Rangers Face Ovechkin And The Caps
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(AP) – Alex Ovechkin is putting together a strong scoring surge, but the Washington Capitals may want to see more of that production at home.
Ovechkin looks to continue his offensive burst while the Capitals attempt to begin re-establishing their success at the Verizon Center when they face the New York Rangers on Friday night.
Ovechkin has three goals and three assists during a four-game streak. The star left wing continued that run with a power-play goal in a 1-0 win at Pittsburgh on Monday, helping Washington (32-19-10) cap a 3-2-0 road trip.
Ovechkin now has eight goals and eight assists over the last 10 games as a visitor, with the Capitals winning six.
However, the two-time Hart Trophy winner hasn’t been nearly as productive at home, scoring three goals and setting up three over the past 15 games. Overall, Ovechkin has just 62 points after averaging nearly 106 in his first five NHL seasons.
He also has seven goals and five assists in 11 career meetings with the Rangers in the nation’s capital, but has failed to record a point in the last three.
The Capitals have been struggling to score, totaling seven goals while going 1-2-2 in their last five at home. That includes a 2-1 shootout loss to the Rangers (32-26-4) on Jan. 24.
Washington is 5-6-6 in its last 17 at home after opening with a 12-1-1 record. Re-establishing home-ice success could help close a three-point gap on Southeast Division-leading Tampa Bay.
“I don’t think we’ve been particularly impressive at home going back the last two months,” left wing Brooks Laich told the team’s official website. “Washington for the last couple of years has usually been a hard place for other teams to come play. We want to get back to that.”
Despite losing to New York at home last month, the Capitals are 13-2-3 over the last 18 there in the series.
The Rangers, who have taken two of three from Washington this season including a 7-0 rout on Dec. 12 in New York, will be without star Marian Gaborik (concussion) for a second consecutive game, and could be missing defenseman Marc Staal (knee).
They overcame Gaborik’s absence Tuesday, beating Carolina 4-3 in a shootout. However, Staal was lost in the third period after absorbing a hard hit by his brother, Eric Staal of the Hurricanes.
Wojtek Wolski has become a factor with goals in each of his last two games and the decisive shootout tally Tuesday.
“I was happy to be put in that position, and even more excited that we won,” said Wolski, who has five goals and seven assists in 19 games after being acquired in a trade from Phoenix last month.
The left wing didn’t manage a point in the most recent visit to Washington, but converted in the shootout.
New York, which has won all 21 games it’s led heading into the third period, may prefer to avoid reaching the tiebreaker again. The team’s 5-8-1 stretch includes only one win in regulation.
Updated February 24, 2011
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