Rangers-Caps preview

I’ll try to keep this abbreviated. We’ve played the Rangers twice this season, both at Madison Square Garden. The first meeting was one of my favorite games of the year where the Caps won 5-4. We got to see goals from John Erskine, Brian Boyle, Matt Hendricks and even Derek Boogaard in that game, which is why I loved it. The last meeting, however, was one to forget where the Caps were blanked 7-0 and it was the game which made Bruce Boudreau switch over to a more defensive system (the T-word). Since that low point, the Caps have been back to winning for the most part but the goal scoring’s still kind of absent. They are coming off a game where Alex Ovechkin recorded his first hat trick of the season, so hopefully the rest of the team can build off that.

Know Your Enemy: Rangers edition

The Rangers are currently muddled with injuries with the latest one being Brandon Dubinsky suffering from a fractured fibula and out for at least a month. This added with the injuries to Alex Frolov, Ruslan Fedotenko and Ryan Callahan made a lot of people think the Rangers would go through an offensive drought soon but that hasn’t been the case, completely. Marian Gaborik recently woke up from a long slump with a four goal game against Toronto and they’ve been getting offense from players like Brian Boyle and rookie Mats Zuccarello. They also recently traded Michal Roszival and his contract to Phoenix for Wojtek Wolski, who should be a great addition to their top six. The guys we know all about for the Rangers are on the back-end, though. Marc Staal and Dan Girardi are a tandem that can shut down Washington’s top lines and  they have done that in many of the team’s meetings, especially in the 09 playoffs. There’s also goaltender Henrik Lundqvist but he won’t be playing tonight.

Games Notes/What to Watch For:

– Braden Holtby is making his 3rd consecutive start for the Caps and he did well in his last two games against the Islanders and Maple Leafs. The latter being his best performance in the NHL. Here’s hoping he can keep it up against a group of stronger forwards.

– Martin Biron is starting for the Rangers tonight, which should hopefully make things easier for Washingotn but I’m not holding my breath.

– Marian Gaborik is a Caps-killer and we need to contain him as much as possible. No Callahan or Dubinsky should make him easier to shut down but like I mentioned earlier, other forwards have been getting the job done for the Rangers, as well so even if we do shut him down, guys like Zuccarello and Boyle might take advantage of a defensive breakdown.

– Marc Staal should be giving the Caps nightmares by now so keep your eyes on him, too.

– The Ovechkin-Backstrom-Chimera line has accounted for at least one goal ever since they’ve been paired together (which is roughly 3 games). Time to find out if this is just a lucky streak or if this line might actually have some staying power.

– Johansson and Perreault haven’t been getting much ice time at all the past few games which is weird since the former was on a brief roll until about 2 games ago. Boudreau has to start playing one of them more, right?

– DJ King is active tonight for Washington, yet Boogaard isn’t for the Rangers. Not sure what the purpose is but I have tot hin it’s injuries. Still no Fehr, Bradley or Semin.

Enjoy the game and let’s go Caps!

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