The New York Rangers are well past the halfway point of the season and they have yet to play four NHL teams. That list will be reduced by one as they take on the Detroit Red Wings at Madison Square Garden in a game that was postponed from December. The Blueshirts are looking to extend their winning streak to four game.
The Red Wings are another team in rebuilding mode, though they still have a faint hope to make it to the wild card. After 50 games they have a 22-22-6 record and have closed within eight points of the Bruins, though Boston has three games in hand. Detroit is expected to be a seller at the trade deadline unless they go on a run and get closer to the B’s. So, for Detroit, this is an important game.
The main storyline will be the meeting between Alexis Lafrenière and Lucas Raymond, both left wingers who went early in the first round of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. Raymond was the fourth overall pick and after a full season last year with Frolunda in the Swedish Hockey League, he has made the transition to North America. In 50 games he has 13 goals and 39 points, better numbers than Lafrenière ‘s 10 goals and 13 points. Raymond has been playing on the first line and is averaging 18 minutes TOI per game compared to 13 minutes TOI for Lafrenière.
Another outstanding rookie is German defenseman, Moritz Seider, who was the sixth overall pick in 2019. The consensus is that Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman is replicating what he did in Tampa with young talent.
It’s also the return to Madison Square Garden for Marc Staal, who was a Ranger for 13 years. He is having a fine season as a veteran blueliner for the Red Wings. While most Ranger fans were happy to see him go after the 2019-20 season, it was mostly due to his inflated salary and not due to his play. He has turned into a good investment by the Red Wings on a one-year deal for $2 million. Look for a video tribute from the Rangers at some point in the game.
Since the 2012 lockout the Rangers have lost only three times in regulation in 21 games versus Detroit with a record of 12-3-6.
It’s been two years since the two teams played, with the last game a 1-0 road shutout, the last win of Henrik Lundqvist’s career. Only nine Rangers are left from the Blueshirts who played in that game. The Red Wings’ turnover has been even greater with only six players left from that Detroit team.
The Red Wings are in the middle of the NHL pack, scoring an average of 2.84 goals per game (21st overall) while they are sixth worst in the league, allowing 3.46 goals per game. This will be an opportunity for the Rangers on special teams as Detroit has the 10th worst penalty kill and the 25th overall power play.
It’s the same lineup for the Rangers that played against the Bruins. It will be another chance to get a look a the Zac Jones-Braden Schneider defense tandem. Filip Chytil is coming off one of this best games as a Ranger and will look to build on it.
NEW YORK RANGERS
20 Kreider– 93 Zibanejad –13 Lafrenière
10 Panarin– 16 Strome – 21 Goodrow
29 Hunt – 72 Chytil – 15 Gauthier
14 McKegg – 17 Rooney – 75 Reaves
55 Lindgren – 23 Fox
79 Miller – 8 Trouba
6 Jones – 45 Schneider
DETROIT RED WINGS
11 Filip Zadina – 71Dylan Larkin – 23 Lucas Raymond
14 Robby Fabbri – 24 Pius Suter – 59 Tyler Bertuzzi
90 Joe Veleno – 27 Michael Rasmussen – 73 Adam Erne
48 Givani Smith – 64 Gemel Smith – 89 Sam Gagner
65 Danny DeKeyser – 53 Moritz Seider
18 Marc Staal – 70 Troy Stecher
2 Nick Leddy – 17 Filip Hronek
39 Alex Nedeljkovic
29 Thomas Greiss
Alex Nedeljkovic should be in goal for the Red Wings and will be making his first start against the Rangers. Former Ranger Vlad Namestnikov was injured in the team’s last game and was doubtful for tonight.
How to watch and the live conversation
The game will be televised on the MSG Network with the national live stream on ESPN+. The radiocast will be on ESPN 98.7 FM.
As always, Blue Line Station’s live thread will be up during the game. The Rangers will be hard pressed to duplicate their thrilling win over the Bruins, but there should be a lot to talk about. Trade rumors are flying and everyone has an opinion.
Join in and share your thoughts with your fellow Ranger fans in the comments section below.