(SportsNetwork.com) – The New York Rangers will try to extend their longest
winning streak of the season to seven games when they host the surging
Washington Capitals in Tuesday’s tilt at Madison Square Garden.
New York has won six in a row to post the club’s longest win streak since a
seven-game tear from Oct. 31-Nov. 15, 2011. The defending Eastern Conference
champions posted their two most recent victories in a home-and-home sweep of
the Carolina Hurricanes.
The Rangers won a 3-2 shootout decision over Carolina on Saturday, completing
a perfect four-game road trip with the victory at PNC Arena. New York then
beat the Hurricanes 1-0 in regulation Sunday at Madison Square Garden.
Cam Talbot earned the shutout with 18 saves in the home portion. The win came
two days after Talbot signed an extension with the Rangers, and Henrik
Lundqvist’s backup is now 3-3-1 on the season with all three of his victories
coming via shutouts.
“It was a lot of fun, not a whole lot of work, so it’s always a good thing,”
Talbot said. “The guys played really well in front of me and they didn’t give
them a whole lot of quality opportunities which is always nice when you
haven’t played a game in a few weeks.”
Ryan McDonagh scored in the first period to give Talbot all the support he
needed. New York’s captain notched his second goal of the season just 4:10
into the contest.
Sunday’s win pushed New York’s record within the Metropolitan Division to
9-0-1 and the Blueshirts will try to earn their 10th divisional win of the
season tonight. The Rangers are two points behind the Capitals for the
division’s third automatic playoff berth.
New York is 4-2-1 in its last seven meetings with the Capitals overall. The
Blueshirts also own a 4-2-1 mark in the past seven encounters at MSG.
Lundqvist is expected to start tonight for the Rangers. He is 16-8-3 with a
2.55 goals against average in 27 career outings against Washington.
Washington enters tonight’s Metro showdown riding a three-game winning streak.
The Capitals played Monday night against visiting Ottawa and posted a 2-1
decision over the Senators. The victory also added to Washington’s point
streak, which is now at nine games (7-0-2).
Braden Holtby’s outstanding performance between the pipes kept the Capitals on
a roll in the win over the Sens. Holtby recorded 38 saves in a game in which
the Capitals were outshot by 39-23 count, with Nicklas Backstrom accounting
for the deciding goal on a power play late in the second period.
“Holts bailed us out and gave us the chance to win,” said Capitals forward Jay
Beagle, who scored Washington’s other goal.
Mike Green assisted on both of the Capitals’ markers.
Justin Peters could save Holtby from playing on back-to-back nights tonight.
The backup goalie is 0-1-0 with a 3.82 GAA in two career games — one start —
against the Rangers. Holtby is 2-3-1 with a 1.89 GAA in his career versus New
Washington is beginning a three-game road trip tonight and will continue the
swing after the Christmas break with Saturday’s away game versus Pittsburgh.
The Caps are 5-0-1 in their last six road tests and boast a 10-5-2 record away
from D.C. this season.
The Rangers are 10-5-3 as the host and will complete a three-game homestand
when it welcomes the New Jersey Devils on Saturday.