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Hrivik makes NHL debut as Rangers battle Red Wings

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers vs red wings 3-4

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

The Rangers (33-19-6) play host to another Original Six matchup tonight as they take on the Detroit Red Wings (29-21-9) at Madison Square Garden in the first matchup between these two teams this season.

The Rangers are coming off of a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs where the two points earned did not come easy. They nearly blew the lead late, but a goal from Derek Stepan with 1:31 to go in the third period helped seal the win for the Blueshirts.

The last time the Rangers were on home ice, they saw their 10 game home ice point streak come to an end with a 5-3 loss at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks. However, they’re still 21-6-3 at MSG, and their 21 home wins is tied for the most in the Eastern Conference, and just one behind Chicago, who lead the league with 22. New York is also 6-1-1 in their last eight games and currently sit in second place in the Metropolitan Division.

Last year, the series between the Rangers and the Red Wings was very close, with all three games being decided by a single goal, and two going to overtime. Detroit won two of the three, while Rick Nash and Derick Brassard each recorded three points.

The Red Wings played last night, falling to the Ottawa Senators by a final score of 3-2 in the shootout. That was their third straight loss, and their fourth in the last five games.

Petr Mrazek started last night, which means that Jimmy Howard will be in net for the Red Wings at Madison Square Garden. Howard lost his starting job and has struggled this season, going 7-9-4 with a 2.92 GAA and a .903 save percentage. Last season, Howard won both of his starts against the Rangers and allowed three goals on 69 shots against.

Rookie sensation Dylan Larkin missed yesterday’s game with an illness, but he is expected to be back on the ice tonight for his first game at MSG. Larkin is in second place in rookie scoring with 19 goals, and his 39 points trail only Henrik Zetterberg for the team lead. He’s very talented, very skilled with the puck, and a natural scorer.

Former Ranger Brad Richards joined Detroit in the offseason, and he’s had his struggles at times, scoring 19 points in 45 games this season. He scored last night, his sixth goal of the season, and still plays an important role on the team as a mentor, a power play presence and a timely scorer. He has six points (1-5-6) in the last 10 games.

After a spectacular performance from Antti Raanta on Thursday, Henrik Lundqvist will be back in net for the Rangers. Lundqvist got the loss against Chicago, allowing four goals on 19 shots. He was playing extremely well before that game, winning five straight games and allowing two goals or less in all of them. Hank also has a personal four game win streak against Detroit dating back to March of 2012, with a .98 GAA,a .967 save percentage and two shutouts over that span.

With Daniel Paille placed on waivers after failing to meet expectations, the Rangers went to their depth in Hartford in an attempt to improve the fourth line. Marek Hrivik, 24, was recalled this afternoon and will make his NHL debut, wearing the number 46. Hrivik has seven goals and 21 assists with the Pack this season, and he’s a solid defensive winger that’s strong on the boards and will chip in offensively every now and then. Hrivik has a real chance to earn a permanent spot on the fourth line, so expect him to be energized.

Derick Brassard and JT Miller continue to work extremely well together and put points on the board while Rick Nash recovers from his injury. Brassard is riding a three game goal scoring streak, with four goals and five points in total, and he’s already set a new career high with 22 goals, breaking the 20 goal mark for the first time. He’s been good on the power play as well, scoring on the man advantage in each of the last two games. JT Miller was fantastic against Toronto, picking up three assists and helping set up the game winning goal. He now has 17 goals and 34 points this season. The Rangers will continue to lean heavily on these two.

With Ryan McDonagh out, Keith Yandle will again shoulder a heavy workload, something he’s more than capable of doing. Yandle has a five game point/assist streak, and leads all New York defensemen with 33 points.

The Rangers and the Red Wings will face off at Madison Square Garden at 7 PM. The game will be broadcasted on NBCSN.

EXPECTED LINES

JT Miller-Derick Brassard-Jesper Fast

Chris Kreider-Derek Stepan-Mats Zuccarello

Oscar Lindberg-Kevin Hayes-Viktor Stalberg

Tanner Glass-Dominic Moore-Marek Hrivik

Keith Yandle-Dan Girardi

Marc Staal-Kevin Klein

Dan Boyle-Dylan McIlrath

Henrik Lundqvist

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Posted on February 21, 2016, in Game Previews, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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