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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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Lundqvist stellar as Rangers fall to Detroit in overtime

Bobby Bevilacqua

Rangers vs Red Wings 3-12

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

The Rangers (39-22-7) came within an inch of beating the Red Wings (34-23-11), but instead came up on the short end of the stick with a 3-2 overtime loss at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.

Ryan McDonagh had a chance to win the game in regulation with the Detroit net empty, but his shorthanded shot from the other end of the ice hit off of the post. Detroit would score on the power play with less than 40 seconds remaining, and wind up winning the game in overtime.

Henrik Lundqvist made his return to the lineup, and the Rangers made him work entirely too hard. Lundqvist faced 43 shots, making 40 saves. He was the sole reason why this game wasn’t 7-2 or even worse. Read the rest of this entry

The Return of the King; Lundqvist back in net as Rangers battle Red Wings

Bobby Bevilacqua

henrik lundqvist side profile good pic 11-25

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

After missing the last three games with neck spasms, Henrik Lundqvist is ready to take back his spot in the crease as the Rangers (39-22-6) take on the Detroit Red Wings (33-23-11) at the Joe Louis Arena in an Original Six matchup.

Likely joining Lundqvist will be Rick Nash, who has been out of the lineup since January 22nd with a bone bruise. He’s been skating and practicing this week and should be good to go for today’s game. In the likely event that Nash does play, he’ll skate with Eric Staal on the third line, marking the first time they’ll be playing together on the Rangers.

With the good news also comes some bad news. Center Derick Brassard is a question mark for today’s game due to the flu. He’s doubtful, and Kevin Hayes would slide to center if he doesn’t play.

The Rangers are coming off of a 4-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres, with goals from Brassard, Zuccarello and Jesper Fast. However, they played pretty poor down the stretch and to start the game. The Rangers were outshot 36-26 and Raanta bailed out the team. They’ve split the last four games (2-2-0) but have won seven of the last 10 games.

This is the second of three meetings between the Rangers and Red Wings this season, and the first in Detroit. Back on February 21st, Henrik Lundqvist and the Blueshirts outdueled Jimmy Howard and Detroit in a 1-0 overtime win at the Garden, with Kevin Klein scoring the only goal of the game. Hank had 22 saves and Howard made 29 saves, benefitting from a disallowed goal from Kevin Hayes. Three of the last four games have been decided in overtime, and eight of the last nine games have been decided by one goal.

The Red Wings won their last game on Thursday against the Jets, but they had lost their last three games before that, getting outscored 14-6. The Red Wings are in a fight for their playoff lives, holding just a two point lead over the Philadelphia Flyers for the last playoff spot. Every game is crucial and the Red Wings need all the points they could get.

The 19 year-old rookie Dylan Larkin started out his season producing and hasn’t stopped, sitting in second place on the team in scoring with 40 points. He scored a goal on Thursday, giving him 20 for the season. He’s the first Red Wings rookie to reach that mark since current Captain Henrik Zetterberg did so 13 seasons ago. He’s a great skater and an offensive catalyst, and the Rangers will need to keep an eye out for him.

Detroit has another talented young player on their team named Andreas Athanasiou, a rookie taken in the fourth round of the 2012 NHL draft. Athanasiou hasn’t been up in the NHL for that long but his presence has been felt. He’s an incredible skater with blistering speed that can catch you off guard and enough skill to put one past the netminder, scoring three goals in the last five games.

For the Rangers, Rick Nash’s return will be a huge boost to the lineup. Alain Vigneault had him skating on a line with Eric Staal and Viktor Stalberg, creating a big line with speed and skill. Doing so will create matchup problems for opposing teams, because they’d have to figure out how to stop the two 300 goal scorers in Nash and Staal while also stopping the lines centered by Derek Stepan and Derick Brassard/Kevin Hayes. It’s probably be a game or two before Nash is back to his usual self, but pairing him with Staal and Stalberg puts him in a position to succeed.

It looks like Derick Brassard will be unavailable, which gives Kevin Hayes a big opportunity. Hayes has been stuck on the fourth line for the past few games, but he would be centering Chris Kreider and Jesper Fast today. He’s shown some signs of a resurgence before being thrown onto the fourth line, and he’ll get another chance to produce in the top-six today.

The Rangers and the Red Wings will faceoff at the Joe Louis Arena at 2 PM. The game will be broadcasted on MSG Network.

EXPECTED LINES

JT Miller-Derek Stepan-Mats Zuccarello

Chris Kreider-Kevin Hayes-Jesper Fast

Rick Nash-Eric Staal-Viktor Stalberg

Oscar Lindberg-Dominic Moore-Tanner Glass

Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi

Marc Staal-Dan Boyle

Keith Yandle-Kevin Klein

Henrik Lundqvist