Pregame Analysis

Rangers Look to Extend Win Streak to Five Without Zuccarello

The Rangers travel to Detroit in hopes to extend their win streak to five games without Mats Zuccarello (7:30 p.m. ET, MSG).

Relentless. The Blueshirts used a three goal third period to defeat the Montreal Canadiens and extend their win streak to four. David Quinn’s team found themselves down by two in the second period and would score four unanswered goals in a comeback win.

With under three to go in the third period, it appeared the game was destined for overtime. What started off as an innocent looking play, Neal Pionk went end-to-end scoring the game winning goal. Mika Zibanejad got the dagger a minute later and that sealed a 5-3 win for the Rangers in thrilling fashion. The Rangers are now back at .500 (7-7-1) for the first time since the beginning of the season.

“It was a great play,” said defensive partner Marc Staal. “I was skating up ahead of him, telling him I’m there if you need me. But he just kept on going, and I watched him finish it off.

Lias Andersson logged just twelve minutes for the Blueshirts on the third line. Andersson had ups-and-downs in his first game in the NHL, including two high sticking penalties. He also created some offensive chances including a shot in the slot which was denied by Price.

The Red Wings enter tonight’s game with the third worst point total in the NHL (12 points). Despite a poor start, the Red Wings have started to heat up. They currently have won four out of their last five games and have averaged nearly four goals a game in that stretch. Detroit is currently in the midst of a rebuild and are looking to get younger. Dylan Larkin is leading the way for the next generation of Wings. The 22-year-old is currently leading the team in goals (6) and points (15).

“We’re continuing to find ways to win,” said Larkin. We’re not getting rattled like we were early in the season when we go down by two goals or something bad happens.”

In addition, Gustav Nyquist is set to become an unrestricted free agent after the season. He currently has 13 points and he will be someone Detroit will look to move before the trade deadline.

Jimmy Howard will start for the Red Wings and he will look to keep a streak going of his own. Howard has won his last 3 decisions and will look to make it four. Despite the Red Wings getting off to a poor start, Howard has held a .917 save percentage and has been the main reason behind Detroit’s strong play recently.

Henrik Lundqvist will get the start for the Rangers. Lundqvist has been nothing short of outstanding this season. Lundqvist is currently sixth in the NHL for save percentage among goalies who have played at least ten games.

The Blueshirts will play three games in the next four days and they will be without Mats Zuccarello for the first time this season. Zuccarello is currently day-to-day with a groin strain. He won’t play tonight or tomorrow night in Columbus. In Zuccarello’s absence, Pavel Buchnevich will take his spot on the first line with Vladislav Namestnikov and Mika Zibanejad.  

Brett Howden returns for the Rangers tonight after missing one game due to an upper-body injury suffered against Buffalo. He will return to the third line with Jimmy Vesey and Jesper Fast.

With Howden back, Lias Andersson joins the fourth line with Filip Chytil and Vinni Lettieri. Cody McLeod will be a healthy scratch.

 

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Boo Nieves has been sent to the Hartford Wolf Pack in the AHL. Nieves has been practicing with the Blueshirts upon his return from a concussion suffered in preseason. Nieves suffered the concussion on a hit by Eric Gryba during the first preseason game back on September 17th.

In other news, Henrik Lundqvist appeared on Good Morning America on Wednesday. The Swede surprised three-time cancer survivor and Rangers fan Connor McMahon. Lundqvist surprised the 17-year-old and gave him two jerseys. McMahon will attend a game and get the opportunity to meet the team afterwards.  

 

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