New York Rangers host Capitals coming back from holiday break

The New York Rangers schedule has three games remaining on it before the calendar flips to 2024. After an exhilarating 4-3 OT win over the Buffalo Sabres before the Christmas break, they host the Washington Capitals at the Garden on Tuesday.

A trip to the Sunshine State awaits after this matchup, as the Rangers will have a back-to-back against the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning starting on Friday to end 2023.

“We’re a little more comfortable where we are as a group,” said captain Jacob Trouba afterwards. “We know how we play the game, and we have the players to put the puck in the net, great goalies, and good defensemen. It’s confidence in the way we play. Sometimes we’ll lose games, but we’re gonna win with the group we have in here.”

Here’s today’s game and broadcast info:

New York Rangers (23-8-1) vs Washington Capitals (17-9-5)
Date/Time: December 27, 2023 @ 7:00 PM ET
Arena: Madison Square Garden
TV: MSG2
Radio: ESPN 1050 AM

Note: Subject to change, updated for each game

Related: Rangers prospects impress to start WJC

New York Rangers projected lineup

NHL: Washington Capitals at New York Rangers
Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

No lineup changes are expected with Igor Shesterkin back in net, looking to build off an impressive victory over the Sabres.

Kreider – Zibanejad – Wheeler
Panarin – Trocheck– Lafreniere
Cuylle – Bonino – Brodzinski
Vesey – Goodrow – Pitlick

Lindgren – Fox
Miller – Trouba
Gustafsson – Schneider

Shesterkin
Quick

Note: Head coach Peter Laviolette will address the media sometime after the morning skate scheduled for 10:30 a.m. ET. Check back here for any updates.

Update: Igor Shesterkin is confirmed to start

New York Rangers vs Washington Capitals

Coming out of the holiday break, the Blueshirts’ 23 wins is tied for the most in the NHL along with the Vancouver Canucks. However, they’ve played less games making their points percentage of .734 best in the league.

So what has propelled the Rangers to their lofty positioning in the standings? Without a doubt, the head coaching of Peter Laviolette has been a big factor with the team’s attention to detail in all three zones. The result is a +19 goal differential, which leads the Eastern Conference.

“They are receptive (to coaching),” Laviolette said. “We’re self aware on what we need to do better and why something isn’t successful. And I do think there has to be a receptive to audience to that.”

Special teams have also played a significant role in the Rangers success this season. In their last 7 games, they’ve scored at least one power play goal and lead the league with a 31.1% conversion rate on the man-advantage. On top of that, the Blueshirts boast a 85.7% success rate on the PK.

One of the hottest players on the team is Mika Zibanejad, who is a mainstay on both special team units. He’s skating in his 800th NHL game tonight and is riding a 7-game point streak, recording 13 points (7 goals, 6 assists) during this stretch. The 30 year-old center has also made some incredible no-look passes to set up line mates Blake Wheeler and Chris Kreider that have left them practically speechless.

“He pumped faked every person in the building and used me as a backboard,” Kreider said after slamming home the OT winner against Buffalo. “I mean the poise– I can’t comment on a play like that, it’s just silly.”

Zibanejad is now a point-a-game player with 33 points in 32 matches. Per NYR PR, Mika’s 22 points ranks fourth in the NHL since November 22.

Meanwhile, the Capitals come into contest having beaten the Rangers 4-0 at home on December 9th, which I’m sure Laviolette’s charges haven’t forgotten about. Washington is coming off a shootout loss to Tampa (2-1), but have gained a point in 8 of their last 9 matches (5-1-3).

Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore