Washington Capitals (4-2-2) v. New York Rangers (2-2-0)
|Predicted Goaltender||Record (W-L-OTL)||GAA/SV%|
|Washington Capitals||Braden Holtby (TBD)||1-1-2||4.27/.846|
|New York Rangers||Henrik Lundqvist||1-1-0||3.53/.904|
Tonight, the Washington Capitals will take on conference rivals The New York Rangers. The Caps-Rangers rivalry goes way back, to as early as the 1990’s, but intensified greatly in the 2010’s, when the two teams faced each other in the playoffs five times in five seasons.
The Capitals won their first game of the season at home on Wednesday, where they defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3. After allowing two goals by the Leafs in the first, Jakub Vrana would cut Toronto’s lead by half heading into the first intermission. The Capitals would come back to score three in under a minute-and-a-half, starting with a sneaky slip-in by Evgeny Kuznetsov. Nicklas Backstrom gave the Caps’ their first lead of the game, which would ultimately hold as the game-winning goal, just 11 seconds later. Just over 60 seconds later, John Carlson would score his 3rd goal of the season, on the power-play, giving the Capitals a 4-2 lead. Toronto would not score until the 17:27 mark of the third period, where John Tavares would similarly cut the lead to one. John Carlson, third overall in points, also leads the leagues’ defensemen in points and assists (14 and 11 respectively) (NHL.com, John Carlson). Coaching staff decided that Ilya Samsonov would start for the Capitals, and that turned out to be the right decision; Samsonov allowed just 3 goals on 32 shots, and subsequently won his 3rd game, improving his record to 3-1-0 (NHL.com, Ilya Samsonov). Braden Holtby, who has struggled this season thus far, will start between the pipes for the Capitals. More newsworthy is the confirmation from Michal Kempny himself, that he will play tonight for the first time since suffering a season-ending hamstring injury back in March. The blue-liners’ return has been highly anticipated, and fans are definitely excited about this one (Adam_Zielonka).
The New York Rangers will be playing their second game of a back to back, after losing 5-2 versus the struggling New Jersey Devils last night. A goal by Tony DeAngelo at the six-minute mark gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead, but three goals by the Devils established a lead they would ultimately hold. In a very penalty-heavy game, the Rangers received six power plays of their own, and despite not converting on a single opportunity, were able to kill off six of seven Devils’ power plays (TheScore, NYR v NJD). Currently, the Rangers allow the most shots on goal in the league, whereas the Capitals allow the fewest (35.3 vs 27.8) (TheScore, New York Rangers). They do however, boast the 2nd best faceoff percentage in the league, though they have only played 4 games thus far. Their shooting percentage is at 13.3%, good enough for 4th best. We anticipate that Henrik Lundqvist will start for the New York Rangers tonight.
Coverage of the game begins at 6:00pm with Caps Faceoff Live, followed by Caps Pregame Live at 6:30pm, all on NBCSN/NBCSWA, with puck drop shortly after 7:00pm.
Adam_Zielonka. (2019). Michal Kempny confirms he’ll be back in the #Caps lineup tonight, making his season debut. His first game action since suffering a torn hamstring last March against Tampa. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/Adam_Zielonka/status/1185209306590990339?s=20.
NHL.com. (2019). Ilya Samsonov Stats and News. Retrieved from https://www.nhl.com/player/ilya-samsonov-8478492.
NHL.com. (2019). John Carlson Stats and News. Retrieved from https://www.nhl.com/player/john-carlson-8474590.
TheScore. (2019). New York Rangers. Retrieved from https://www.thescore.com/nhl/teams/8.
TheScore. (2019). New York Rangers @ New Jersey Devils. Retrieved from https://www.thescore.com/nhl/events/21826.