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Rangers to rest McDonagh, Nash, Zuccarello and Fast against Caps

Rangers to rest McDonagh, Nash, Zuccarello and Fast against Caps

As the NHL season winds down, there are a handful of team that still have a lot to play for. The New York Rangers are not one of them.

The Rangers are locked into the first wild card spot in the East and also know they will be playing the Montreal Canadiens in the first round of the playoffs.

So, with very little to play for, many of the Rangers won't on Wednesday.

Head coach Alain Vigneault will be sitting Ryan McDonagh, Rick Nash, Mats Zuccarello and Jesper Fast for Wednesday's game in Washington calling all four plays "day-to-day."

"They've all been playing through certain bumps and bruises," Vigneault said per the Rangers' website. "So we can at this time give them a couple days here but I'm not exactly sure how things are going to unfold here."

The Rangers won't be completely devoid of star players, however, as goalie Henrik Lundqvist will start. It will be his fourth start since returning from a hip injury that forced him to miss three weeks in March.

Said Lundqvist, "Obviously tomorrow is a pretty tough test for us against the best team in the League right now and try to get some points."

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Can Pittsburgh's past be a goalie rotation blueprint?


Can Pittsburgh's past be a goalie rotation blueprint?

It’s happened. The Caps no longer seem to have a No. 1 goalie anymore, they have a No. 1 and 1a.

That’s right, we have a goalie rotation in Washington.

“There's no sense riding one,” Barry Trotz said after practice on Monday. “[Braden Holtby] is coming back and looking better every game and [Philipp Grubauer] played pretty well for a long stretch so why not have both of them going?”

Grubauer got the start Sunday in Philadelphia and Holtby is slated to get the start Tuesday against the Dallas Stars. After that we will have to wait and see.


Trotz has no layout for which goalie he wants to start and when in the remaining ten games. He is not thinking about each goalie splitting five games or which one he wants to use more.

Nope. Trotz has just one thing on his mind. It is all about who starts the next game, that’s it.

“I think you just go with a guy that's hot at the time and your team feels comfortable with and go from there,” Trotz said.

So where does this leave the goaltending situation when it comes to the playoffs? A goalie rotation is all well and good in the regular season, but he has to have one starter for the postseason, right?

Not necessarily.


When Trotz was asked if he philosophically believed in having one starter for the playoffs, Trotz initially said he would not answer, but then said, “Why don't you ask Mike Sullivan what he thinks.”

Sullivan, of course, is the head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins who has led his team to a Stanley Cup in each of the past two seasons despite turning to both goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and Matt Murray in both seasons.

While Pittsburgh’s goalie rotation was largely based on injury, however, it still provides an example of how using both goalies can work in the playoffs and that seems to be the path the Caps are headed on at the moment.

Said Trotz, “You just have to go with your gut who you think is going to get the job done.”

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NHL Power Rankings: The home stretch

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NHL Power Rankings: The home stretch

We are down to the home stretch. Only 10 games remain in the Capitals' regular season. Those 10 games will ultimately decide if the Caps finish in first place in the Metropolitan Division and who they will play in the first round of the playoffs.

Washington currently sits in first place in the division, two points ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins and four points ahead of the Philadelphia Flyers. Of those 10 remaining games, only three come against teams currently in playoff position. The most critical of these comes on April 1 when the Caps travel to Pittsburgh in a game that could ultimately decide the division.

The Caps still hold a narrow lead in the standings, but where do they stand in the rankings? See this week's updated NHL Power Rankings here.