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Richards' first goal lifts Caps over Coyotes 3-2

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Richards' first goal lifts Caps over Coyotes 3-2

Post-game analysis of the Capitals’ 3-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes Monday night at Verizon Center:

How it happened: Alex Ovechkin and Mike Richards netted third-period goals and Braden Holtby withstood a late barrage as the Capitals hung on to beat a very feisty Coyotes team. Evgeny Kuznetsov also scored a goal and assisted on Ovechkin’s league-leading 39th goal of the season.

What it means: The Caps have now won nine of their last 10 and are 32-5-3 since Nov. 21. They’ve also gone 17-1-1 in their last 19 at Verizon Center.

Richards embraced: It took him 15 games but Richards finally scored his first goal for the Capitals and was given a long and loud standing ovation from the sellout crowd. Tom Wilson made it all happen when he dug the puck out from under Louis Domingue, allowing Richards to snap a shot through legs and sticks. It was his first NHL goal since Jan. 3, 2015 when the Kings played the Predators.

Ovi chasing Rocket: Ovechkin has 18 goals in his last 18 games and his 39 goals lead the NHL. He is looking to become the first player since Wayne Gretzky to win four straight goal-scoring titles.

Harry Potter: Evgeny Kuznetsov’s two-point night was his 18th multi-point game of the season. He has eight points in his last five games.   

Back-handed: Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom took a slash to the hands from Martin Hanzal early in the second period and sat out the ensuing power play but returned to take normal shifts the rest of the game. Backstrom lost nine of 12 faceoffs in the first two periods.

Rumor mill: With defensemen Roman Polak off the market (traded from the Maple Leafs to the San Jose Sharks) would the Caps be interested in Winnipeg Jets captain and left wing Andrew Ladd, who won the Stanley Cup with Justin Williams in Carolina in 2006 and with the Blackhawks in 2010? Sources in Winnipeg say the Jets are willing to trade Ladd. The Caps, Blackhawks, Ducks, Panthers and Penguins are believed to have shown interest.

Scouts galore: In addition to Team Sweden scout Rikard Gronberg, seven NHL teams had representatives ion attendance: the Boston Bruins (Dennis Bonvie), Chicago Blackhawks (Pierre Gauthier), Dallas Stars (Dan O’Brien), Montreal Canadiens (Doug Gibson), Ottawa Senators (Jim Clark), San Jose Sharks (Jason Rowe) and Philadelphia Flyers (Al Hill and Ross Fitzpatrick).

Look ahead: The Caps are scheduled to practice at Kettler Tuesday at 11:30. They continue their four-game homestand Wednesday night against the Montreal Canadiens, followed by a visit by the Minnesota Wild on Friday.    

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Capitals vs. Rangers: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

Capitals vs. Rangers: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

The Capitals (2-2-1) were dealt a herky-jerky schedule for the first month of the NHL season, already having logged two back-to-backs and two extended breaks.  But Washington finally gets a semblance of normalcy when they host the New York Rangers (2-4) on Wednesday night in the first of two home games before heading out west to end the month.

The Caps enter the Wednesday Night Hockey tilt with their longtime regional foes having dropped a thrilling weekend showdown against the Toronto Maple Leafs and their high-powered attack. The Rangers have long been a thorn in the side of the Capitals and fans alike. But the team that will hit the ice at Capital One Arena on Oct. 17 will be one that Capitals need to dispatch of with ease.

The team's first foray into defending a championship has been a wild ride with ceremonies, openers, rematches and a lot of time off. After dropping the first three games of the season, New York has won two of its last three,  with both games needing extra time.

Here is everything you need to know about Capitals vs. Rangers which takes place at 7:00 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network.

CAPITALS vs. RANGERs HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Capitals vs. New York Rangers, Game 6 of the 2018-19 NHL Regular Season

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: Wednesday, October 17 at 7:00 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Capitals vs. Rangers will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network. (NBC Sports Washington Channel Finder)

Live Stream: Watch Capitals vs. Rangers on  the NBC Sports Washington live stream page and  the NBC Sports MyTeams App.

