Sandin, Jensen ‘on track to play’ Game 4 vs Rangers; van Riemsdyk out after Rempe hit

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Washington Capitals at New York Rangers
Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

It appears that the Washington Capitals are getting veteran defensemen Rasmus Sandin and Nick Jensen back from injury as they gear up for Game 4 against the New York Rangers and look to avoid a first-round sweep in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

However, the Capitals will be without Trevor van Riemsdyk, who was injured in Game 3 after taking a massive hit from Matt Rempe.

“[Sandin and Jensen] are on track to play tonight,” Capitals coach Spencer Carbery said Sunday morning. “We’ll see how the rest of the day goes, but looking optimistic.”

The likely additions to the Capitals blue line could go a long way as they try to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Rangers, who have all the momentum coming into Game 4. Sandin and Jensen are both players who average around 20:00 of ice time per game, and are both top-five in blocked shots on the Capitals.

“It should help us a bunch,” Carbery explained. “Two guys that have been in our lineup a majority of the year. Good individual defenseman. Both do different things, but also give us NHL caliber defensemen.”

The two defenseman will also provide a boost to Washington’s special teams. In the first three games of the series, New York has had a significant advantage in special teams, scoring three power-play goals and two shorthanded. In Game 3 alone, the Rangers scored a power play goal, a shorthanded goal, and went a perfect 6-for-6 on the penalty kill.

“Jensen is a huge part of our penalty kill, Sandin runs the second unit power play,” mentioned Carbery. “There’s a lot of things that both guys can do.”

Related: Rangers 3 keys for Game 4 against Capitals

Trevor van Riemsdyk out against Rangers in Game 4

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Washington Capitals at New York Rangers
Trevor van Riemsdyk defends against Rangers center Mika Zibanejad — Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

While Washington gains two defensemen back from injury, they will now lose another regular. Van Riemsdyk has been ruled out for Game 4 with an upper-body injury. Rempe was assessed a minor penalty for interference on the play, his third penalty of the series.

“My job is to finish hits there and be hard on the forecheck,” explained Rempe. “It was a quick play. I just went through the body. Obviously, you never want anyone to get hurt, and that’s terrible that he’s hurt and I’m sorry to hear about that. But I think it was a clean hit.”

Rempe has done a good job fending off the challengers throughout the series, and knows that if he is going to fight, it must be at the right time. With the Rangers winning each game and in control throughout, there’s been no reason for him to fight Tom Wilson, Dylan McIlrath or any of the other rugged Capitals players.

Game 4 will see a desperate Capitals team with some additional help on the blue line as they look to extend their season for at least one more game.

Dane Walsh is a life-long fan of the New York Rangers. Growing up in the tri-state area, Dane has... More about Dane Walsh

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