The New York Rangers host the St. Louis Blues tonight at Madison Square Garden.
Puck drop is at 7:00pm.
After a disappointing loss to the Islanders, the Rangers are looking to bounce back tonight. Henrik Lundqvist returns
from the flu tonight. With numbers that have been steadily rising, Lundqvist now has 2.54 goals against average and a .915 save percentage with his 17-17-3 record. The team’s record is 27-22-3 with 57 points, still good enough for second place in the Metropolitan Division. The Philadelphia Flyers remain one point behind the Rangers while the Pittsburgh Penguins are 15 points ahead of the Rangers. Rick Nash has taken over the lead in goals on the team with 16, giving him 25 points in 35 games. Brad Richards continues to lead the team with 25 assists and 38 total points. Mats Zuccarello remains close behind with 13 goals for 35 points. Benoit Pouliot seems to have fallen quiet recently. He has posted only one point in the last five games with only four points in the last 10 games. Slowly but surely the Rangers are pulling their stats up. After having the whole team skating in the negative, there are now five Rangers in the positive with two at a neutral zero. In addition to averaging 2.4 hits per game, Dan Girardi has also posted three points in the last two games. Right behind Girardi is Chris Kreider, also averaging 2.4 hits per game, and had three points in his last game. Girardi is averaging 1.8 blocks per game this season while Ryan McDonagh is averaging 1.6 blocks per game. Newcomer Kevin Kline will be in the line-up tonight paired with John Moore. Although he’s not a points machine, Kline is averaging 1.6 hits per game and two blocks per game. All in all, the Rangers are becoming the well rounded team we know they are.
The Blues are 33-11-5 with 71 points and are second, behind the Blackhawks, in the Central Division. In net for the Blues tonight is Jaroslav Halak has a 20-7-3 record this season with 2.32 goals against average and a .910 save percentage. Leading the Blues in points is Alexander Steen with 25 goals for 41 points in only 38 games, he was out with a concussion until recently. T.J. Oshie also has 41 points from 11 goals in 49 games. Jay Bouwmeester has 29 points on the season but has been quiet lately, he’s due to make a splash. Alex Pietrangelo is another name to watch out for, he has six goals for 35 points this season and he will get in front of the puck. He already has 106 blocks this year. What David Backes adds with 17 goals for 37 points he also adds in toughness with 151 hits, that’s considerably more than Girardi. The Blues are fast, skilled, and strong. But the Rangers took down the Blackhawks so they can take down the Blues too.
The last time these two teams met was on 12 October in St. Louis. The Blues won 5-3 and it was an absolute mess. The first period wasn’t too bad, the teams were tied at one going into the dressing rooms. After that it was all down hill. The game was a slugfest with 15 penalties total; eight of those were against the Rangers. Of those eight penalties, three were against Derek Dorsett, who is still out with a broken tibia, and two were against Justin Falk, who is a healthy scratch tonight. Marty Biron struggled in the second period behind a defense that looked like a chicken with no head. Ryan Callahan netted two goals but he was really the only player who looked ready to play.