Rangers need to stop Alex Ovechkin and red-hot Capitals

Rangers vs Alex Ovechkin
Feb 24, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba (8) tips the puck away from Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) during the second period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers will see Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals for the first time this season. They do so with their division rivals on a 10-2-1 run that started around the end of November.

It will be a huge clash as the Rangers are on a 9-2-1 run themselves that included a 7-game winning streak after a dreadful loss to the Chicago Blackhawks in early December.

In the Blueshirts last game before the break against New York Islanders, they rallied in the third period for a 5-3 win and their fourth straight victory on home ice.

“Over the last three or four weeks our game has transformed into the way we envisioned,” Barclay Goodrow said. “We’ve earned a little break here to get the batteries charged and come back on the 27th even stronger.”

Here’s tonight’s game and broadcast info:

New York Rangers (19-11-5) vs. Washington Capitals (19-13-4)
Date/Time: December 27, 2022 at 7:00 PM ET
Arena: Madison Square Garden
Radio: ESPN 1050

New York Rangers take on Capitals

new york rangers
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Rangers have won eight out of their last nine games, with only a hiccup in the second period against the Pittsburgh Penguins that earned them a rare December loss.

There are no lineup changes expected coming out of the break from their last game which means Julien Gauthier should get another game to prove he belongs in the lineup.

Gauthier was a catalyst in the Rangers rally over the Isles after being a healthy scratch for three games. He registered a goal and assisted on Goodrow’s tying tally in the final frame.

“Sometimes it works better than others but I try to play every game the same way,” Gauthier said. “Everything was rolling tonight. It was fun to contribute to the win.”

In goal, Igor Shesterkin should get the nod taking his impressive 17-5-4 record into the matchup. For his career against the Capitals, he’s 4-1-0 with a GAA of 2.22 and a .935 save percentage.

Shesterkin has only surrendered two goals to Alex Ovechkin to date.

Capitals playing winning hockey

The focus this season has been on Alex Ovechkin’s goal chase as he just surpassed Gordie Howe by scoring two goals (801 and 802) in Washington’s 4-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Friday before the beak.

Now that Ovi now sits second all-time on the goal scoring list with 802, the attention shifts to the Caps as they’ve collected 21 points (10-2-1) since the end of November.

You never thought it’s going to happen when you came into the league, (that) you’re going to beat any Gordie Howe record or Wayne Gretzky record or any record,” Ovechkin said. “You felt like, ‘OK, maybe you’re going to play in the NHL, you’re going to be good and you’re going to try to do your best,’ but the whole situation happening right now, it’s a miracle. You know, it’s pretty special.”

Ovechkin is the first player other than Gretzky or Howe to occupy a top-two spot on that list since Dec. 21, 1991 — the day Gretzky scored his 732nd career goal to overtake Marcel Dionne (731) for second place in NHL history.

Ovechkin has 42 goals in 68 regular-season games against the Rangers, who, like the Capitals are surging since Dec. 3.

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–Field Level Media contributed to this article

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

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