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Saturday Roundup - Gamenight: Rangers @ Caps

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[AP Preview - WashingtonCaps.com Preview]

Since getting yanked after allowing three goals on just five shots in the first eleven minutes and change of the Caps 5-4 comeback win at Madison Square Garden on December 23, Jose Theodore has gone 4-0-0 (including the win on that night) with a 1.63 goals against average and .941 save percentage.

The main question on everyone's mind, of course, is was that "the turning point" or just a slow climb on the roller coaster ride that has been his season thus far, with another huge drop just around the bend? There are reasons to be cautiously optimistic that it's the former - he and his defense have had more time to acclimate to one another, the penalty kill has been better, the team is getting healthier (knock on wood), and, perhaps most importantly, his confidence is back.

Theodore is expected to make his ninth home start of the season tonight against that same Ranger team against whom this streak started, and as tough as JT60 has found the road on some nights, the VC has been very good to him (and vice versa) to the tune of 7-1-0/1.98/.918.

At the other end of the ice, Henrik Lundqvist will get the start (shocking, I know). After a great October and a very good November, King Henrik had a lousy December, going 4-5-1/3.74/.873 - very un-Hankly (worse, in fact, than any month Theodore has had so far this season and the worst month of his own career). Lundqvist has given up at least four goals in each of his last three starts, and after posting ten shutouts a year ago, is still looking for his first whitewash of '08-'09. But Lundqvist tends to heat up in January and has a career 38-18-14/2.08/.923 record after the All-Star break.

With last week's embarrassing loss still fresh in the mind of every Ranger, you can be sure they'll come out focused and determined, and if the Caps' effort resembles the final forty minutes of their last game rather than the first twenty, the Blueshirts may very well get that revenge they're seeking.