Steve Zipay takes you inside the locker room, home and on the road, with the New York Rangers, and also writes about the NHL, off and on the ice.
Rangers vs. Capitals matchups
1 Special teams
In close games, timely goals are critical and there’s a mismatch on the power play. Washington is ranked first in the league, scoring at a 26.8-percent clip. The Rangers are 27th (15.7 percent). The sides are closer on the penalty kill, with the Rangers 15th at an 81-percent success rate; the Capitals are 27th at 77.9 percent.
2 Stopping Alex Ovechkin
Coach John Tortorella has mixed his defense pairs for balance, separating shutdown blueliners Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi when opponents have multiple threats. But he likely will deploy them as a tandem to slow Ovechkin, who led the league in shots with 220 and goals with 32.
Can the Rangers solve 23-year-old Braden Holtby, who has been tough against them? The Rangers are generating some offense, averaging 3.6 goals since April 3, and Henrik Lundqvist has been impressive down the stretch.