The Capitals returned from their week off with a thud, as they lost 4-1 to the New York Rangers on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden.
Washington is now 28-16-9 and will travel to Philadelphia for a Saturday afternoon game next.
Here are a few takeaways from the team’s night in New York City:
The Capitals struggled on the power play and went 0-for-4 against the Rangers, as their offense couldn't get much working all night.
In the third period, the Capitals put Justin Schultz at the point as their lone defender on the power play in place of John Carlson. In looking for a jumpstart, they couldn't find one.
In three separate power plays, they had just four shots on net and attempted just six. There were a few more chances in the third period, but the Capitals couldn't find the back of the net.
Samsonov starts in net
Ilya Samsonov made his fifth-straight start as he looks to grab control of the team’s No. 1 job in net with the trade deadline and Vitek Vanecek’s return from an upper-body injury looming.
Against the Rangers, he stopped 17 of 21 shots sent his way. He was outdone by Igor Shesterkin, though, who stifled the Capitals all night long.
There was little Samsonov could do, though, as the Rangers turned a few grade-A chances into goals.
The Capitals did put some pressure on the Rangers' net through the net in the form of 37 shots. Shesterkin stopped all but one of them.
The NHL's Vezina Trophy favorite was excellent once again, as even when the Capitals sustained zone time, there wasn't much they could do.
He stopped breakaways, like the one on Alex Ovechkin in the third period, and turned aside a few good chances throughout the night as he proved why he might be the best netminder in the NHL.
The Capitals got a welcome boost to the lineup Thursday, as T.J. Oshie returned to the lineup for the first time since Jan. 15 against the Islanders. He played just 1:46 that day before he left with an upper-body injury.
Oshie slotted on the third line with Lars Eller and Connor McMichael and reclaimed his usual spot in the middle of the Capitals’ top power play. In 19 games this season, he has five goals and eight assists.
More than that, though, the Capitals have missed his presence in the locker room and the energy he brings to the ice. Now, they have one of their leaders and best offensive players back in the lineup for what he and the team hope is for a long time.
Zibanejad keeps scoring on Caps
If it feels like Mika Zibanejad plays some of his best games against the Capitals, it’s because he does. He put the Rangers up 1-0 in the first period, as his domination over the Capitals continued.
In 35 games against the Capitals in his career, he’s scored 15 goals — the most of any opponent he’s faced in his career.
As it turned out, his goal was almost all the Rangers needed.