The Washington Capitals will try to extend their season- long winning streak against the team that knocked them out of last year's playoffs as they visit the New York Rangers on Sunday night for the first time in 2013.
Following a 2-8-1 start, the Capitals have ripped off three straight wins while netting 15 goals in that span. Their latest victory came on Thursday, a 4-3 decision at the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Eric Fehr scored twice, while Troy Brouwer and Jay Beagle added goals. Beagle's first of the season gave Washington a 4-1 lead with 12:31 to play, but the Lightning made things close with a pair of third-period goals, pulling within one with 3:13 to go.
However, Braden Holtby was strong with 27 saves and Mathieu Perreault added a career-high three assists. Brouwer's goal was his fourth in three games.
"We had some really good shifts out there tonight," said Beagle. "We're all starting to click together out there and are starting to feel the system that coach wants from us."
The Caps also appear to be hitting their stride under first-year head coach Adam Oates on the power play. Washington has scored on the man advantage in six straight games, the longest such run for the club since doing so in seven in a row from March 6-18, 2010.
Washington defenseman Mike Green is questionable for this game with a lower body injury, while Marcus Johansson won't play the finale of a three-game road trip due to an upper body ailment.
The Caps finish their swing where their 2012 playoff run ended following a 2-1 loss at the Rangers in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. That hard- fought series featured a triple-overtime game in Washington and came after both teams needed seven games to advance out of the opening round.
New York, which split its four regular-season meetings with Washington last season, got goals from Brad Richards and Michael Del Zotto in the series- clinching game. Richards should have some extra motivation for this encounter after getting benched in the third period of Thursday's 4-3 shootout loss to the New York Islanders.
Richards did have an assist in the game, his 10th point of the season, but hasn't scored a goal in eight straight.
The Rangers got first-period goals from Dan Girardi and Marian Gaborik on his 31st birthday, but the Islanders came back with a trio of second-period goals. Carl Hagelin scored his fourth goal in three games for the Blueshirts to tie the game in the second period.
"I don't think we were mentally taking them lightly at all," said New York captain Ryan Callahan. "We know they're a good team. If our foot did come off the gas, for whatever reason that may be, that has to be corrected. We can't have that, any night."
Martin Biron made 28 saves in his second start of the season, but was bested twice in the shootout while Gaborik and Rich Nash failed to score on their attempts.
The Rangers were vying for a fourth straight win, but fell to 6-2-1 in their last nine games overall.