WASHINGTON - After searching all season, it appears the Rangers have found a backup goaltender.
Coach John Tortorella said Alex Auld's experience makes him a better option for the Rangers than "trying to force-feed that position" with youngsters Chad Johnson, who appeared in five games and won his last start in Colorado on Jan. 31, and Matt Zaba, who mopped up in a Jan. 23 loss to Montreal, allowing two goals on 16 shots in 34 minutes.
"The situation that we had with our backups," he said, "it's best we could get them down there [from Hartford] to develop. In the stretch run here, it's a good thing for us to have a veteran guy we can use. We're not using a rookie, so it's definitely not the same spot. This is a veteran guy who has played in the league for quite a while."
The Rangers scored 16 goals in the previous four games but couldn't ring up anything last night at Verizon Center.
Sean Avery's four-point streak in three games? Gone. Brandon Dubinsky's two-game goal streak? Done. Even Wade Redden's modest two-game assist streak vanished. Olli Jokinen, who had 15 goals in 51 career games against the Capitals? Nada.
The Rangers hadn't been shut out since being blitzed by the Canadiens, 6-0, on Jan. 2.
Henrik Lundqvist, who was 1-2-0 with a 4.04 goals- against average against the Capitals this season, will play Sunday night against the Sabres. He is 1-1 against Buffalo this season, a 2-1 win in Buffalo on Dec. 5 and a 3-2 loss at home on Dec. 12 . . . Enver Lisin and Aaron Voros, who were waived March 2 but went unclaimed, were healthy scratches.