Washington is 7-2-2 in their last 11 road games and 15-6-6 on the year wearing their white jerseys. They are, of course, the top team in the Metropolitan Division and currently have a ten point lead over the Rangers in the standings (both teams have played 57 games).
The Capitals have the best record in the league. Today's game presents an opportunity for the Rangers to test their mettle before the trade line approaches. And with the never-ending carousel of Rangers rumors, that is something to keep in mind this afternoon.
Have a feeling today's meeting with the Caps will reveal a lot about this year's Rangers. A real litmus test kind of game.— Sean Hartnett (@HartnettHockey) February 19, 2017
"Very anxious to see that matchup," Alain Vigneault said about today's game against the Capitals. "Should be a real fast-paced, intense hockey game. They are a big, skilled team and we're going to have to be at our best."
Nicklas Backstrom is quietly having a monster year. He has 61 points in 57 games this season and leads the Capitals in points by a significant margin. Alex Ovechkin has 26 goals and T.J. Oshie has 23 goals this year for Washington.
The Rangers will have a different lineup today than they had on the 16th against the Islanders. The biggest chance will be the return of Pavel Buchnevich who was recently a healthy scratch. Matt Puempel is out again.
Hearing Buchnevich back on 4th line and PP at NYR prax as expected. Klein back, too. Pumpel, Pirri, Clendening spares.— Steve Zipay (@stevezipay) February 18, 2017
Kevin Klein will also draw back into the Rangers' lineup for Adam Clendening.
If Lundqvist is in net and he gets the win today he will draw even with Chris Osgood for the NHL's all-time wins list.