- New York Rangers (32-18-1, 65 PTS) vs Calgary Flames (27-24-3, 67 PTS)
- The Rangers won their last game, a 2-1 overtime victory over the Buffalo Sabres. They snapped a power play drought in the win thanks to Mats Zuccarello’s deflection goal, and Chris Kreider scored in overtime for his 20th goal of the season. Henrik Lundqvist was spectacular, making 36 saves in the win.
- The Flames have won three straight games after snapping out of a rough stretch that saw them lost six out of seven. Their last game was a 4-3 overtime win over the New Jersey Devils. Mikael Backlund scored the game winner, Sean Monahan found the back of the net and TJ Brodie tallied four assists.
- New York Rangers (31-17-1, 63 PTS) vs. Columbus Blue Jackets (32-12-4, 68 PTS)
- The Rangers were shutout in their last game against the Flyers. New York played an outstanding game despite not getting any goals, and they had the majority of the chances and had the two points stolen away by Steve Mason, who made 34 saves. There’s no such thing as a “feel good” loss, but this is about as close as you can get to one of them.
- The Blue Jackets lost their last game against the Nashville Predators, 4-3, and have lost two straight games. Columbus had an incredible 16 game win streak earlier in the season, and since that was snapped, they’ve been about a .500 team. However, they still have the second most points in the league and have played well in their recent losses.
- This is the third of five meetings between the Rangers and the Blue Jackets and the first of two at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers, playing their 50th game tonight, won the last meeting on Jan. 7, erasing a three goal deficit and getting a four point night from Michael Grabner, including a hat trick. The teams have split the first two games of the series so far.
- The Rangers have won eight of the last nine games against Columbus, dating back to Jan. 16, 2015, going 8-1-0 over that time span.
- The Rangers sit just five points behind the Blue Jackets in the Metropolitan Division standings, so this game has important implications for playoff seeding.
- New York Rangers (31-16-1, 63 PTS) vs Philadelphia Flyers (23-19-6, 52 PTS)
- The Rangers won on Monday night, a 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings despite being outshot 38-17. Brandon Pirri, Matt Puempel and Mats Zuccarello all scored goals and Henrik Lundqvist won his third straight start, making 36 saves and playing extremely well.
- The Flyers won in overtime to the Islanders in their last game, snapping a three game losing streak. Claude Giroux scored the game winner and the Flyers also got goals from Ivan Provorov and Wayne Simmonds. Steve Mason made 36 saves in the win. The Flyers are one point behind the Maple Leafs for the final Wild Card spot.
- New York Rangers (29-16-1, 59 Points) vs Detroit Red Wings (20-19-7, 47 Points)
- The Rangers are coming off of an impressive 5-2 win over the Maple Leafs. Henrik Lundqvist made 23 saves, while Brady Skjei, Pavel Buchnevich, JT Miller and Michael Grabner (2 goals) all scored.
- The Red Wings enter today’s game coming off of a 3-2 overtime loss against the Buffalo Sabres. Detroit is 4-3-3 in their last 10 games and second to last in the Atlantic Division. However, due to the competitiveness of the Eastern Conference this year, they are just four points behind Toronto for the second wild card and five points behind Boston for third place in the Atlantic.
- This is the second of three meetings between these teams this season, and the first of two at the Joe Louis Arena. Detroit won the first game, 2-1, on Oct. 19 at MSG. Mika Zibanejad scored just over a minute into the game, but goals from Thomas Vanek and Drew Miller gave Detroit the win.
- The Rangers have earned at least one point in nine of their last 11 games against the Red Wings (7-2-2) dating back to Mar. 21, 2012.
- Goalie Jimmy Howard has been healing from a knee injury over the past month or so, giving Petr Mrazek full control of the starter duties. He’s struggled lately, as his last win in a start came back on Dec. 17 against Anaheim, but he did pick up a win on Wednesday against Boston in relief. Mrazek is 10-11-5 this season with a 3.13 GAA and a .895 save percentage.
