Capitals vs. Rangers: Lines, Playoff Implications, Ovechkin Injury Update
The Washington Capitals will be without Alex Ovechkin and see line changes with him and Sonny Milano out. Here’s everything to know, from combos to playoff implications to updates on Ovechkin’s injury.
The Washington Capitals have a lot on the line on Tuesday in a key divisional matchup against the New York Rangers, and they'll be without the services of captain Alex Ovechkin and winger Sonny Milano.
Here's everything to know before puck drop:
Washington Capitals vs. New York Rangers: Ovechkin & Milano Out
Ovechkin is dealing with a lower-body injury. It's unclear if it's the same issue he dealt with back in January that held him out against the Vegas Golden Knights on Jan. 21. Meanwhile, Milano will sit out with a non-COVID illness. Each missed practice on Monday, with Ovechkin taking a maintenance day and Milano resting.
Washington has yet to win a game without Ovechkin in the lineup this season (0-5-0) and has been outscored 22-9 over that span. Dating back to last season, the Capitals have lost eight straight games that the Russian has missed.
Through 62 games this season, Ovechkin has 36 goals and 26 assists. He has points in three of his last four games overall.
Milano will also be missed, as his line with Dylan Strome and T.J. Oshie has found quite a spark of late. The 26-year-old also has points in three of his last four outings.
Washington Capitals vs. New York Rangers: Lines
With Ovechkin and Milano out, the lines will see a bit of a tweak as extra forwards Aliaksei Protas and Joe Snively will draw in. Snively was recalled earlier on Tuesday.
Conor Sheary will move up with Ovechkin out, while Aliaksei Protas will draw in on the fourth line, which he's had good history with. Snively will play in Milano's spot on the strong third line with Dylan Strome and T.J. Oshie.
Aliaksei Protas-Evgeny Kuznetsov-Tom Wilson
Anthony Mantha-Nicklas Backstrom-Craig Smtih
Joe Snively-Dylan Strome-T.J. Oshie
Conor Sheary-Nic Dowd-Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Rasmus Sandin-Trevor van Riemsdyk
Martin Fehervary-Nick Jensen
Alex Alexeyev-Matt Irwin
Washington Capitals vs. New York Rangers: Playoff Implications
The Capitals sit five points out of playoff position with the Islanders clinging onto the second Wild Card spot while the Pittsburgh Penguins hold the first Wild Card spot. Washington has a big game tonight against a tough opponent and then faces the Buffalo Sabres, who jumped one point ahead of D.C. with a big win over the Toronto Maple Leafs, on Wednesday. Both New York and Pittsburgh are in action on Tuesday, with the Islanders taking on the Los Angeles Kings and the Penguins facing the Montreal Canadiens.
Other fringe teams, including the Ottawa Senators and Detriot Red Wings, are in action as well. The Sabres and Florida Panthers are not playing on Tuesday.
With a win and an Islanders loss, Washington would pull within three points of a playoff spot.
Here's a look at where things stand now:
Puck drop is at 7 p.m. ET. The game is on ESPN and also on Disney Channel for the "Big City Greens Classic," which marks the NHL's first animated game based off puck tracking.