|Can Michal Neuvirth build on his performance in Pittsburgh?|
Rangers bench boss John Tortorella is expected to roll with the his iron horse, Henrik Lundqvist, in nets. Lundqvist is coming off a 30-save shootout (where he was perfect) win against the Hurricanes on Tuesday. One of the best goalies in the league, Lundqvist is the backbone of the Rangers and has the ability to shut any team down. He will be a tough task for the Capitals. Out of the crease, however, the Caps may catch a break as the Rangers are expected to be without two of their best players. Star forward Marian Gaborik has a concusssion and is still in New York, he will not play. Star defenseman Marc Staal is still feeling the effects of being run over by his big brother Eric, and is "doubtful" for the contest. Regardless, the Rangers are a tough defensive bunch, evidenced by the six total goals the Capitals have scored on them in three games (including an empty-netter).
Michal Neuvirth has been named the Capitals starter for the game, bucking the normal Bruce Boudreau trend of waiting until the morning skate to announce the goaltender. Not that it needed an official announcement. Neuvy won the game for the Capitals on Monday night, and deserves this game. Outside of the Washington crease, Nicklas Backstrom is expected to play despite a reportedly broken left thumb. When asked about the thumb during yesterday's practice, Backstrom said that it does not bother him when he is stickhandling, so he will try and give it a go. Matt Hendricks will return after a one-game absence due to the flu, likely bumping DJ King to the press box. Mike Green is considered questionable for the game, but is expected to play; he did not skate yesterday due to an illness, not his "inner-ear trauma," which has been steadily improving. His return will likely send Tyler Sloan to the healthy scratch list with King.
Puck drops for this big Eastern Conference tilt 7:08-ish. Check back later today for updates from the morning skate.
Information from Larry Brooks and Katie Carrera was used in this post.