his NHL-best 44th goal of the season and sixth during his five-game goal streak. The three-time Hart Trophy recipient, who has 51 points (33 goals, 18 assists) in 54 career encounters versus New York, capped a two-goal performance by scoring in overtime of a 4-3 victory versus the Rangers on Oct. 17 and also tallied in a 5-3 win on Nov. 24.
Defenseman Nick Jensen is slated to make his debut with Washington on Sunday. The 28-year-old was acquired by the Capitals along with a fifth-round pick from the 2019 NHL Draft from Detroit on Friday in exchange for fellow blue-liner Madison Bowey and a second-round selection in the 2020 NHL Draft.
Reirden wasn't certain where to slot Jensen, who is a right-handed shot. He could replace either Brooks Orpik or Christian Djoos, who are both left-handed.
"Right now we're thinking of a number of different options with him fitting into our lineup and we will re-evaluate that later (on Saturday night)," Reirden said. "He will definitely be playing against the Rangers (on Sunday)."
Pheonix Copley likely will draw the start after 2016 Vezina Trophy winner Braden Holtby made 33 saves against the Sabres. The 27-year-old Copley has won all three starts since signing a three-year, $3.3 million contract extension on Feb. 4 and turned aside 27 shots in Washington's most recent win versus New York.
Chris Kreider and Jimmy Vesey, who each scored and set up a goal in the first meeting with the Capitals, recorded the same statistics on Saturday afternoon as the Rangers beat New Jersey 5-2.
Ryan Strome tallied twice against the Devils to give him seven points (three goals, four assists) in his last seven games.
Mats Zuccarello, Kevin Hayes and defenseman Adam McQuaid sat out versus New Jersey with Monday's NHL trade deadline on the horizon.
"In pro sports there's a lot of stuff going on, but it's amplified this time of the year," Kreider said of Monday's upcoming NHL trade deadline. "I think it's just about trying to be a good pro. We got vets in here like Marc Staal and Kevin Shattenkirk, guys who have been around, been through it and they lead the way."
Henrik Lundqvist looks to rebound after answering a six-game winning streak with a 1-4-1 mark with a 2.71 goals-against average in February. The 2012 Vezina Trophy recipient fell to 21-12-6 in 39 career encounters with Washington after turning aside 34 of 38 shots in the October matchup.
--Field Level Media
Updated February 23, 2019