The New York Rangers have only the Washington Capitals, currently the league’s top team, once this season, long before the Capitals truly hit their dominant stride.
They’ll get another opportunity to take down the Caps on Sunday afternoon, in a nationally televised Hockey Day in America showdown (12:30, NBC).
The Rangers (37-19-1) recently saw a six-game winning streak end, falling 4-2 to the New York Islanders on Thursday night in Brooklyn. Nick Holden had the first goal for the Rangers to give them a 1-0 lead, but three unanswered Islander goals, including a shorthanded goal, sank the Rangers, who managed to muster one more goal thanks to Jimmy Vesey.
Though the Capitals (39-11-7) have tallied the best record in hockey, they recently returned from their bye week with a 3-2 shootout loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday afternoon in Motown. The Capitals fought back from a 2-0 deficit, with goals by Zach Sanford and Daniel Winnik managing to force overtime, but Detroit prevailed in the shootout by a 2-1 tally to preserve the extra point. Evgeny Kuznetsov put in the lone shootout score.
The Rangers and Capitals will meet twice over the next nine days, having met just once on the season thus far, back in the early stages of the season on October 22, where the Rangers dealt the Capitals their first regulation loss of the season in 4-2 fashion at Verizon Center. The Rangers fought back from a 2-0 deficit, with Washington getting goals from Lars Eller and Alex Ovechkin, but three goals in the second, two by Vesey and one by Brandon Pirri, sparked the comeback. The Rangers topped things off in the third with an empty netter with Rick Nash.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490