WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 28: Jeff Halpern #15 of the Washington Capitals and Artem Anisimov #42 of the New York Rangers battle for the puck after a face-off during the second period at Verizon Center on December 28, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
The Caps head to the Big Apple looking to take a bite out of the red-hot Rangers Sunday at Madison Square Garden.
The Caps are back on the unforgiving road - where they are 9-14-3 this season - after a 1-1-1 homestand. After opening with a 4-1 loss to the Boston Bruins last Sunday and a 4-0 win over the Florida Panthers Tuesday, the Caps blew a 2-0 lead with about two minutes left in regulation in a 3-2 shootout loss to the Winnipeg Jets Thursday. Washington's stay at the top of the Southeast Division lasted only one game as the Panthers usurped the lead once again. Entering Sunday, the Panthers are two points ahead of the Caps, while the Jets are three points back. Washington, however, has three games in hand on Winnipeg.
Meanwhile, the Rangers continue to hold the Eastern Conference's top spot after a 5-4 win over the Philadelphia Flyers Saturday. Ryan Callahan earned the second hat trick of his career, scoring two power play goals.
Washington and New York have not met since the former defeated the latter 4-1 at Verizon Center December 28. Since that loss, the Rangers have only lost in regulation just four times in 18 games.