NHL on NBCSN: Capitals look to extend win streak to five games against Rangers

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NBCSN’s coverage of the 2017-18 season continues on Wednesday, as the Washington Capitals host the New York Rangers at 8 p.m. ET. You can watch the game online by clicking here

The Rangers are officially mathematically out of the Eastern Conference playoff picture, which isn’t exactly surprisingly. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a reason to keep an eye on them over the final six games of the season.

On the contrary, Rangers fans should be excited about top prospects Lias Andersson, who scored in his NHL debut against the Caps on Monday, and Filip Chytil, who registered an assist in that same game.

“It’s fun to score, get this out of the way,” said Andersson, per the New York Post. “Just have to keep building on this now.

“It took a few shifts, honestly, to get used to the rink and to the pace and to the league. 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.”

[The 2018 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs begin April 11 on the networks of NBC]

Fun fact: According to Seth Rothman, this will be the first “meaningless” game the Rangers have played since Apr. 3, 2004. That’s a pretty good run. It’ll also be the first time Henrik Lundqvist plays in a meaningless game, too.

As for the Capitals, they’ve all but locked up a playoff spot, but they’re still fighting for positioning within their division. Washington, who is in first place in the Metro, has a five-point lead over Pittsburgh with a game in a hand.

The Caps can use tonight’s game to get their goalie situation figured out, as Braden Holtby will be between the pipes for them. Holtby has struggled mightily over the last little while, but there’s still some time for him to get back on track. As well as Philipp Grubauer has played recently, you just get the feeling that they’ll need their starting netminder to find his game if they’re going to make a run.

Washington heads into tonight’s game having won four games in a row and eight of their last nine. But no matter how their regular season ends, everyone will be wondering if this is the year they make it past the second round of the playoffs.

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.