Caps host struggling Rangers in DC

By
Updated: October 16, 2013

(SportsNetwork.com) – The Washington Capitals will try to post consecutive
wins for the first time this season when they host the sliding New York
Rangers in Wednesday’s battle at Verizon Center.

The Capitals halted a three-game losing streak on Monday by downing the
visiting Edmonton Oilers by a 4-2 count. It was Washington’s first win since
beating Calgary in a shootout on Oct. 3.

Alex Ovechkin tallied a goal and an assist to lead the Capitals to Monday’s
home win over the Oilers. Ovechkin, who led the NHL with 32 goals in last
season’s lockout-shortened campaign, already has six goals and nine points
through six games in 2013-14.

Nicklas Backstrom assisted on three goals, while Braden Holtby turned away 28-
of-30 shots to help Washington improve its home record this season to 2-2-0.

“Both teams were very desperate,” said Caps forward Brooks Laich. “They’re a
team that’s struggling as well. And for us, losing three in a row in
regulation is not acceptable at any time.”

Holtby also earned his first win of the season and is 1-3-0 with a 3.56 goals
against average in five games. He is expected to get a second straight start
in net on Wednesday.

Washington has two games left on its current five-game homestand and will
close the residency Saturday against Columbus.

The Rangers, meanwhile, are still scuffling through their season-opening nine-
game road trip. The club is just 1-4-0 on the swing so far and is still nearly
two weeks away from its home debut at Madison Square Garden on Oct. 28 against
Montreal.

New York has lost its last three games in regulation and has been outscored by
a combined 20-5 margin in those contests. The good news is the team’s most
recent loss — Saturday’s 5-3 setback in St. Louis — was the club’s best
effort since posting its lone win of the season on Oct. 7 in Los Angeles. The
bad news is the club still surrendered five goals or more for the third
straight game.

The Rangers did receive a pair of power-play tallies from Ryan Callahan in
defeat, while Brad Richards notched a goal and an assist.

“In the third, we just ran out of gas,” Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault
admitted. “Four games in six nights. You could tell the effort was there, the
willingness was there, but the legs were having a tough time.”

Martin Biron stopped only 13-of-17 shots before being removed in favor of
Henrik Lundqvist to begin the third period. Biron and forward Arron Asham have
since been placed on waivers by the club and replaced on the roster by
goaltender Cam Talbot and forward J.T. Miller, who were both recalled from
Hartford of the AHL on Tuesday.

Rumors have been flying that Biron is going to announce his retirement soon,
but the veteran goalie stopped short of saying he’s going to call it quits.

“I think there are many options ahead of me,” Biron said Monday after being
waived. “It’s not the best-case scenario obviously, but I am going to figure
it all out.

Lundqvist will get the start on Tuesday as the five-time Vezina Trophy
finalist and one-time winner tries to shake off his awful start to the season.
The Swedish netminder is 1-3-0 with a 4.21 goals against average in 2013-14,
but he is 7-3-3 with a 2.67 GAA in 24 career regular-season games against the
Caps.

Washington and the Rangers have split the last six meetings in the regular
season. The clubs met for the fourth time in five postseasons in the 2013
playoffs and the Rangers downed the Caps in seven games of a first-round
series.