DETROIT RED WINGS
- Thomas Vanek is enjoying a bounce-back season and is leading Detroit offensively this season, with 31 points (12-19-31) in 35 games this season. His seven game point streak ended in the loss to Buffalo, but he has 10 points (5-5-10) in the last eight games, and 14 points (7-7-14) in the last 13 games.
- Henrik Zetterberg is also enjoying a nice season as the 36 year old captain continues his lengthy career with Detroit. In 46 games, he’s second on the team with 31 points (9-22-31), and his 22 assists lead the team.
- Defenseman Mike Green is having a strong second season in Detroit. He’s scoring a lot more consistently, and a lot more at even strength as well. Green has eight goals and 22 points.
NEW YORK RANGERS
- Henrik Lundqvist will start tonight. It’s unknown if he will also be in net tomorrow against the Kings, but he will continue to start today with Antti Raanta out. Lundqvist made 23 saves on 25 shots for his 19th win of the season. Now Lundqvist needs to work on building consistency in his starts and stringing together wins. Lundqvist has had success against Detroit in the past, with a 5-1-1 record and a 1.26 GAA with a .956 save percentage against them dating back to Mar. 21, 2012. This season he is 19-12-1 with a 2.86 GAA and a .902 save percentage.
- Pavel Buchnevich scored in the win over the Maple Leafs, giving him 14 points in 14 NHL games. He’s been absolutely phenomenal since returning from back spasms, recording five points (2-3-5) in those four games. He also extended his point streak to eight games, with 12 points (6-6-12) in that span.
- JT Miller scored his 15th goal of the season, putting him just seven shy of his career high already. Miller has been one of the most consistent forwards on the Rangers, spreading out his scoring and recording a point in 26 of the team’s games. Miller has a point in eight of the last nine games (6-5-11) and leads the team with four shorthanded goals.
- Michael Grabner scored twice against Toronto, including a shorthanded goal, as he continues his resurgent scoring season. Signed for under $2 million, Grabner has given the Rangers another depth offensive scoring piece and leads the team with 21 goals. He’s been a phenomenal addition to the team offensively, defensively and on the penalty kill.
- Adam Clendening is developing more chemistry with Brady Skjei the more that the two play together. While Clendening does have his defensive issues, he’s certainly not as bad as Kevin Klein, and he also provides some other good skills and traits. His assist in the win over Toronto game him eight points (1-7-8) this season, and he has points in each of the last two games and four of the last five games. Clendening has recorded a point in seven of the last 11 games in which he has played.
The Rangers and Red Wings will faceoff at 12:30 PM at the Joe Louis Arena. The game will be broadcasted on NBC.
Chris Kreider-Derek Stepan-Mats Zuccarello
Rick Nash-Mika Zibanejad-Pavel Buchnevich
Michael Grabner-Kevin Hayes-JT Miller
Jimmy Vesey-Oscar Lindberg-Brandon Pirri
Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi
Nick Holden-Kevin Klein
Brady Skjei-Adam Clendening
Following a loss in their first game out of the bye-week, the Rangers (28-14-1) are on the road to close out their back-to-back series when they take on the Montreal Canadiens (26-11-6) for the first time this season.
The Rangers were sloppy in the 4-2 loss to the Maple Leafs last night, with some poor defensive coverage and decisions as well as some shaky goaltending from Henrik Lundqvist. Chris Kreider and JT Miller scored to make it closer, but Toronto had control of the game from the early stages.
The Canadiens were dominated in their last game, a 7-1 loss at the hands of the Minnesota Wild. Carey Price allowed all seven goals and it continued a trend of the team getting scored on a lot lately. Montreal has allowed four goals against in each of the last three games, and they’ve surrendered 21 goals in the last five games. However, their nine point lead atop the Atlantic Division makes things a bit more comfortable for them. Read the rest of this entry