New York Rangers, Mats Zuccarello
Photo by Bergen Record

The New York Rangers have started to improve their play over the past week and with Washington back in town, they will want some revenge.

New York Rangers: (22-14-4, 48 points, 3rd in NHL Metropolitan Division)
Washington Capitals: (30-7-3, 63 points, 1st in NHL Metropolitan Division)
Today, 1:00 PM on MSG, CSN-DC
Madison Square Garden, NY, New York

By Chris Wengert

The New York Rangers will be looking for some revenge today after being embarrassed by the powerhouse Washington Capitals by a score of 7-3 the last time these two teams met.

For the Rangers, this game has the makings of a possible turning point in what has become a lackluster season.

It could also just be another disappointing loss.

VISIT ESNY’s New York Rangers Center

The Rangers have won two of their last three games and while the loss to Florida was a let down following a convincing victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning, it looked different than prior losses.

For the first time in a while, the Rangers were beat by their opponent rather than themselves.

This is encouraging.

Emerging from a slump of this magnitude is a marathon, not a sprint. The Rangers will not fix their problems in just one or two games, as it is very much a “one step forward and two back” process.

And there are a few reasons to be optimistic about the Blueshirts.

Derek Stepan looked fresh and fast against the Dallas Stars after returning from his rib injury. There was certainly a post-injury hangover following Stepan’s return, but it looks like he has fully recovered.

If he continues to play like this, then Rangers have regained a valuable asset:

Jayson Megna was solid in his first game as a New York Ranger. He was quick, showed play-making ability, and even netted a goal.

While all of these attributes are exciting, fans should temper their expectations for the still very green Megna. Rookies almost always experience growing pains, and this process will likely be no different for Megna.

However, if he can consistently add some much needed speed, soft hands, and production to the roster he could be a missing piece the Rangers desperately need.

If the season ended today, I would put my money on the Washington Capitals to win the Stanley Cup.

Alex Ovechkin has been a beast, and the Rangers need to contain him if they want to win.

Contain is the word here as Ovi is very rarely stopped by any team. But in Rangers last debacle against Washington, they didn’t make things very tough for Ovechkin.

Watch Ovie stand completely unattested on this Washington power play:

While not all of the opposing players can be covered when they have the advantage, they can be pressured.

The Rangers simply cannot allow one of the purest scorers in the game to fire on Henrik Lundqvist at will.

During the 2013-2014 season Benoit Pouliot emerged as an x factor for the team. He had good chemistry with his linemates and produced in the playoffs. The x factor for the Capitals?

Justin Williams

Williams has already tallied 11 goals, 13 assists, and he is not afraid to go to the dirty areas of the ice to earn them:

The Rangers Will Win If They:

Contain Ovechkin

He has 22 goals and 13 assists. Limit his chances by taking away the shooting lanes and stepping up to him on the rush.

Fast Start

If the Rangers can establish quick neutral zone play and their fore check, they’ll be in good shape. If they can score first, even better.

Hank Being Hank

While Lundqvist made a few big saves against the Dallas Stars, he was still fighting the puck at times.

If he can settle his play down and be the net minder fans know and love, the Rangers faithful will be a happy people when the clock hits 0.0.

NEXT: 2016 NHL All-Star Jersey: Bad Design, Bad Tribute

I've been a die hard Rangers and Giants fan for as long as I can remember. I enjoy sharing opinions, and hearing from fans that love their teams just as much as I do. Henrik Lundqvist makes all of us look like mere mortals. E-mail me at: