The Washington Capitals are trying to forget a miserable homestand. A visit to Madison Square Garden would appear to make that task a little easier.
Looking to snap a season-high five-game skid, the Capitals go for their fourth consecutive win in Manhattan on Sunday night against the inconsistent New York Rangers.
After falling in Dallas on Dec. 2, the Capitals (18-10-3) closed a winless four-game run in Washington with a 3-2 loss to Colorado on Saturday despite firing 42 shots on goal. Though outscored 15-8 during the skid, Bruce Boudreau's club remains atop the Southeast Division.
Boudreau ripped his team after a 3-0 loss to last-place Florida on Thursday, but changed his tone after the latest setback.
"We're going to build off this and go. It's a different feeling in the room," he said. "There's disappointment because you gave the effort and didn't come away with (a win). But I'm hoping other than the two points, they're taking a positive aspect out of this game."
Washington has put together solid efforts in its last three matchups with the Rangers on New York's West Side, scoring 15 goals. The Capitals came away with a 5-3 victory Nov. 9 behind two goals and an assist from Brooks Laich.
Not surprisingly, Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom have been keys to that success. Ovechkin, a two-time MVP, has three goals and three assists in the last three visits while Backstrom -- a top playmaker -- had a goal and four assists during a 6-5 win Feb. 4.
Neither, though, has produced much lately. Ovechkin (team-high 36 points) has two goals and an assist while Backstrom (tied for second with 33) has three assists during the losing streak.
Mike Green, the Capitals' top-scoring defenseman with 14 points, was scratched Saturday with the flu and his status against the Rangers is uncertain. Green has totaled two goals and four assists in his last three games at MSG.
After winning five of seven from Nov. 20-Dec. 2, New York (17-13-1) has alternated wins and losses in its last four games, including a 3-1 defeat Saturday at Columbus. Marc Staal scored a power-play goal midway through the second period, but Henrik Lundqvist allowed the tying goal less than six minutes later and was beaten twice by Rick Nash late in the game.
"We've just got to move by it and bring the good things into the Washington game because that's a very good club (Sunday) night," coach John Tortorella told the Rangers' official website. "We can't worry about this now. We have to move on to the next one."
Despite a 2.62 goals-against average, Lundqvist is 3-6-1 at home this season, and has allowed 13 goals during the three-game home skid against Washington.
Martin Biron -- 5-2-0 with a 2.38 GAA in nine games this season -- could get the start, but he hasn't been able to do much against Washington either. Biron is 0-2-1 with a 2.29 GAA in his last three starts versus the Caps, all with Philadelphia in 2008 and 2009.
New York is 6-8-1 at home this season, and needs to get more out of Marian Gaborik. Since recording a hat trick and four points in a win over Edmonton on Nov. 14, Gaborik has just two goals in his last five games at MSG.
Gaborik missed last month's loss to Washington due to a shoulder injury, but is tied for third on the team with 17 points despite playing only 17 games.
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