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Game #10: Washington Capitals vs New York Rangers Open Thread

NY: Washington Capitals v New York Rangers Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

After splitting a two game set with the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Rangers are set to welcome Alex Ovechkin, John Carlson, and the rest of the Washington Capitals into Madison Square Garden tonight. What could’ve been Henrik Lundqvist’s return to New York in enemy colors was not meant to be, as the former Blueshirts’ icon was unable to play this season due to needing open heart surgery.

Instead of that, the main storyline surrounds the new look Rangers, in more ways than one. The team will be debuting their new Reverse Retro jerseys, marking Lady Liberty’s first appearance on Garden ice since 2007.

In terms of the players wearing those jerseys, New York’s defense corps as been battered and bruise in the early portion of the season. Both of the team’s 3rd pairing defenseman for tonight’s matchup began the season on the taxi squad, Team defense will be a point of focus for David Quinn’s group if they want to earn two points tonight.

Player to Watch: Libor Hajek

Hajek made the opening night roster to kick of the 2019-20 campaign, and his stock has been crashing harder than $GME ever since. The Czech defenseman was absolutely ghastly every time he hopped over the boards last season, posting a 0-5-5 stat line and bleeding scoring chances and shot attempts against on a nightly basis. After 28 games, Hajek suffered a knee sprain that knocked him out of the lineup for multiple weeks, and he was mercifully demoted to AHL Hartford after getting healthy.

Seeing the Rangers sign Jack Johnson and Anthony Bitetto during the offseason and play both of them ahead of Hajek speaks volumes about what they currently think of him. As he makes his season debut tonight, Hajek could be on his last legs with the Blueshirts. A rough performance against Washington could seal his fate, so keep an eye on Hajek throughout tonight’s contest.

Enjoy the game!