Radio: Caps 24/7 Radio, 106.7 The Fan FM

CAPITALS vs. RANGERS TV SCHEDULE

6:00 PM: Caps Faceoff Live
6:30 PM: Caps Pregame Live
7:00 PM: Capitals vs. Rangers on NBC Sports Network
9:30 PM: Caps Postgame Live
10:00 PM: Caps Overtime Live

CAPITALS vs. RANGERS PLAYERS TO WATCH

Braden Holtby, G. Capitals: Holtby has started four of the Capitals' first five games. He's allowed just two goals in the Capitals' two wins, but has given up 11 in the two losses. That being said, the Rangers do not have the caliber of fire-power possessed by the Penguins and Maple Leafs. Expect a big game from "The HoltBeast."

Mats Zuccarello, Rangers: The Rangers savvy veteran leads the team in assists (5) and points (50 through the first six games. While he's not the most dangerous threat on offense, he's the table setter and crafty elder statesman. 

CAPITALS vs. RANGERS SERIES HISTORY

Number of all-time Meetings: 273

All-Time Series Record: Capitals lead series 131–117–18–7

Regular Season Record: Capitals lead series 103–90–18–7

Playoff Record: Capitals lead series 28-27

Last Meeting: Capitals beat Rangers 3-2 OT (3/28/2018)

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4 things to watch as the Caps host the Rangers

4 things to watch as the Caps host the Rangers

The Caps return to action Wednesday as they host the New York Rangers (7 p.m., NBCSN) in a Metropolitan Division clash.

Here are four things you should be watching for in this game.

The schedule finally gives the Caps a break

The early season schedule for Washington has been bizarre to say the least. Finally, they will be catching a break on Wednesday as the Rangers will be playing in the second leg of a back-to-back.

That certainly does not guarantee a victory, but it is something the Caps are very aware of and they hope to take advantage.

“I think speed is a big part of the game and for them to be fatigued off the back-to-back is definitely going to help us whether we move the puck a little quicker than we would in other games just kind of knowing they are coming off that back-to-back,” Nathan Walker said.

“We've got to make them skate, we've got to make their D go back for pucks,” T.J. Oshie said. “I don't feel like they're going to look tired at the start of the game, usually that comes towards the end of the game, second half, and so you've got to work to drain them down a little bit and we've got to take advantage of that opportunity tonight.”

Top-line Stephenson

Stephenson was added to the top line on Saturday with no practice other than the morning skate that day. A few days between games has given him a chance to practice with Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov and it should pay dividends on Wednesday.

This game also should be a good opportunity for Stephenson who was added to the top for his speed. Playing a tired Rangers team is something he will need to take advantage of.

“It's always tough to play back-to-back and with the travel and stuff like that,” Stephenson said. “For the most part, I think that that's going to be important and just to play a full 60, that's something that we want to get consistent with and we haven't been so far … But for the most part, I think the start will really help us tonight.”

Nathan Walker returns

The Caps made a change to the lineup for Wednesday’s game as Nathan Walker will be in for Dmitrij Jaskin on the fourth line.

When asked why he made the change, Reirden said, “Just a different look. A team that's on a back-to-back, we wanted to really come at them with some speed, tenacity and intensity that we know we always get from Nathan so thought it was a good add into tonight's lineup.

The Caps have got to get more offense from their bottom six and adding the speedy Walker to the bottom six could provide a boost. He has had trouble playing within the system in the past and his play has been more frenzied than controlled at times, but with Tom Wilson still suspended, there’s definitely an opportunity for Walker to earn more playing time depending on how he plays Wednesday.

King Henry remains on his throne

In addition to a tired Rangers team, the Caps are also expected to face a tired goalie.

Henrik Lundqvist started New York’s game on Tuesday and is expected to start again on Wednesday against Washington. That is not confirmed as the Rangers did not have a morning skate because of the back-to-back, but it is believed Lundqvist will play again.

There was a time when Lundqvist was considered the best netminder in the NHL and he is off to a phenomenal start this season with a 1.99 GAA and .939 save percentage in five games thus far.

But how will the 36-year-old goalie handle a back-to-back?

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