Rangers Look To Rebound Against Capitals
The Rangers look to bounce back into the win column as they take on the Washington Capitals at MSG. New York is fresh off of a rough 3-2 loss against Toronto while Washington is also attempting to rebound from a loss, a 3-0 shutout at the hands of the Vegas Golden Knights. The Rangers currently sit fourth in the Metropolitan Division while the Capitals come into play sitting second in the Metro.
Keys To The Game
“There were definitely other chances in the game besides that (Grabner’s 3rd period goal which was called back) to tie it up,” Rangers defenseman Brady Skjei said. “We just came up a little short.” ESPN/AP
Executing Chances – As Brady Skjei mentioned above, the Rangers had a plethora of chances against the Maple Leafs last week. The general consensus was the Rangers did not play a complete effort through 60 minutes, which leads to lack of execution of serious chances against Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen. Although Miller and Vesey put the biscuit in the basket, players like Chris Kreider, Mika Zibanejad, who only saw the ice for 36 seconds in the 3rd period, and Mats Zuccarello need to help right the ship and step up their games as they were not up to par versus the Maple Leafs. The Rangers will need complete efforts from their main guys and the ability to execute their chances in order to stay in the game against Washington.
Grubauer taking shots from D at end of Caps morning skate, which usually is an indication of the starting goalie. That would save Holtby for Thursday vs. Boston.
— Tom Gulitti (@TomGulittiNHL) December 27, 2017
Goaltending – While stopping both Auston Matthews and James van Riemsdyk on breakaways, Henrik Lundqvist made 34 saves to keep the Rangers in the game. Although they lost the game, the Rangers looked good on the goaltending front as Lundqvist continued to shine in net. And with Ondrej Pavelec between the pipes in this one, the Rangers will need another stellar performance in net to boost the team’s chances against Washington.
AV confirms Pavelec will get the start for #NYR tonight against Washington.
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) December 27, 2017
All new #NYR lines:
Nash – Zibanejad- Zuccarello
Kreider – Desharnais- Vesey
Grabner – Hayes – Miller
Carey – Nieves – Buchnevich
Skjei – Staal
— Matt Calamia (@MattCalamia) December 27, 2017
Players To Watch
New York Rangers
Ryan McDonagh – Since returning from an abdominal strain, Ryan McDonagh is turning back into the defenseman we all knew he could be. At the start of the season, McDonagh’s play seemed to veer away from his usual style. He wasn’t engaged as much and was visibly compensating for something that hurt his play all around. Since coming back from his injury, his level of play has gone up. Although he doesn’t have a goal this season, he’s tallied 18 assists and has played well in his own zone, anchoring the top pair with Nick Holden. Look for him to continue his stellar play against the Capitals tonight.
Congrats to #NYR Captain @RMcDonagh27 tonight playing 500th #NHL game – all with @NYRangers. Ryan Mac also played 96 #NHLPlayoff games! Former 1st round 12th overall pick of Montreal #CanadiensMTL in 2007. 28yr old D played #NCAA at Wisconsin @BadgerMHockey.
— Ben Hankinson (@BenHankinson) December 27, 2017
“I feel like I’m using my legs a lot more, defensively and offensively, allowing myself to have good gaps [between oncoming forwards], disrupting rushes, intercepting some passes,” McDonagh said after a practice to prep for an important division game against the Devils in Newark on Thursday. “It’s been a good feeling, me playing like myself.”
McDonagh has six assists in those nine games — and 18 on the season — but stats, as usual, aren’t the whole story.
“I see it with my eyes,” coach Alain Vigneault said. “He’s been turning the corner here, his last few games especially, in the heavy part of our schedule, I really think he looked powerful on the ice, powerful to check, powerful to get away from checking, 90 percent of the time he’s getting the tougher matchups. He’s playing with speed and a lot of determination.” Steve Zipay/Newsday
Caps lines this morning for Rangers tonight (skating at Kettler before going to NYC):
Grubauer *no sign yet of which goalie will start
— Tom Gulitti (@TomGulittiNHL) December 27, 2017
Evgeny Kuznetsov – The total points leader for the Capitals, Kuznetsov is making his play known around the league with Washington. Kuznetsov has tallied two goals and two assists in his last five games, including a goal and an assist in the 3-2 OT loss against the Arizona Coyotes. Scoring at a point per game clip this month, Kuznetsov seems like he will eclipse his tally of 59 points in 82 games last season. A tour de force on the ice for Washington, it gives the Caps another scoring threat outside of Alex Ovechkin. Look for him to be all over the ice against the Rangers tonight.
Puck drops at 8!
LETS GO RANGERS!!