The Washington Capitals have been trying to rebound so much this season that they could rival the Washington Wizards.
After yet another setback Monday, the Caps look to regroup and make a statement against the Eastern Conference-leading New York Rangers Wednesday at Verizon Center.
Monday's 4-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabres sent the Caps to their seventh loss in 12 games under Dale Hunter. Washington is on the outside of the East playoff picture in 11th place; according to NHL.com, this is the latest the Caps have been out a playoff spot since April 4, 2008.
While the Caps are reeling, the Rangers are surging. New York has won five straight and seven of 10 to take control of the East. Marian Gaborik is tied with Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos for the NHL lead with 22 goals and Henrik Lundqvist has three shutouts, tied for second among goaltenders.
The Rangers defeated the Caps 6-3 November 25 in the teams' only meeting so far this season. New York has scored six or more goals against Washington three times during the regular season since the start of last year.
HBO's cameras will be at Verizon Center Wednesday as they follow the Rangers in preparation for the Winter Classic next week. The Caps lost to the other team being profiled, the Philadelphia Flyers, 5-1 December 13.