Capitals-Rangers Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated February 12, 2012
The New York Rangers have a short turnaround following a contentious game with a division rival. Some motivation might help them fight off any resulting fatigue. In a game that starts early Sunday afternoon, the Eastern Conference-leading Rangers will host the Washington Capitals for the first time since last year's playoff defeat. New York (35-13-5) moved six points ahead of Philadelphia in the Atlantic Division with its fifth win in as many tries over the Flyers this season. Ryan Callahan recorded his second career hat trick and Marian Gaborik had a season-high four points during a game that featured a combined 110 penalty minutes, including a season-high 42 for the Rangers. New York also scored three power-play goals to match its total over the previous 19 games (3 for 50). "We're just trying to keep the swagger on anybody we play," coach John Tortorella said. "We're trying to stay consistent in our preparation. We're trying to stay consistent in how we play and just try to keep the momentum on our side." Tortorella's club, which didn't clinch a playoff berth until the last day of last season, lost to the top-seeded Capitals in five games in the first round of the playoffs. New York also lost in seven games to Washington in the 2009 Eastern quarterfinals. The Rangers, 6-1-1 over their last eight, have split two games with Washington this season, winning 6-3 on Nov. 25 and falling 4-1 on Dec. 28. Martin Biron started the latter contest and could be in net again with his team playing on consecutive days. Biron, though, is 2-4-2 in his last eight regular-season appearances against Washington, while starter Henrik Lundqvist has two shutouts in a personal three-game win streak versus the Capitals. He also had a 2.26 goals-against average in last year's playoff series. While the Rangers are well on their way to returning to the postseason, the Capitals (28-21-5) are fighting to stay in contention. They are one point behind eighth-place Toronto and two back of Southeast Division leader Florida. Washington helped itself with a 4-0 home victory over the Panthers on Tuesday but wrapped up its three-game homestand with a 3-2 shootout defeat to Winnipeg two days later, giving up two goals in the final 2:15 of regulation. The first of those were scored after Brooks Laich was sent to the penalty box for playing with a broken stick and the second was on a deflected 82-foot shot. "We should have had the hockey game," Laich said. "It's disappointing to lose it that way." The Capitals will play six of their next eight on the road, where they're 9-14-3, and they open a four-game trip in Florida on Friday. Including the two recent playoff series, Washington is 7-3-1 in its last 11 at Madison Square Garden. "It'll be an intense game," coach Dale Hunter said. "They had Philly (on Saturday) and have us (on Sunday), so it's two big games for them. ... We have to be ready to play." Capitals star Alex Ovechkin has been ready lately with three goals and an assist over his last two games. He had a team-best six points (three goals, three assists) during last season's playoff series, and has one goal and two assists in the two matchups this season. Callahan, who fractured his right leg before last year's playoffs, has two goals and five assists over his last four games against Washington.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Celtics legend Paul Pierce prepares for what ‘could be’ his last game in Boston

Free-agent WR Josh Morgan accidentally shot himself, charged with crime

Jon Beason retires after nine NFL seasons

Brewers Association sends Peyton Manning case of craft beer

Report: Police recommend charges against LeSean McCoy

Heat interested in Kings’ 3-point specialist Omri Casspi

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Rick Pitino thinks Louisville should be fined $10 million for scandal

Browns LB Armonty Bryant indicted on felony drug charge

Report: Danny Ainge 'excited' at chance to add Al Horford

Pat Haden collapsed on USC campus

Colts on Andrew Luck contract: ‘It’s going to be a shocking number’

GW basketball coach kicked out of daughter’s HS game

Chad ‘Ochocinco’ Johnson used to soak his ankles in urine

Why Tom Thibodeau needs to be in New York

Defensemen in high demand as NHL trade deadline looms

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

Security guard indicted for assaulting University of Houston football fan

The LeBron-Kobe rivalry and Finals matchup that never was

Mario Williams recognizes Bills may release him

Terrell Owens says Cris Carter 'begged his way' into HOF

QUIZ: Name every WWE Heavyweight Champion

Three NHL players who can cement their legacies like Peyton Manning

Top 11 story lines for the 2016 NFL offseason

Vince Carter: I’ll know when, but I’m not ready to retire

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

The NCAAB power rankings

Report: Kings to keep coach George Karl

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker