The New York Rangers host the Dallas Stars tonight at Madison Square Garden.
Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00pm.
Coming home from a HUGE win in Chicago, the Rangers are looking to keep that fire alive. Coach Alain Vigneault has confirmed the line-up for tonight will be the same as it was against the Blackhawks. With a 22-20-3 record the Rangers have 47 points on the season for fifth place in the Metropolitan Division. A win tonight coupled with losses by Washington and Carolina would move the Rangers back into third place in the division. Carolina is tied with the Rangers in points with fewer regulation losses and is currently on a five game win streak. The Rangers are looking to get some consecutive wins and keep momentum going. Henrik Ludqvist now has 2.76 goals against average and a .907 save percentage with a record of 13-16-3. Mats Zuccarello and Brad Richards are now tied for the points lead in the team with 31 each. They also each have 11 goals and 20 assists. In addition to those two, Chris Kreider and Carl Hagelin all have 11 goals for the team lead. Hagelin and Kreider are also the only members on the team who are skating in the positive, with +2 and +9 respectively. Hagelin leads the team with four game winning goals at this point. Michael Del Zotto is looking to keep his three game point streak going. After jumping out to an early leads in hits, Dan Girardi has gotten his team started on being physical. Girardi leads the team with 108 hits followed by Kreider (96), Brian Boyle (87), and Ryan Callahan (80). Girardi also leads the team in blocks with 76; close behind is Ryan McDonagh with 73. Boyle is looking to add to his two goals in the last three games. Benoit Pouliot has started to slide away from his point streak and is looking to get back on the score sheet, while Rick Nash is looking to get himself on the score sheet more consistently.
The Stars are 20-16-7 with 47 points. This record is good enough for fifth place in the Central Division. The starting goalie has not been announced, though Kari Lehtonen is expected based on his lack of participation in this morning’s optional skate. With 2.64 goals against average and .915 save percentage tonight’s match-up should be very close. The main focus for the Stars will be Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn; who have a combined 78 points this season. Seguin boasts 21 goasl for 41 points with Benn’s 15 goals for 37 points. Trevor Daley and Sergei Gonchar have just been activated from injured reserve to rejoin their team tonight. Antoine Roussel could be the key to getting the Rangers on the power play. With 109 minutes in penalties, Roussel leads his team. Valeri Nichushkin is another player who can be dangerous for the Stars with his five points in the last 10 games. Expect to see a physical game from Brendan Dillon also, he finishes his checks and will not hesitate to hit the guys around him. Alex Goligoski will do what he can to get in front of the puck before Lehtonen does his work.
Tonights game should be a very close game agaist two very similarly matched teams. The Rangers have a bit more depth but Seguin and Jamie Benn have proven to be a very lethal pair. Jamie’s brother Jordie is also on the team, though not quite as dominant. These teams last met on November 21 in Dallas where the Rangers won 3-2 and Lundqvist posted 41 saves in the game.