(SportsNetwork.com) - The return of Henrik Lundqvist to the New York Rangers' lineup didn't get off to the best of starts, but the playoff-bound club still has a sizeable lead atop the Metropolitan Division.
The Rangers get a chance to rebound on Sunday afternoon with Cam Talbot in net as they look to deal the Washington Capitals a setback at Madison Square Garden.
Lundqvist had missed New York's previous 25 games due to a vascular injury suffered when he was struck in the throat by a puck on Feb. 2. The former Vezina Trophy winner finally returned to action on Saturday afternoon, but yielded three first-period goals in a 4-2 loss to the Boston Bruins.
Lundqvist ended with 26 saves as New York had a six-game road winning streak halted.
"Obviously not the start I was looking for, or the team, this game," Lundqvist said. "The first period was just tough, timing-wise, and I felt better as the game went on."
Rick Nash scored to hit the 40-goal mark for the third time in his career, and first since 2008-09 with Columbus, and is tied for second in the NHL in goals scored. He trails only Washington's Alex Ovechkin and his 47 markers.
New York is eight points ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Islanders for first place in the division with 101 points, one back of the Montreal Canadiens for the most in the Eastern Conference.
Talbot, meanwhile, figured to be in line to start today despite Lundqvist's performance versus the Bruins and has split two prior starts with the Capitals, posting a 2.03 goals against average and .937 save percentage.
Washington also is in action for a second straight afternoon, having lost a 4-3 decision to the Nashville Predators on Saturday. The Capitals had won four of five coming in, but sit three points behind the Pens and Isles in the division.
The Caps still hold the first wild card spot in the East, three points ahead of the Bruins and just four up on the Ottawa Senators in the standings.
Braden Holtby made his 65th start of the season on Saturday, but was pulled late in the first period after yielding three goals on 13 shots faced. Justin Peters made 13 saves in relief.
Troy Brouwer scored two goals for the Capitals, Mike Green also lit the lamp and Marcus Johansson had two assists.
"Everybody knows we have a group of guys who never give up, and it doesn't matter what the score is, we're still going to fight," said Ovechkin.
Holtby may get a chance to rebound today given his limited action on Saturday and is 2-5-1 versus the Rangers with a 2.29 GAA and .929 save percentage in nine games (8 starts).
The Rangers have won three in a row in this series and are 5-2-1 in the past eight meetings at home.