WASHINGTON -- The Washington Capitals are getting hot at just the right time.
The Capitals won their fourth straight game and increased their lead in the Metropolitan Division with a 4-2 victory over the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Monday.
The same teams will complete the home-and-home set Wednesday night at Capital One Arena.
Washington (45-24-7) swept its three-game road trip, has won eight of nine, and leads second-place Pittsburgh by five points.
"I couldn't tell you who is in second, third, fourth," Capitals forward T.J. Oshie told NHL.com. "I know we're at the top in our division and we have to still keep going, keep getting points."
On Monday, the Capitals jumped out to a 4-0 lead on first-period goals from Oshie, Matt Niskanen, Alex Ovechkin -- his 45th -- and Evgeny Kuznetsov.
Ovechkin's goal chased Rangers starter Alexander Georgiev. Ondrej Pavelec came on and allowed only Kuznetsov's 24th of the season, stopping 26-of-27 shots in his first game action since Feb. 9.
The Rangers rallied behind Lias Andersson's first NHL goal and Mats Zuccarello's 16th of the season, but Philipp Grubauer (28 saves) let them get no closer.
"We were able to win the second and third period, but you can't play a first period like that and expect to come away with two points against a good team like that," Rangers forward Chris Kreider told NHL.com. "It's a good learning experience for us,"
Grubauer has fashioned a 1.88 goals-against average over his past 25 starts.
"The guys in here, you could tell we weren't all that pumped up," Oshie told NHL.com. "We realize we won a period and that's about it. (Grubauer) won the rest for us."
Braden Holtby served as Grubauer's back-up Monday after being scratched the previous two games with a lower-body injury and is slated to start Wednesday night's game.
On Tuesday, coach Barry Trotz told the Washington Post that Grubauer suffered "a little tweak" against the New York Rangers on Monday night, and the team recalled goaltender Pheonix Copley.
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