Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Pre-Game: Capitals @ Rangers

Washington just can't seem to get healthy, and will be missing the services of Alex Semin, Mike Green, and Tom Poti...and maybe even more. A call-up (or two) could be in the works as the Capitals travel up to the Big Apple for their annual December tilt with the New York Rangers.

  • Washington has not won at Madison Square Garden since before the lockout (0-5-1).
  • Despite being 4th in the league in points, the Rangers are 26th in goals-per-game. New York has scored exactly three goals in each of their past five victories.
  • For the Rangers, defense is the key. New York has only given up six power play goals at home and ranks first in the NHL with a home penalty kill rate of 90.5%. Although Henrik Lundqvist is just 3-5 in his past eight, Stephen Valiquette has steped his game up, and posts a record of 4-2 (2.40/.920/1 shutout). King Henry should get the start...He is 7-3-1 lifetime against the Caps.
  • The Rangers are led by talented young Ukrainian (and Russian) forward, Nikolai Zherdev. After spending four seasons in Columbus, the 2003 4th overall pick was shipped to New York. Zherdev has already racked up 12 goals and 32 points in 36 games. He has seven points in his past five games, but Washington is just one of two teams (Boston) that he has not recorded a point against (3 GP).

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