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Rangers begin back-to-back set with matinee matchup against the Red Wings

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers-vs-red-wings-10-19

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

  • 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.

THE MATCHUP

  • 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.

EXPECTED LINEUP

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

Henrik Lundqvist

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Rangers rebound with 5-2 win over Toronto; Buchnevich keeps point streak going

Chris Vallely

pavel-buchnevich-hi-five-line-1-19

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

New York Rangers defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-2. Strong effort from the Blueshirts tonight. Here’s the recap:

The Rangers opened up the scoring: Brady Skjei. Mats Zuccarello won a battle in the corner and set up Skjei in the slot for the goal. Derek Stepan drove the net on the backdoor, which forced Brady’s man, William Nylander, to cover him. Stepan didn’t get on the scoresheet, but his ability to crash the net, created the goal.

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Lundqvist and Co. look to get on track and snap losing streak tonight against Toronto

Bobby Bevilacqua

derek-stepan-board-battle-1-13

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

The Rangers (28-16-1) hit a low point during their loss to the Dallas Stars on Tuesday, not showing up for the first 40 minutes, playing horrible defense and not getting great goaltending from Henrik Lundqvist. They’ll need to turn it around quickly when they take on the Toronto Maple Leafs (21-13-8) on the road tonight.

The Rangers’ last game was the epitome of what the team is this season – a high-octane offensive powerhouse with a porous defense, a struggling star goalie and a coach unwilling to make changes and adjustments. The offense essentially tries to outscore the defense every game and it doesn’t work. Vigneault continues to give big minutes to Dan Girardi and Kevin Klein despite their consistent inability to handle that work, and adjustments to the pairings, personnel or defensive schemes remain the same. And therein lies the problem.

On the other hand, the Maple Leafs are enjoying a successful second season under Mike Babcock, integrating all of their young talent and sitting in third place in the Atlantic Division, tied with the Ottawa Senators in points and one point ahead of the Florida Panthers despite playing five fewer games than them. Read the rest of this entry

Mika Zibanejad back in the lineup as the Rangers host the Stars; Hellberg to serve as backup

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers-vs-stars

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

The Rangers (28-15-1) are back at Madison Square Garden tonight, looking to rebound when they battle the Dallas Stars (18-19-8) and snap their two game losing streak.

The Rangers lost both games of their back-to-back over the weekend, coming out flat against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday and succumbing to a meltdown against the Canadiens on Saturday. After Antti Raanta left the game with an injury, Henrik Lundqvist came in and surrendered five goals on 22 shots, as well as three in a span of just over a minute.

The Stars have also lost two straight, including three out of the last four and five losses in their last seven games. It’s been a tough season for them, dealing with a lot of injuries and poor goaltending that has put them near the bottom of the Western Conference. Read the rest of this entry

Rangers Practice Report; Nash and Buchnevich to play tomorrow night, Zibanejad very close to return

Bobby Bevilacqua

rick-nash-and-pavel-buchnevich

The Rangers got some fantastic news today regarding their injured players, and the team will get both Rick Nash and Pavel Buchnevich back in their lineup for tomorrow night’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Buchnevich was recalled from the Hartford Wolf Pack this afternoon after a brief stint for conditioning and to get him playing some games during the bye week. Buchnevich played in three games and recorded a goal and an assist as well as a plus-one rating. In 10 games with the Rangers this season, he’s scored four goals and four assists with a plus-four rating. He posted a four game goal streak stretching from Nov. 5-Nov. 12 before he was sidelined with back spasms.

Rick Nash has been out with a groin injury which came after re-aggravating a previous groin injury. Nash told reporters that there is no lingering pain in the groin like there was the first time he injured it. And while the rehab did not change from the first time, he did give the injury more time to heal. Read the rest of this entry