Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin missed the club’s 5-3 loss to the New York Rangers on Tuesday night because of a lower body injury.
It was the sixth time the Capitals played without Ovechkin this season, including four games last month following the death of his father. Washington lost the first five without him and the past eight dating back to last season.
That trend continued up to nine Tuesday. Mika Zibanejad scored his 33rd and 34th goals of the season, and Igor Shesterkin made 28 saves as New York posted its 38th win of the season.
The Russian left wing and Washington captain has 36 goals and 26 assists in 62 games this season. He is second on the NHL’s all-time scoring list with 816 goals. Wayne Gretzky leads with 894. Ovechkin is 16th all time in points with 1,472 — 17 behind Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby.
The Capitals, who were also without forward Sonny Milano (illness), received goals from Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Matt Irwin and Nic Dowd in the loss.
Washington is on the outside of the Eastern Conference playoff mix and earlier this month, the Capitals sold off some of their veteran assets as they look toward the future. As play began Tuesday night, the Capitals were five points behind the New York Islanders for the final wild-card berth in the conference.
Tuesday’s game was part of the “NHL Big City Greens Classic,” which featured live, real-time volumetric animations of players and teams modeled after characters on the Emmy Award-winning show “Big City Greens.” It went on air at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN+, Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney+, while the traditional game telecast between the Rangers and Capitals was on ESPN and ESPN+.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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