(Sports Network) - A rough third period on Saturday caused Washington's three-
game win streak to come to a halt, but the Capitals will try to bounce back
Sunday afternoon when they host the New York Rangers at Verizon Center.
Washington recently matched its longest winning streak of the season with
consecutive victories against Winnipeg, Boston and Florida. However, the Caps
lost a 5-2 decision Saturday on Long Island, as the New York Islanders scored
the game's final three goals over the last eight minutes of regulation.
The Capitals tied the score at 2-2 on Nicklas Backstrom's marker with 12:51
left in the third, but John Tavares scored a pair of power-play goals just 30
seconds apart later in the period to stake New York to a 4-2 lead. Frans
Nielsen added a short-handed tally to account for the final score.
Washington's Mike Ribeiro was given a pair of minors at the 8:48 mark to set
up Tavares' first goal. Shortly after that the Isles' star centerman then
capitalized on Jeff Schultz's double-minor for high-sticking.
"We shot ourselves in the foot tonight," said Washington winger Troy Brouwer.
"We were right there in the game, 2-2. We took ourselves out of the game with
penalties and turnovers."
Philipp Grubauer made his first NHL start in net for the Capitals and was
blitzed with 45 shots, including 19 in the third period. Backstrom and Joel
Ward scored for Washington, which lost for only the second time in its last
Grubauer was sent back to Washington's AHL affiliate in Hershey on Sunday.
Capitals No. 1 netminder Braden Holtby will get the start against the Rangers
and Michael Neuvirth is expected to return to the backup role after battling
Capitals defenseman John Erskine left Saturday's contest with an upper-body
injury and did not return. He is questionable for Sunday's game.
Washington is 7-5-0 as the host this season and will aim for a fifth straight
home victory on Sunday.
The Rangers had won four straight before dropping Friday's 3-2 regulation
decision against visiting Ottawa. Jakob Silfverberg's tally late in the third
period was the decider in the tightly-contested affair at Madison Square
Rick Nash and Brad Richards provided the offense for the Rangers, while Henrik
Lundqvist made 36 stops in defeat.
Silfverberg provided Ottawa a 3-2 edge with 4:41 remaining in regulation,
corralling the rebound of an Eric Gryba shot and lifting it under the crossbar
from the right side.
New York went for the extra skater with just over one minute to play to no
"I thought the first half of the period we were really good and then we turned
it over in the middle of the period and never really regrouped from it," said
Rangers head coach John Tortorella. "I don't think we defended that well in
that part of the game and they scored."
Nash extended his goal-scoring streak to five games and he has six markers
during that stretch. The former Columbus Blue Jacket also has points in the
last nine games he's played in, posting seven goals and seven assists during
Richards, meanwhile, returned from a two-game absence to record his first goal
since Jan. 26 and third of the season. The forward was sidelined with
soreness after absorbing an illegal hit from Buffalo's Patrick Kaleta last
New York is kicking off a four-game road trip on Sunday and is 3-4-1 as the
guest this season.
The Rangers have won two of three and six of their last eight against
Washington, but the clubs have split the last 12 meetings overall. New York
has claimed four of the past six encounters in D.C.
The Sports Network