The Washington Capitals have called up defensemen Tyler Sloan for tonight’s game against the New York Rangers. Shaone Morrisonn injured his groin in Thursday’s win over Carolina and is day-to-day so I expect Sloan to take #26’s spot on defense. Sloan was up earlier in the season when Tom Poti was hurt and played about 10 minutes a game.
Sergei Fedorov was also injured against the Canes so it will be a game time decision for #91. Fedorov played with the Alexes the other night (Semin and Ovechkin) and they had a good game. When Fedorov didn’t play much in the 3rd period it was Nicklas Backstrom who stepped up and was on the ice when the Caps rallied with 2 goals late so Coach Bruce Boudreau could put #19 with the Great #8 and Semin should Fedorov need to sit.
The Rangers are playing well and once again the Caps will face a very good goalie in New York’s Henrik Lundqvist, who is one of the top goaltenders in the league and has been a difficult puzzle for the Caps to solve throughout his career. He is 7-2-1 against Washington all-time and is 4-1-0 in his last five starts. However, his last loss to Washington came in his most recent game, a 5-4 overtime setback on Dec. 12, 2007. So Washington has had some recent success against the Swede, but history and Lundqvist’s stats this year (nine wins, a 2.00 GAA and a .928 save percentage) suggest this could be a low-scoring affair. In his 10 career games versus Washington, Lundqvist has yielded more than three goals on only three occasions. Prior to giving up five goals in his last start against the Caps, Lundqvist permitted only four combined goals in the previous four games, which included one shutout.
The Rangers are led by Chris Drury, Scott Gomez, Markus Naslund, Nikolai Zherdev, and Brandon Dubinsky up front. Drury got off to a slow start this season but had a hat trick in his last game against Tampa Bay.
Washington scored 3 goals off the rush on Thursday against Carolina so they need to get their North/South skating game going again tonight. It would also be nice if they could get the power play working as well. In the first period against Carolina they were firing point shots and going to the net for rebounds as Boudreau wanted but in the second period they regressed spending most of the two minutes passing the puck around the perimeter trying to find the perfect pass instead of going in front of the net. To beat Lundqvist the Caps must get traffic in front of the goalie.