After another one-sided loss to the Philadelphia Flyers, the Capitals (40-20-6) will look to rebound in a quick turnaround against the New York Rangers (35-27-4) on Thursday. Catch the game broadcast and pre and postgame coverage on NBC Sports Washington. Pregame coverage begins at 6 p.m. with Caps FaceOff Live followed by Caps Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m. bringing you up to the 7 p.m. game broadcast. Stick with NBC Sports Washington after the game for postgame coverage with Caps Postgame Live, D.C. Sports Live and Caps Overtime Live.
Here is what you need to know for Thursday's game.
About last night
After a strong start on Wednesday, a penalty-filled second period derailed the Caps in a 5-2 loss to the Flyers. Special teams were the difference as Washington took too many penalties, gave up one power play goal and one immediately following a penalty while also going 0-for-5 on the power play.
Lars Eller had strong comments after the game saying, "I think everybody hates losing. Everybody's pissed off right now, as it should be. And then I think, you know, everybody's got to do a little better. Everybody from top to bottom, the best players, the guys who are only playing so many minutes a night, we need more from everybody."
After his recent struggles, Michal Kempny was a healthy scratch on Wednesday. The defense did not seem to play much better with him out of the lineup though and it would not be surprising if Todd Reirden again shuffled up the defensive pairs in search of finding the right mix.
As Thursday's game is the second of a back-to-back for Washington, there was no morning skate so we will not know the lineups until Reirden pregame availability or the pregame warmups. Here is a look at the lines from Wednesday's game:
Alex Ovechkin - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Tom Wilson
Jakub Vrana - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie
Carl Hagelin - Lars Eller - Ilya Kovalchuk
Richard Panik - Nic Dowd - Garnet Hathaway
Brenden Dillon - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Nick Jensen
Jonas Siegenthaler - Radko Gudas
After Braden Holtby started on Wednesday, Ilya Samsonov will get the start Thursday in New York.
It looked as if Samsonov had supplanted Holtby as the No. 1 on Feb. 2 when Samsonov started against the Pittsburgh Penguins. That no longer seems to be the case. Since Feb. 2, Samsonov is 0-4-0 with an .877 save percentage and 3.86 GAA. That probably has more to do with how the team ahead of him is playing, but those numbers are a far cry from what Samsonov was able to do earlier in the season.
When last we met
Washington last played the Rangers on Nov. 20 and suffered a 4-1 loss, just the team's fourth regulation loss to that point. Artemi Panarin scored twice before the Caps even got on the board. Evgeny Kuznetsov broke the shutout bid for Henrik Lundqvist midway through the third period, but that would be the Caps' lone tally of the game.
Thursday's game is the third meeting between these two teams out of four this season. Washington is 1-1-0.
Thursday's loss was a big one for the Caps as it pulls Philadelphia to within one point of Washington for the top spot in the Metro. This team desperately needs two points to stay ahead of the pack in the division. New York, meanwhile is battling to keep its playoff hopes alive. The Rangers sit four points out of the last wild card spot.
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