At a glance: Following a convincing 4-1 road win against the Ottawa Senators Saturday night, the Rangers return home to host the Washington Capitals in a Metropolitan Division match-up Sunday at Madison Square Garden. A sputtering Caps squad that has won only two of its last ten games still remains within striking distance of the Rangers, trailing the Blueshirts by three points in the Eastern Conference standings.
Battle in net: Capitals coach Adam Oates confirmed he will start rookie Philipp Grubauer in net over Braden Holtby. Grubauer was impressive in his last visit to Madison Square Garden, making 38 of 40 saves for a 3-2 win against the Rangers. Grubauer, who has been saddled with a loss in each of his last three starts including Friday’s 5-1 drubbing from Columbus, will square off against Henrik Lundqvist, who backed up Cam Talbot in Ottawa Saturday night.
Just like old times: Oates is expected to reunite the tried-and-true tandem of Alex Ovechkin and center Nick Backstrom for Sunday night’s match in an effort to spark some offense from his struggling squad. The Capitals have been held to one goal in three of their last four games, though both players have impressive numbers against the Rangers. Ovechkin has 31 points in 34 career regular-season games; Backstrom has 22 in 25.
Players to watch: Derek Stepan finally snapped a 13-game goalless streak with his three-point effort Saturday night against the Sens, so don’t be surprised to see him go on a roll now that he has broken through. Mats Zuccarello has tallied two third-period goals in as many games. Brad Richards also remains one of the team’s most consistent contributors. The veteran center has nine points in his last eight games.
Home sweet home: Sunday night will be the first of a three-game homestand leading up to the Rangers’ Stadium Series match against the New Jersey Devils at Yankee Stadium on Sunday.