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Rangers aim to end homestand with a victory over Detroit

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers defense 11-1

Rangers’ head coach Alain Vigneault will be coaching his 900th career NHL game tonight, and his team will be looking to give him a win on his special night at the Garden.

In Alain Vigneault’s 900th career game as a head coach, the Rangers (5-4-2) will look to supply him with a victory over the Detroit Red Wings (6-3-3) in an original six matchup at Madison Square Garden.

New York is coming off of two shootout losses against the Winnipeg Jets and the St. Louis Blues, where they likely deserved better with how hard they played and the injuries and inexperience that they had to overcome.

Despite the two tough losses, the Rangers have earned a point in six of their last seven games (4-1-2), as well as in three straight.

Detroit played last night and lost to the Ottawa Senators by a score of 3-1. Jimmy Howard was in net for the Red Wings, and allowed two goals on 31 shots.

With Howard starting last night, Jonas Gustavsson will get the call against the Rangers. In two games this year, Gustavsson has a win and a loss, as well as allowing just three goals combined in those two games. He also had a shutout when he faced his former team, the Toronto Maple Leafs.

After missing the game against the Blues, Kevin Klein is back into the lineup for the Rangers, and will take the place of Dylan McIlrath, who was reassigned to Hartford this afternoon. Klein’s strong defensive play will be needed with Ryan McDonagh out, and he is also the only New York defenseman to score a goal this season.

Mats Zuccarello will also be back for the Rangers tonight. Zuccarello missed the game against St. Louis after sustaining a minor lower body injury against Winnipeg. He said at practice that he is ready to go, and will take Ryan Malone’s spot in the lineup.

zuccarello hi-5 11-1

Mats Zuccarello is back for New York after missing the last game with a lower body injury. Zuccarello has one goal and three assists this season.

Despite practicing with the Rangers the past few days, Derek Stepan will not play tonight against the Red Wings. Stepan has been practicing in a contact jersey, but Vigneault would like him to get a few more full-team practices before he gets reinserted into the lineup. It is very likely that Stepan will play when the Rangers travel to Toronto on Saturday.

Henrik Lundqvist will be back in net tonight, after watching the last game from the bench, where Cam Talbot had a very solid effort against St. Louis. Lundqvist has started nine of the games for the Rangers this season, posting a 5-3-1 record with a 2.85 GAA, a .902 save percentage, and two shutouts so far.

Lundqvist save 10-14

Henrik Lundqvist will be back in net for New York tonight after getting the night off on Monday. This will be Lundqvists 10th start, and his ninth in the last 10 games.

Although the lines are not confirmed, Derick Brassard and Rick Nash have to be two of the key players for tonight’s matchup. Rick Nash leads the team with nine goals as well as three assists, picking up one of them on Martin St. Louis’ goal against the Blues. Nash is always playing with determination every shift he is on the ice, and it has paid off, as he has looked stellar so far this season. Nash has not scored in the last two games, so I expect him to really be pushing for one tonight.

After signing a big offseason extension, Derick Brassard has accepted his added responsibilities and has thrived in the first month of the season. Brassard has four goals and five assists for a total of nine points, which is good enough for second on the team. He has also improved on the penalty kill, in the face-off circle, and looks much better defensively.

Brassard has looked good with Rick Nash throughout the season, as well as Mats Zuccarello and Martin St. Louis, depending which line they are on.

Derick Brassard skating off 10-14

Derick Brassard has stepped up and accepted top-line center duties, and has done a good job, building chemistry with RIck Nash, Mats Zuccarello, and Martin St. Louis throughout the season.

For the Red Wings, it’s Pavel Datsyuk. Since starting the season with an injury, Datsyuk has come out strong, with five goals and five assists in just six games. He has a point in every game he has played in. There is a reason that he is regarded as one of the best players in the NHL when he is healthy.

This is the first of three matchups between these teams this season, with the next two coming up on December 6th and March 4th, both in Detroit.

Tonight is also Hockey Fights Cancer Night, and all Rangers skaters are expected to wear pink chin straps, and some may even use lavender tape for the hockey sticks.

Puck drop is scheduled for 8 PM, and the game will be televised nationally on NBC Sports Network.

Expected Lines:

Nash-Brassard-St. Louis

Kreider-Hayes-Zuccarello

Hagelin-DMoore-Duclair

Glass-Mueller-Stempniak

Girardi-Staal

Hunwick-Klein

Allen-Kostka

Lundqvist

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Posted on November 6, 2014, in Game Previews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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