Michael Del Zotto

Banged Up Rangers Take On Caps

The Rangers are in D.C. tonight to play the fifth placed Washington Capitals. Neither team has been terribly consistent this season, though both are coming off wins. The Blueshirts for their part took care of the Atlanta Thrashers 3-2 in a shootout Saturday night, battling back from a late 2-1 deficit with both Brandon Prust and Dan Girardi injured early in the game.

Washington finally got some goal scoring out of Alexander Ovechkin Saturday afternoon, with a hat trick in a 4-1 win over the struggling Maple Leafs, and are now 3-0-1 in their last four games.

The goaltending match-up sees Martin Biron up against rookie Braden Holtby. Holtby is 59 of 61 in the last two games, and is 4-2-1 on the season. Biron gave up 3 goals on 27 shots in his last outing against the Philadelphia Flyers just over a week ago.

Already missing six players with injuries, the Rangers go into tonight’s game adding Dan Girardi (ribs) to the list. Michael Del Zotto will make his first appearance since struggling in the January 2nd 3-0 loss to the Florida Panthers.

Brandon Prust didn’t skate this morning, but expects to play. If he can’t, then expect Brodie Dupont or Evgeny Grachev to be a healthy scratch. Prust has a bruised in-step after blocking a Dustin Byfuglien shot in the first period of Saturday’s win in Atlanta.

Last time these two teams met, the Rangers overcame their nemesis; Semyon Varlamov and walked away with a 7-0 win, squaring up the season series at 1-1, following a 5-3 loss back on November 9th. Overall the Rangers are 1-3-2 against the Capitals in D.C. over the past three seasons.

Even while he has struggled, Marian Gaborik still leads the Rangers in goals (4) and points (7) over the last ten games, though five of those points came in the 7-0 win over Torotno. Mats Zuccarello also has seven points (3G 4A). Derek Stepan (2G 4A) and Wojtek Wolski (3G 3A) each have six points in their last ten games.

In their Rangers career vs. the Capitals, the team is lead by Chris Drury (3G 5A in eleven games), Marian Gaborik (5G 2A in five games) and Marc Staal (1G 5A in fourteen games). Drury, Gaborik and Prust have all registered game winners against the Caps in a Rangers uniform.

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