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Rangers win backup goalie duel against Capitals

Ondrej Pavelec's big night led the Rangers to a 1-0 shootout win over the Capitals at MSG.

Look on the bright side, Washington Capitals fans: usually you end up without any standings points when your team gets shut out for two straight games.

The Capitals grabbed a “charity point” (it seems harsh to call it a “loser point” here) in a 1-0 shootout loss to the New York Rangers on Wednesday, as the Blueshirts kept their recent roll going at Madison Square Garden.

It ended up being a duel of backup goalies, as both Ondrej Pavelec (30 saves) and Philipp Grubauer (37 saves) both maintained shutouts through regulation and overtime. The Rangers ended up getting the better of Grubauer in the shootout, so they won.

(Pavelec has been on quite the run himself, lately.)

There were plenty of close calls, with John Carlson maybe losing the most sleep tonight:


The holiday break didn’t reignite the Capitals’ scoring ways, as they were also blanked by the Vegas Golden Knights as well on Dec. 23. They’ve lost three straight games, although two of those losses came beyond regulation. Washington is grinding out enough points to stay in the picture, yet they must feel frustrated.

The Rangers are getting it done, too, with a 4-1-1 mark in their last six games. Grabbing this victory while also giving Henrik Lundqvist some rare rest has to be a very nice plus going forward.

(Note: Chris Kreider left the game somewhat mysteriously with an upper-body injury. More might be known tomorrow.)

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.