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Rangers welcome Caps for matinee at MSG

Fresh off another dominating performance against their place New York Rangers will welcome the Washington Capitals for today's battle at Madison Square Garden.

The Rangers visited Philadelphia on Saturday and slammed the Flyers, 5-2, to extend their lead atop the Atlantic Division to six points. With 75 points, New York is also five points in front of Boston for the top seed in the East and one behind Detroit for the best record in the NHL.

The Blueshirts have simply dominated the second-place Flyers, winning all five encounters this season and seven straight meetings overall. The Rangers have outscored the Flyers 29-10 over the past seven matchups, shutting them out twice over that span. Saturday's lopsided win was keyed by Ryan Callahan's second career hat trick and a 3-for-7 performance on the power play.

"It's good. Anytime you get three goals obviously you are excited. Callahan said. "It's a big game, especially with a team that's so close to you in the standings. I had some pretty easy, tap in goals there. So it wasn't all me tonight."

Marian Gaborik added a goal and three assists for the Rangers, who have won four of five and six of their last eight contests. Artem Anisimov also lit the lamp for New York, while Henrik Lundqvist made 31 saves in the victory.

The Rangers beat Philadelphia without forward Ruslan Fedotenko, who did not travel with the team on Saturday after he took a shoulder to the head from Tampa Bay's Dominic Moore on Thursday. Fedotenko, who has seven goals and seven assists in 51 games this season, is not expected to play today either.

New York has a 17-6-2 record as the host this year and has won three of its last four at MSG.

The Capitals will try to bounce back from Thursday's home loss to Winnipeg, as the Jets scored twice in the final 2:15 of regulation to send the game to overtime and then earned the 3-2 win in the shootout. Trailing 2-0 with less than three minutes to play, Winnipeg got goals from Evander Kane and Dustin Byfuglien in a span of 12 seconds to force OT.

Alex Ovechkin and Alexander Semin notched regulation goals for Washington, while Tomas Vokoun had 25 saves in the loss. The tying goal came when Byfuglien beat Vokoun from center-ice after the puck deflected off a Washington defenseman.

"You get beat by a long shot, it's one of those plays that happens in hockey," Capitals coach Dale Hunter said of Byfuglien's goal. "It goes for you sometimes and it goes against you."

The Capitals enter today two points behind Florida for first place in the Southeast Division and the Panthers are also in action this afternoon. Washington is also one point behind Toronto for the eighth and final postseason berth in the East.

Washington has struggled all year on the road and is just 9-14-3 as the guest this year compared to a 19-7-2 mark in D.C.

The Rangers and Caps split a pair of games in D.C. earlier this season and the final two encounters will take place in NYC. Washington halted a four-game skid in this series with a 4-1 win over the Rangers on Dec. 28. New York routed the Caps, 7-0, when the teams last met at the Garden on Dec. 12, 2010, but Washington had won the three previous matchups in the Big Apple.