Rangers Vs. Capitals: Caps Fall To New York 6-0 In An Ugly Loss

Washington can't follow up a solid road trip with a win at home. They lose to the Rangers in a big way, 6-0.

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Rangers Vs. Capitals: Washington Has No Answers For New York's Onslaught

Washington DC-The Washington Capitals offense continues to flounder and on a night when their defense failed to produce a strong outing, it showed just how vulnerable they can be.

Erik Christensen posted a four point night and Henrik Lundqvist recorded a 35-save shutout to propel the New York Rangers to a 6-0 victory, marking the second time they have blanked the Caps this season.

By the time Vinny Prospal netted the Rangers' fifth goal at 6:16 of the third period, the arena was already emptying out. Washington has lost three straight games at home and two of them have been shutouts.

Tonight was particularly bad as the power play's struggles only worsened and the penalty kill failed them in the second period, leading to disastrous results.

"Everybody feels embarrassed. We didn't score," said Alex Ovechkin. "We'll have to forget about [the game] and get ready for tomorrow's game [at the New York Islanders]."

Washington had better put this one behind them because it was one of the more disappointing losses in recent memory.

Former Capital Steve Eminger kicked off the scoring with a shot from the point that was deflected in past Neuvirth. The Capitals' counterpunch was unsuccessful as Ovechkin's wide open shot from the slot ricocheted off of Lundqvist's mask.

Shortly after, Christensen tallied his first goal on an easy tip-in from Michael Sauer and the Rangers never looked back.

"I'm not happy. Our fans deserve better," said Bruce Boureau in his postgame press conference. "We deserve to get booed. It's not fun when you come home and you've got the best fans in the world and you play like that. It's just not acceptable and it's embarrassing."

The Capitals entered the game ranked fifth on the penalty kill, but surrendered a pair of power play markers as the Rangers had their way in every facet of the contest. Michal Neuvirth's efforts in net were commendable, but the defense in front of him lacked energy, making it easy for the Rangers to grind their way to an insurmountable lead.

Christensen scored again with a power play goal just 4:19 into the second period. Then Derek Stepan converted another power play as he corralled a puck off the end boards and snuck it by Neuvirth to make it 4-0.

Lundqvist took it from there with his eighth shutout of the season, sending the Caps stumbling to New York for tomorrow night's matchup against the Islanders.

Notes: Caps defenseman Mike Green took an elbow to the head from Stepan in the first period and will miss tomorrow's game.

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Rangers Vs. Capitals: New York Pours It On With A Pair Of Power Play Goals

Washington DC-The Capitals are 1-2-2 in their last five home games and their recent struggles at the Verizon Center continue tonight against the Rangers after two periods of play.

New York’s 25th ranked power play unit added a pair of insurance markers in the second period. Erik Christensen scored his second of the evening on a beautiful backhand pass from Ryan Callahan to put New York up 3-0 at 4:19. Then Derek Stepan slipped a puck past Michal Neuvirth after it caromed off the endboards to put the Caps in a four goal hole.

Conversely, Washington is 0-3 on the power play and still hasn’t found a way to solve Henrik Lundqvist who has stopped all 24 shots fired his way.

Mike Green is questionable to return after sustaining an elbow to the head from Stepan.

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Rangers Vs. Capitals: Caps Slow Out Of The Gate, Trail New York 2-0 After One

Maybe the Capitals should have stayed away from the not-so-friendly confines of the Verizon Center.

New York came out buzzing in the first period after Michael Sauer captured the belt in an early skirmish against Jason Chimera. The fight led to an extended stay in the Caps defensive zone and a goal from Steve Eminger. The former Capitals defenseman fired a shot from the point that was deflected past Michal Neuvirth to make it 1-0.

New York added another at 14:47 of the frame. Sauer gathered possession of the puck along the sideboards and floated it to the slot for an easy tip-in by Erik Christensen and the Caps found themselves down 2-0 after one.

While the Caps came out of the dressing room flat, captain Alex Ovechkin was anything but. Ovechkin registered four shots and three hits in an energized first period performance. Midway through the stanza, he deked around a defender and sent a shot glancing off the mask of Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist.

Mike Green, back after missing six of Washington's last seven games with inner ear trauma, left the game early in the first period after taking an elbow to the head from Derek Stepan. No penalty was called and Green has yet to return to the bench.

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Rangers Vs. Capitals: Nicklas Backstrom Expected To Play. Mike Green Uncertain

Nicklas Backstrom expects to play Friday against the New York Rangers even after suffering a fractured left thumb Monday against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Via Washington Post's Katie Carrera, Backstrom's thumb is wrapped up with tape and gauze which he hopes won't affect his puckhandling abilities.

Meanwhile, Mike Green's status is uncertain. Green, who has missed six of the last seven games with an injury sustained from a slap shot to the face February 6, has the flu. His status will most likely be a game-time decision, but if he decides to play, his minutes might be limited.

"It's just bad timing with what I came down with," Green said. "I feel good as far as my head and my ear. It's just unfortunate I don't feel well with being sick. Today I'm a lot better than yesterday, I'll talk to the trainers here and see what they want to do and if I can play.

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Rangers Vs. Capitals: Caps Enter Empire State Of Mind Against Rangers

Last week, the Washington Capitals trekked through a five-game road trip as well as a five-game stint against the Pacific Division. This weekend, the Caps will enter an empire state of mind. At home for the first time since Feb. 12, the Caps will host the New York Rangers in the first of three straight games against New York-based teams.

Washington went 3-2-0 on its five-game trip, ending it with two important wins over the Buffalo Sabres and Pittsburgh Penguins. Those wins gave the Capitals sole possession of fifth place in the Eastern Conference, four points behind the Penguins and three points behind Southeast Division leader Tampa Bay.

All 10 games that the Caps have played in February have been against teams that are either in the playoffs as of Thursday or just outside the cutoff. That won't change Friday; the Rangers are currently in seventh place with 68 points and win would pull them within four points of Washington. This is the final meeting between these two teams this season and the Rangers need a win to keep pace in the Eastern Conference; they are 3-6-1 in February. Meanwhile, the Caps are 1-1-1 against the Rangers this season, including the notorious 7-0 blowout loss Dec. 12 that was featured on HBO's "24/7."

There is definitely good news on Washington's injury front. Mike Green is expected to play Friday after missing six of the last seven games while recovering from a slapshot to the face Feb. 6. Green did not practice Thursday because of flu-like symptoms, but should be ready to play. Nicklas Backstrom should also play Friday even after suffering a fractured left thumb Monday when Kris Letang slashed him.

Friday's game is the precursor to a home-and-home series against the New York Islanders Saturday and Tuesday.

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