Pregame Analysis

Rangers Homestand Continues Against Kings

After a hard-fought defeat againstthe league leading Tampa Bay Lightning, the Rangers will play the league’sworst in the Los Angeles Kings. (7:00 P.M. ET, MSG, NHLN).

The Blueshirts rally fell short Saturday night as they fell to the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2. New York found themselves down 3-0 halfway through the second period. Mats Zuccarello would make the game interesting going into the third and Kevin Hayes brought the Rangers to within one with 13 minutes left. However, the rally came to a halt as Louis Domingue would stand tall. Domingue finished the game with 31 saves. The Blueshirts continued to battle until the end and that is what Rangers personnel liked.

“We never gave up, and that’s a great sign,” said Henrik Lundqvist,who made 20 saves in a losing effort.

“It’s nice that we did keep battling and never quit,” said head coachDavid Quinn.

“Some games are like this. We were creating a lot and it just doesn’tseem to find the net at the end.”

While the Lightning are leading the President’s trophy race, the Kings are leading the race for the worst record in the league sitting at 20-27-4.  Anze Kopitar leads the Kings in scoring with 36 points. The Kings have had offensive struggles this year and have scored the fewest goals this season.

Jonathan Quick will start for the Kings in Madison Square Garden. Quick has struggled this season with a below .500 record and a 2.97 goals against average. Quick will oppose Henrik Lundqvist who starts his third straight game.

The Blueshirts will dress eleven forwards and seven defensemenfor the fourth time this season. Quinn, who was not a big fan of the alternativelineup, is starting to grow a liking for it.

“I’m liking it more and more,” said Quinn.

“I just think that’s our best lineup tonight,” saidQuinn. “I am getting more comfortable with the seven D.

Quinn elaborated saying if he feels the team needs a four-linerotation, that defenseman Brendan Smith is comfortable in that role.

“If we do want to have a four-line rotation we can putSmitty up front, he’s comfortable doing that,” Quinn said.

Projected Lineup:

Kreider-Zibanejad-Zuccarello

Buchnevich-Hayes-Fast

Chytil-Strome-Namestnikov

Vesey-Nieves

Staal-DeAngelo

Skjei-McQuaid

Smith – Shattenkirk – Pionk         

Lundqvist

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