Game 37: Return to action

December 27, 2017, by

NashOrpik caps

After a much needed holiday break, the Rangers are back in action tonight against the Washington Capitals. The Caps are back to full health, and while the Rangers always play them tough, aren’t going to be a push over. This is a high powered offense with decent defense and solid goaltending. In theory, they are a Cup contender.

The Rangers are without Jesper Fast and have put the lines through a blender after playing miserable hockey before the break. This is a team that has not only been getting outshot badly, but has looked awful in the process. The first step is to get back to not getting out shot by 50. Baby steps.

Caps Systems

Under Barry Trotz the Caps run a 1-1-3 lock or a 1-2-2 forecheck, which they use aggressively or conservatively depending on the game situation (e.g., puck location, the score, etc.). In the defensive zone, Trotz runs your standard zone defense. On special teams, the Caps employ a 1-3-1 power play, and a diamond/box hybrid penalty kill depending on puck location and opposition setup.

For more on these systems, check out our Hockey Systems page.

Caps Lines

Alex Ovechkin-Nicklas Backstrom-Tom Wilson
Jacob Vrana-Evgeny Kuznetsov-TJ Oshie
Brett Connolly-Lars Eller-Andre Burakovsky
Devante Smith-Pelley-Jay Beagle-Alex Chiasson

Christian Djoos-John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov-Matt Niskanen
Brooks-Madison Bowey

PP1: Ovechkin-Backstrom-Kuznetsov-Oshie-Carlson
PP2: Burakovsky-Eller-Connolly-Orlov-Niskanen

Braden Holtby gets the start.

Rangers Lines

Rick Nash-Mika Zibanejad-Mats Zuccarello
Chris Kreider-David Desharnais-Jimmy Vesey
Michael Grabner-Kevin Hayes-JT Miller
Paul Carey-Boo Nieves-Pavel Buchnevich

Ryan McDonaghNick Holden
Brady SkjeiKevin Shattenkirk
Marc StaalBrendan Smith

PP1: Kreider-Zuccarello-Zibanejad-Buchnevich-Shattenkirk
PP2: Nash-Miller-Vesey-Hayes-McDonagh

Ondrej Pavelec gets the start.

Scratches/Injuries: Steven Kampfer (healthy), Jesper Fast (quad)

Crazy Prediction: The Rangers don’t get outshot by 50.

Game time is 8pm. Be sure to follow on Twitter for gifs, and on our Snapchat for in-game.

Categories : Game Thread


  1. King Sieveqvist ! King Sieveqvist ! says:

    Why does he play Pav tonite ? Home game , better opponent etc … Pav plays Friday in Daytwaa and Hanks gets the rest on the road

    • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

      I agree with you, but I think I get why AV and Benny want to do it this way.

      Hank does not usually play well following a lengthy layoff with no practice. So he gets today’s morning skate, full practice tomorrow, then prepares for not only Detroit but the big outdoor marquis game with all the distractions that go with it. National TV…best chance for Hank to be st his best is if he’s sharp. Strong practice tomorrow then Wings game then another practice…he’ll hopefully be as sharp as he was before the Christmas break.

      Just my theory.

      • King Sieveqvist ! King Sieveqvist ! says:

        I guess Holtby sitting evens the score

      • Hockey Sittoo says:

        Pretty much what AV said. They wanted Hank to have the break and not worry about being ready for first game back. I’ll admit to being surprised, but it makes sense to give him a couple of good practices.

  2. SalMerc says:

    I predict a shutout tonight. Ovi scores a pair.

  3. Stevem says:

    Grubauer in net for the Craps

  4. Buch Nieves says:

    Wow, what has happened here the last couple of weeks? Did everyone go to armchair coaching school over the holidays? Should I not watch? Apparently we have no chance…?

    • Spozo says:

      I know you would never think that the Rangers were 4 points behind Washington with a game at hand at this point.

      It seems either this team win every game by 4 goals AND wins the Corsi battle or they are BAD!

  5. Chris F says:

    What happened to Kreider?

  6. Bloomer says:

    Yeah I know the Rangers have work to do on defence. But the caps blueline is not exactly poised. Gruburger is keeping the Crapitals in this one.

  7. Buch Nieves says:

    Well, there’s one point for the guys in blue. Can we get another?

