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NHL on NBCSN: Caps host reeling Rangers on Rivalry Night

Oct 16, 2013, 10:07 AM EDT

Henrik Lundqvist, Alex Ovechkin Getty Images

NBCSN continues its coverage of the 2013-14 campaign tonight when the Washington Capitals host the New York Rangers at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. at 8:00 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game online.

It’s safe to assume the New York Rangers didn’t envision the start of the season like this. Through their first five games, all on the road, they have just one win (1-4-0). In those losses they’ve allowed an average of six goals per game including a 9-2 loss to San Jose that saw rookie Tomas Hertl score four times.

For new head coach Alain Vigneault, it’s been a rough introduction to life as the Rangers’ boss. More importantly, it’s been a disturbing start for star goalie Henrik Lundqvist.

Lundqvist sporting a goals-against average over 4.00 and a save percentage under .900 will give anyone’s head a shake and worse still, they’ll be hurting for offense with Rick Nash out with a concussion. That sets up for a potential rough night against a Capitals team that has reigning MVP Alex Ovechkin leading the way.

Ovechkin’s start to the season has been strong having scored six goals with nine points through the team’s first six games. Centers Nicklas Backstrom (8) and Mikhail Grabovski (6) have been right there with Ovechkin on the point production as well.

Goaltending hasn’t been Washington’s strong point to start the season either, but they’ve had better production with 17 goals compared to New York’s 10. If nothing else, that puts the onus more on Lundqvist to play strong tonight to save his team from yet another road loss. With Brad Richards and Derek Stepan providing the only consistent offensive punch, King Henrik will need to seize the throne.

These two teams have met in the postseason in four of the past five seasons. They should have each other’s strengths and weaknesses down pat.

Update (12:20 p.m. ET)

Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto is out with the flu. John Moore will reportedly take Del Zotto’s spot on the power play.

  1. ibieiniid - Oct 16, 2013 at 10:56 AM

    I’ll call Caps winning this one. I don’t think NYR will be ready for that nasty top PP line with Grabo on it now. 4-2 Caps.

    • jpelle82 - Oct 16, 2013 at 11:25 AM

      agree, rags were great under torterella at staying out of the box…dont see that happening these days (85 pims so far in 5 games). caps have 57 minutes in 6 games. powerplay will be the story of the game

      • stakex - Oct 16, 2013 at 11:29 AM

        AV just seems to weak on the players. Even when Dorsett took penalty after penalty the other night he just kept sending him back out. A player pulled something like that under Torts, and he wouldn’t play for a week. Harsh perhaps, but it worked. AV needs more grit in his coaching style.

      • ibieiniid - Oct 17, 2013 at 1:37 PM

        we were dead wrong.

      • ibieiniid - Oct 17, 2013 at 1:37 PM

        actually though, I got NYR 2 right…. didn’t think the Caps would be shut out.

  2. stakex - Oct 16, 2013 at 11:28 AM

    The Caps aren’t exactly playing good either, being just 2-4 with one of their wins coming against the Oilers…. probably the second worst team in the league right now. If Ovechkin wasn’t on fire, they probably wouldn’t have any wins.

    If the Rangers can stay out of the box (Dorsett I’m looking in your direction), and Lundqvist can play like he did in the 3rd period of the Blues game… should be a good game.

  3. President Charles Logan - Oct 16, 2013 at 12:43 PM

    lol@ stakex and here’s yet again captain know it all with his insight

  4. capsfan19 - Oct 16, 2013 at 12:52 PM

    More grit is why tortellini is in another city.

    • ibieiniid - Oct 16, 2013 at 2:12 PM

      too much grit*. more grit is good sometimes.

    • wranglerick - Oct 16, 2013 at 3:44 PM

      All that sandpaper rubbed the players too hard

  5. dipthatchip - Oct 16, 2013 at 1:09 PM

    this game is honestly a toss up.

    It’s matter of who allows the first goal or two IMO. Neither team actually has the drive to claw out of being down a few.

  6. watermelon1 - Oct 16, 2013 at 2:06 PM

    If there’s one thing that can beat the capitals before their own defense can… It’s a big goalie with decent skill-set.

    If caps don’t score early… This match is over.

  7. bbk1000 - Oct 16, 2013 at 3:31 PM

    Atlantic Division Powers?

  8. wranglerick - Oct 16, 2013 at 3:47 PM

    Islanders are going to surprise a lot of folks….in a few weeks

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