Sunday, February 17, 2013
W2W4: Rangers vs. Capitals
By Katie Strang
At a glance: Sunday marks the first meeting between the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals since the two clubs faced off in the Eastern Conference semifinals last spring. The Rangers enter Sunday’s match coming off a 4-3 shootout loss to the Islanders on Thursday, while the Capitals have collected three straight wins.
No Nash? The Rangers might be without star winger Rick Nash when they host the Caps at Madison Square Garden. Nash missed practice Saturday -- the team said it was a "maintenance day" -- and also was absent for a season-ticket holder event on Friday night due to illness.
Without a morning skate for the Rangers on Sunday, it's not immediately known if Nash is available to play. But it seems the Rangers have a contingency plan in place. Just one day after being sent down to the minors, 22-year-old Chris Kreider was recalled, presumably as insurance if Nash can't play.
Missing Mike: The Caps will be without top defenseman Mike Green, who suffered a lower-body injury in the team's win over Tampa on Thursday. Tom Poti will replace Green in the lineup on defense, with John Carlson expected to assume the point on first power-play duty.
Power-play pressure: The Caps' power play has been one of the league's best through the first quarter of the season, although it may be hampered without Green, a key component to this unit. Washington enters Sunday’s game ranked fifth in the league with a 27.1 success rate, third among Eastern Conference teams behind the Islanders and Penguins.
Miller time: Rangers prospect J.T. Miller is expected to remain in the lineup Sunday. Playing against the Caps in his sixth NHL game will trigger the first year of his entry-level contract. But although that first year no longer slides, the Rangers are not married to keeping him up. The club will continue to monitor his progress and evaluate what is best for his development.