  8. King Sieveqvist ! King Sieveqvist ! says:

    If Shattenkirk is in the top 3 SO I’m gonna flip !

  9. Buch Nieves says:

    Nice win. Hope it’s the start of something. I guess AV “saved his job” for one more game, lol.

  10. King Sieveqvist ! King Sieveqvist ! says:

    Battle of the Backups …. He’s played pretty solid in the last 3 games now

    • Bloomer says:

      Yep Pavelec makes it look easy. Not sure why Lundqvist gets so fired up lol

      • Hockey Sittoo says:

        Well in fairness to Hank he was facing a barrage of shots including tons of odd man rushes. Rangers did a much better job limiting shots and high danger chances tonight. That being said, Pavelec has been outstanding in his last three games.

        • Bloomer says:

          Right forgot about the high danger shots and cross ice passes.

        • King Sieveqvist ! King Sieveqvist ! says:

          Kinda like what we had against Grubauer ( who wears CCM … lol ) … he made some huge saves along with Pav. Forwards loked like they wanted to skate a little , makes a big difference.

  11. Dan says:

    Everyone in the Metro gained 1 or 2 points tonight. Just goes to show how important these games are, even in December. Solid win tonight, especially with Pav in net.

    They definitely came out of the gate looking better than they have lately, maybe they were exhausted with that schedule before Xmas and finally got their legs back. It really felt like a lot of hockey these last two or three weeks.

  12. Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

    Best defensive game the Rangers have played in awhile. Huh? What? How can that be, after our “clueless coach” (according to some out here) woke up after a holiday bender, closed his eyes, and threw darts against the wall and just hoped something would stick? Oh I know! His supremely talented team of untouchable elite beast players basically bailed him out. Because as we know….all wins credit players. All losses blame coaches.

    But wait…if the players hate be treated this way, or so I’ve been told, then why would they be willing to battle so hard to make their coach look good if they were so pissed off? Wouldn’t the opposite be true if this was so demoralizing?

    I’m just SO confused guys….help me out here.

    Seriously, this was encouraging to see them limit a dangerous team like the Caps. If not for Grubauer, we win this one easily.

    Nash was brilliant. Would it be fair to say he’s had the most snakebitten Rangers career ever?

    Worried about Kreider obviously.

    Last thing….a close second on the “hate” list behind AV for some reason is Ruff. How about major props to this guy for designing a PK that is right now a wall of efficiency…..even without Fast.

    But I forget….Ruff and AV are dinosaurs. What do they know? They can talk about their failings in Toronto when they’re quite possibly inducted together into the HOF. 🙂

    • Stevem says:

      Nash was brilliant. Would it be fair to say he’s had the most snakebitten Rangers career ever?

      I agree with you 1000% man.. he was an ABSOLUTE BEAST tonight..just can’t buy one. Kreider going down is definitely concerning. I loved their game tonight.. the ice at the Garden.. not so much.. Thanks Globetrotters!!! lol

    • Bloomer says:

      What the Rangers shut the Caps without their halloffamer goalie and their future Selkie award winner say it ain’t so Eddie.

      • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

        Have I ever said the Rangers were incapable of winning games with their backups goalie? I think if we’ve learned anything, it’s that Benny Allaire is the great goalie whisperer and has proven he can develop a 7th round pick into a sure fire future HOFer and non descript backup types into very strong secondary options that can then become good starters elsewhere.

        And this is news because what now?

        Pavelec’s recent play is encouraging. After the All-Star break, the schedule gets more challenging. He will have to play more. He’s looking more and more like a real good option. But make no mistake, long range, to advance deep in the playoffs, Hank will have to do what he’s always done—stand on his head and largely carry the team.

        And what the heck do you have against Fast?

        • Bloomer says:

          His penalty killing abilities are highly overrated. Nash and Hayes do all the heavy lifting on the pk.

          • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

            The PK was struggling big time earlier this season, and pretty much righted itself upon Fast’s return. Of course Nash and Hayes are key elements on the PK, but Fast is too. I think you are underrating him.

            But let’s look at his overall play. Again, the Rangers season turned around once Fast came back. Coincidence? Maybe. But you might want to ask the players. There’s a reason the guy has been voted Players’ Player two years in a row.

            He’s a lot more valuable than you think.