Lundqvist stopped 30 shots in Wednesday’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Capitals.
A combination of poor play and a sore back has kept Lundqvist out of the lineup for six of the last seven games, but he looked strong in his return to action even if he didn’t get the win. At 36 years old, the netminder isn’t the perennial Vezina contender he used to be and is headed for the worst GAA of his career, but Lundqvist isn’t an outright liability — either for the Rangers or for fantasy GMs — quite yet.
The Capitals (45-24-7) take on the Rangers (33-35-8) Wednesday, March 28 at 8:00 p.m. ET in Washington.
WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-RANGERS GAME ON?
The Capitals-Rangers game will be broadcast on NBCSN. Coverage kicks off on NBC Sports Washington with Capitals FaceOff at 7:00 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 7:30 p.m. Check back with NBC Sports Washington after the game for Caps Extra and Caps Overtime at 11:00 p.m. for postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)
7:00 p.m. – Caps FaceOff 7:30 p.m. – Caps GameTime 8:00 p.m. – Capitals at Rangers (on NBCSN) 10:30 p.m. – Caps Extra 11:00 p.m. – Caps Overtime
WHAT ARE THE PROJECTED LINES FOR THE CAPITALS-RANGERS GAME?
Here are the projected lines for the Caps-Rangers game:
Forwards Alex Ovechkin – Evgeny Kuznetsov – Tom Wilson Andre Burakovsky – Nicklas Backstrom – T.J. Oshie Shane Gersich – Lars Eller – Devante Smith-Pelly Chandler Stephenson – Jay Beagle – Brett Connolly
Defensemen Michal Kempny – John Carlson Dmitry Orlov – Matt Niskanen Brooks Orpik – Jakub Jerabek
Braden Holtby starts with Pheonix Copley as backup
Scratches: Jakub Vrana, Alex Chiasson, Christian Djoos, Philipp Grubauer
It’s almost as if the Rangers are so focused on the future that the bright showings from two prized prospects outshone what was another dreary result.
With a goal from Lias Andersson in his NHL debut, and an assist from Filip Chytil for his first NHL point, it hardly seemed to matter the woebegone Rangers lost, 4-2, to the Capitals on Monday night at the Garden.
Both teenage first-rounders from this most recent draft were smiling after this one, and there is hope in what they could bring to the franchise in the years to come.
“It’s fun to score, get this out of the way,” said Andersson, whose family was in from Sweden and was shown celebrating in the stands. “Just have to keep building on this now.”
The Rangers (33-35-8) are banking on contributions from the 19-year-old Andersson, taken with the No. 7-overall selection, and the 18-year-old Chytil, who went to them at No. 21. Both were summoned from AHL Hartford on Sunday and both will have the first year of their entry-level deals slide into next season, with the Blueshirts having just six more games before they inevitably miss the playoffs for the first time in seven years.
Andersson could have played nine total games, while Chytil could play seven more after he had made the Rangers out of training camp and played in two games before being sent to the Wolf Pack on Oct. 10. But general manager Jeff Gorton made the decision to bring them up together, making this arguably the most interesting game the Blueshirts have played in months.
“Both kids had a good game, for an emotional day and an emotional game for them,” coach Alain Vigneault said. “I thought they played well.”
Andersson played 10:44 while centering a line with Jimmy Vesey and Ryan Spooner, and his highlight came when he finished a great Vesey feed from behind at 13:16 of the second period, a quick little shot past Phillipp Grubauer’s glove to make it 4-1. It gave his team some life after the Capitals (45-24-7) had taken a 3-0 lead in the opening 8:54 of the first period, chasing rookie goalie Alexandar Georgiev after he allowed three goals on six shots.
Filip ChytilNHLI via Getty Images
“It took a few shifts, honestly, to get used to the rink and to the pace and to the league,” Andersson said. “We played one of the best teams in the world, so it was tough in the beginning. But I think I played good in the second and third and through the game.”
It was a difficult start of Chytil, who was on the ice for his first shift when T.J. Oshie opened the scoring at 2:50 of the first. But Chytil settled down, and got his assist when he whiffed on a shot from the left post and it trickled through to Mats Zuccarello for a slam dunk, making it 4-2 at 4:26 of the third.
“It ended up in the net, so maybe it was shot, maybe pass. It was [a] goal,” Chytil said. “I would like to change it for a win.”
If Chytil is more known as a skill player — one play in the third period described by Chris Kreider as being “Kuznetsov-esque,” referring to the Capitals center who made it 4-0 at 16:39 of the first period, the only one of the 27 shots that beat backup Ondrej Pavelec in his first game action since Feb. 9 — than Andersson is known as a character guy. He started the season with his Swedish club team Frolunda, and his competitiveness was on full display when he threw his silver medal into the stands in frustration after the World Junior Championships in early January.
Andersson joined the Wolf Pack after that tournament — and after rehabbing a shoulder injury — putting up five goals and 14 points in 24 games. When Chytil was sent down, he pushed to stay here rather than go back to his junior team in his native Czech Republic — and he excelled in the AHL, with 11 goals and 31 points in 45 games.
“Every shift I felt more comfortable,” said Chytil, who centered a line between Kevin Hayes and Zuccarello and had a team-high six shots on net over 14:23. “It was a good game.”
Maybe not for these lost Rangers, but the future of the organization, for sure.