The New York Rangers face the Detroit Red Wings at the Joe Louis Arena. Puck drop is set for 12:30 pm.
The Rangers are now 34-26-4 with 72 points, still third in the Metropolitan Division. The Philadelphia Flyers are one point ahead in the standings, making todays contest even more important. Henrik Lundqvist, again starts in goal, the line-up remains the same from Friday night in Carolina. Lundqvist is 23-20-4 this season with a .914 save percentage and a 2.55 goals against average. Brad Richards maintains his lead in points with 16 goals for 45 points, but Mats Zuccarello has returned to the line-up. Zuccarello has 15 goals for 44 points but has a +6 rating to Richards’ -10 rating. Derek Stepan seems to be closing the gap from the leaders with his 11 goals for 42 points. He also posted seven points in the last five games. Derick Brassard seems to have halted his production in Zuccarello’s absence and holds at 13 goals for 36 points. Just behind Brassard is Ryan McDonagh with 11 goals for 33 points. McDonagh has registered three goals in the last three games, two of which were short-handed. McDonagh leads the team in short-handed goals with three. Martin St. Louis registered his first point, an assist on the game winning goal, as a Ranger brining himself up to 29 goals for 62 points for the season. Dan Girardi continues to be the team’ most valuable defensive defenseman with 157 hits and 133 blocks. Kevin Klein has 113 blocks on the season with 19 as a Ranger, followed by McDonagh with 106 blocks. The Rangers continue to play a physical game with some big hits and five players over the 100 mark. Chris Kreider has 127 blocks followed closely by Brian Boyle with 125. Boyle is credited with 19 hits in the last 10 games, though it seems like he’s had a lot more. Benoit Puoliot and Derick Brassard have 106 and 102 hits, respectively.
The Detroit Red Wings are 29-21-13 with 71 points this season and are fifth in the Atlantic Division. Jimmy Howard has a 13-14-10 record with a .912 save percentage and a 2.64 goals against average. The Red Wings are without Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Stephen Weiss, Darren Helm, and Daniel Cleary. Niklas Kronwall leads todays player with seven goals for 40 points. Daniel Alfredsson has 14 goals for 37 points this season. Johan Franzen has 15 goals for 47 points this season and has posted 12 points in the last six games. Gustav Nyquist has 16 goals for 32 points and eight points in the last five games. The newly acquired, David Legwand has three points, one goal and two assists, in two games for the Red Wings. All three points came two nights ago against the New Jersey Devils. Legwand has a season total of 11 goals for 32 points. The Red Wings have two players with more than 100 hits, Justin Abdelkader has 153 hits while Drew Miller has 100 hits this season. Kronwall doesn’t think twice about using his body, he has 117 blocks this season.
The Red Wings are holding tight to the final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference so this game is hugely important for both teams. Look for the Red Wings to play a fast paced game with minimal penalties. The Rangers will have to stay out of the box and use their speed to challenge the Red Wings’ net minder. The Rangers lead the season series 2-0, with wins both home and away.