Tonight will give the New York Rangers the opportunity to bounce back when they take on the LA Kings at Madison Square Garden in the final game of this four-game homestand.
It is amazing how quickly moods can change in hockey. Filled with confidence after dismantling the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday, the New York Rangers were brought back to earth after dropping a tough one to the Buffalo Sabres on Friday.
Not only was the Blueshirts’ lack of effort and hustle a cause for concern in that game, but it was also a loss that acted as a major body blow to their postseason hopes.
So, that loss places even more importance on this evening’s showdown against the LA Kings, before the Rangers hit the road for a three-game swing through Winnipeg, Minnesota and Columbus.
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Los Angeles will come into this contest with a 19-32-5 record after being shutout by the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on Saturday.
This is the first year of what could be a long rebuild for the Kings who are trying to make the transition from an aging core to a much younger team that is more suited to the modern-day NHL.
That desire was shown this week when the Kings sent gritty forward Kyle Clifford and goalie Jack Campbell to the Toronto Maple Leafs for speedy forward Trevor Moore along with a third round pick in 2020 and a conditional third round pick in 2021.
The Kings are trying to get younger, quicker and more skilled and they have really bolstered their farm system with an influx of fresh young talent.
However, there will be growing pains in the short-term and, as of today, LA find themselves rock bottom in the Pacific Division.
As the old saying goes, things will get worse before they get better for the LA Kings and they are a team that is there for the taking for the Rangers tonight.
If the Blueshirts are to pull off the unthinkable and somehow claw their way into the postseason, or at the very least keep on playing meaningful games heading into March, tonight’s game is one they should and have to win.
The New York Rangers are 0-1-0 against the LA Kings this year having dropped a 3-1 loss at Staples Center on Dec. 10.
However, the Rangers couldn’t build on that goal and Adrian Kempe iced the game for the Kings late in the third period.
Tonight’s game is also the season series finale between these two teams, and the Rangers will be hoping to exact a measure of revenge on the Kings to tie the series.