The New York Rangers are the Washington Capitals’ final opponent of the season and the result of the regular-season finale will have major implications on whether they meet again in the playoffs or not. If the Caps can take two points from the Rangers and the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Pittsburgh Penguins in regulation, this will be a preview of a first-round series.
According to NHL.com’s Dan Rosen, forwards Artemi Panarin and Andrew Copp will be sitting the fixture out as they recover from nagging injuries. Rosen also reports that potential Hart Trophy finalist, goaltender Igor Shesterkin will be sitting on the bench as backup to Alexandar Georgiev.
The Rangers have been resting some of their key players recently as they have less to play for than a team like the Caps. Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider, Jacob Trouba, Adam Fox, and Ryan Lindgren all sat out in their 4-3 loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday. However, that specific group of five players is planned to be in the lineup Friday.
Friday’s start will be Georgiev’s first against the Caps this season since he allowed five goals all the way back on October 13 in the Caps’ home opener. He has been excellent in April, amassing a 3-1 record with a 2.00 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage.
The Capitals come into the action losers of three straight as they have blown multiple opportunities to jump over the Pens in the Metropolitan Division race for third place aka the avoid the Florida Panthers sweepstakes. The status of captain Alex Ovechkin is still up in the air after he skated at Thursday’s morning skate but did not take on the Islanders.
The Rangers have also lost three in a row so both teams will be looking for a win to ensure they head into the playoffs confident and not on a four-game losing streak.
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