Tonight, the New York Rangers (8-8-0, 16 pts) welcome the dejected Florida Panthers (3-10-4, 10 pts) into Madison Square Garden in the Rangers’ 17th game of the 2013-14 season.
The Panthers enter play currently riding an eight-game losing streak and on Friday fired Kevin Dineen and his staff, hoping for improvement. The change didn’t help much, as they fell to the Ottawa Senators 3-2 last night at Scotiabank Place. A coaching change isn’t going to do this team much good considering their lineup consists of mostly rookies and they have flaws up and down the roster.
The Rangers on the other hand enter tonight’s game riding some hot play. They have won six of their last eight games and are getting secondary scoring which is something New York has lacked over the past couple of seasons. The Rangers also got some good news on the injury front, as fans and media personnel learned that concussed forward Rick Nash skated with goalies and healthy scratches prior to the team’s practice yesterday morning. General manager Glen Sather stated yesterday, “Obviously, he’s on the road to recovery, otherwise he wouldn’t be skating. He still has a way to go. He’s still got to get back into condition.” Regardless, this is great news. Nash suffered his second concussion of 2013 back on October 8th after receiving a hit to the head from San Jose Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart.
Overall, tonight should be a cakewalk for the Rangers. They are playing a Panthers team that is sliding downhill and not stopping. However, no game is ever easy in the NHL and New York should not overlook Florida. If the Rangers can stick to their gameplan and play the way they have been over the past couple of weeks, they will capture another two points by the night’s end.
Goaltending Match-up (Confirmed)
Ed Jovanovski- IR (Hip)
Rangers Projected Lineup
Coverage begins at 6:30 pm on MSG. Game begins at 7.