Rangers Face-Off With Capitals at Garden

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Players To Watch

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Rangers-Brad Richards: Rangers head coach John Tortorella spoke on Thursday night about what a "big hole" is created when Richards is not playing his best, or if the coach decides he needs to be benched as was the case during the third period of Thursday's 4-3 shootout loss to the Islanders. On Saturday Tortorella discussed how he is confident that Richards will bounce back after that benching, and Richards was clearly champing at the bit following that day's practice when he stated how he wished there wasn't a two-day break between games. Richards is a proud veteran, who understands how valuable he is to this Rangers team. One would expect that he will be back in top form Sunday against the Caps, likely centering Marian Gaborik and Ryan Callahan, and restored to the team's No. 1 power play unit. Richards has not scored a goal in eight games, but he still ranks third on the team with 10 points, just one behind Gaborik and Rick Nash. Richards and Nash are tied for the team-lead with eight assists.

 

Capitals-Braden Holtby: The Rangers once again get to face Holtby, who nearly backstopped their ouster in the second round of the playoffs with a masterful performance last spring. Holtby surrendered 15 goals in that seven-game series, and was the major reason Washington pushed the Rangers to the brink. His performance in the epic triple-overtime Game Three loss to the Rangers was a standout highlight, but it was also representative of how solid post-season overall in which he posted a 1.98 goals against average and .935 save percentage in 14 games. This season Holtby played extremely well in Hershey during the lockout---posting a 2.14 goals against average and four shutouts in 25 games--but has struggled back in the NHL with a bloated 3.89 goals against average and sickly .877 save percentage. He has allowed four or more goals in eight of his starts with the Caps; and though he has won his last three starts, he has still surrendered eight goals in the last two combined.