Rangers Vs. Capitals: Caps Blow Lead Late, Lose 2-1 To Rangers In Shootout

The Caps could not exact revenge on the Rangers for their 7-0 loss last month. The Rangers are now just two points behind the Caps in the Eastern Conference standings.

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Rangers Vs. Capitals: Caps Can't Hold On To Early Lead, Lose 2-1 To Rangers In Shootout

The Washington Capitals showed signs of finally getting used to their new defensive style this weekend in wins over the New York Islanders and Toronto Maple Leafs. Monday against the New York Rangers, it seemed as though it might work again, but after giving up the tying goal late, the Caps could not hold on as they fell to the Rangers 2-1 in a shootout.

After a scoreless first period that saw both teams struggle to get any sort of offensive flow, Matt Hendricks struck first early in the second. Hendricks broke the stalemate at 1:27 off of a redirect from Marcus Johansson. Johansson fired a cross-ice pass from the point as the Rangers pressured the right side of the ice. Hendricks was alone on the left side of the crease and tapped in the pass past Martin Biron for his seventh goal of the season. Scott Hannan was credited with the secondary assist, making it his first point as a member of the Caps since the team acquired him November 30.

Braden Holtby, who made 28 saves in total, kept the Capitals in the lead with some stellar saves. The Rangers had a difficult time beating Holtby, but sometimes it's better to be lucky than to be good.

Marian Gaborik finally put the Rangers on the scoreboard at 13:19 of the third period after the puck caromed off of him and into the net. Brian Boyle fired a shot from the point that deflected off of Holtby. As Gaborik was attempting to establish position in front of the crease, the puck glanced off of his glove and stick and into the goal. Neither Gaborik nor Holtby knew where the puck was until the red light behind the net illuminated. The goal was reviewed, but the call on the ice stood to give Gaborik his 16th goal of the season.

After a scoreless overtime, the two teams would trade goals in a shootout. After Biron made the initial stop on Ovechkin, Wojtek Wolski would turn Holtby inside out to give the Rangers an early advantage. Matt Hendricks would tie the score on a move similar to his breakaway goal Saturday against Toronto, but Mats Zuccarello would also make Holtby look foolish to restore the Rangers' lead. Nicklas Backstrom would knot up the score once again and after trading misses, the Rangers would prevail as Artem Anisimov would beat Holtby to win the game for New York.

The Capitals have one more game before this weekend's All-Star Game and it is an important one; Washington will travel to Atlanta to face the Thrashers Wednesday in a divisional matchup.

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Rangers Vs. Capitals: Matt Hendricks Scores Early, Caps Lead Rangers 1-0 After Second Period

For the most part, the second period between the Capitals and Rangers was much like the first: a defensive-minded game. But for a few seconds, Matt Hendricks changed that.

Hendricks' goal early in the period has given the Capitals a 1-0 lead after 40 minutes.

Hendricks broke the stalemate at 1:27 off of a redirect from Marcus Johansson. Johansson fired a cross-ice pass from the point as the Rangers pressured the right side of the ice. Hendricks was alone on the left side of the crease and tapped in the pass past Martin Biron for his seventh goal of the season. Scott Hannan was credited with the secondary assist, making it his first point as a member of the Caps since the team acquired him November 30,

The Caps only have 11 shots on goal, but the Rangers have 18. New York outshot Washington 11-6 in the period, but Braden Holtby continues to be outstanding, stopping all 18 shots.

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Rangers Vs. Capitals: Caps, Rangers Scoreless After First Period

The Washington Capitals and New York Rangers found themselves in the midst of a defensive battle through the first 20 minutes and the 0-0 score reflects as such.

Both teams combined for just 12 shots, but each had a few scoring chances. Braden Holtby and Martin Biron have kept their respective clubs in the game.

Washington had an early power play chance, but couldn't muster a shot. The Rangers would get their chance later in the period, but Holtby made several good saves.

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Rangers Vs. Capitals: Starting Lineup

Via Washington Post, below is tonight's starting lineup for the Washington Capitals as they prepare to face off against the New York Rangers at Verizon Center.

Forwards
Ovechkin-Backstrom-Chimera
Laich-Perreault-Knuble
Hendricks-Johansson-Beagle
King-Steckel-Gordon

Defense
Schultz-Green
Alzner-Carlson
Erskine-Hannan

Goal
Holtby
Varlamov

Scratches: Eric Fehr and Michal Neuvirth.

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Rangers Vs. Capitals: Caps Hope Momentum, Scoring Touch Carries Over To Monday Matchup With Rangers

During their week-long, three-game road trip last week, the Washington Capitals showed glimpses of their high-octane offense while also sticking to their new defensive style. With momentum seemingly on their side for the first time in 2011, the Caps hope to build their confidence with a home win Monday against the New York Rangers.

Washington ended its road trip 2-0-1; after a 3-2 overtime loss to Philadelphia that saw them struggle to score until the end of the game, the Capitals finally scored first and led throughout in a 2-1 win over the New York Islanders Thursday and a 4-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs Saturday. Against the Islanders, Nicklas Backstrom scored for the first time since December 1 and against the Leafs, Alex Ovechkin had his first hat trick of the season and first multi-goal game since October 30. Thursday and Saturday's wins were the Caps' first back-to-back wins since December 28-January 1.

Based on Bruce Boudreau's superstitious nature, perhaps Braden Holtby will be in goal for the Caps. Holtby earned victories in Washington's last two games by stopping 59 of 61 shots he faced.

Regardless of goaltender, the Capitals will face a Rangers team that they've dominated in recent memory; the Caps are 9-2-1 in their last 12 meetings with New York during the regular season. Yet, the Rangers dominated the Capitals in their most recent meeting, a 7-0 blowout December 12. That game wasn't even the Rangers' only 7-0 win this season. Just last week, New York defeated Toronto by the same score, punctuated by Marian Gaborik's four goal outburst.

Other than that win, however, not much has been going well for New York. The Rangers have lost three of five and currently sit in the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference, four points ahead of eighth place Atlanta and seven points ahead of ninth place Carolina. As Washington sits in second place in the Southeast Division trailing the Tampa Bay Lightning by three points, Monday's game has serious standings implications. A win for New York would put them a point behind Washington, while a win for the Caps would put them one point behind the Lightning.

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