After losing 4-2 to the Bruins in Boston yesterday, the Rangers return home to face the Capitals, who also played yesterday and lost, falling 4-3 to the Nashville Predators in Washington. The Capitals currently hold a three point lead over the Bruins for the first wild card spot in the East, meaning that if the playoffs started today, the Rangers and Capitals would square off in a playoff series for the 5th time since the 2008-2009 season.
After seeing a huge dip possession wise over the past few seasons, the Capitals have rebounded under Barry Trotz this season, posting a 51.9% score-adjusted Corsi For at even strength.
The Capitals have been a better possession team than the Rangers for much of the season, though the two teams have been pretty similar over the last few months.Secondary scoring behind Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom has been a key issue for the Capitals all season, as illustrated recently by Japers’ Rink, the Caps’ SB Nation site here. Ovechkin leads the league in goals with 47, while Backstrom is just one behind the Flyers’ Jakub Voracek for the league lead in assists. As always, the Capitals power play sits at the top of the NHL, currently operating at a 24.4% rate.
Brayden Holtby will start for Washington against the Rangers despite being pulled in the 1st period during the Capitals loss to the Predators yesterday. Holtby, who is tied with Jonathan Quick for the most starts (65) by any goalie in the league, has been excellent this season; his .923 Sv% is the 7th best in the NHL.
Following Henrik Lundqvist’s return yesterday in Boston, Cam Talbot will oppose Holtby in goal for the Rangers.
Game time is 3 PM eastern.
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) March 29, 2015