Pregame Analysis

Rangers Visit Zuccarello-Less Stars

The Rangers hope to end a four-game drought as they take on the Dallas Stars (8:30 P.M. ET, MSG).

The Blueshirts fell victim to extra time for the third time in four games. Ryan Strome and Pavel Buchnevich scored the only two goals for the Rangers. In the shootout, Alex Ovechkin won the shootout for the Capitals in the most unusual of ways. Ovechkin did not score on his attempt, but he was awarded the goal because Alex Georgiev threw his stick at Ovechkin. Georgiev finished the game with 37 saves.

“As he was moving laterally, I threw my leg and stick at the same time…,” Georgiev said. “The guys played really well. We were pretty good on the PK. Those things helped.”

Head coach David Quinn likes how the team is playing despite the recent results. “I think our guys should feel good about the direction we’re going, the way guys have developed and the way they’re not intimidated by the Stanley Cup Champions,” Quinn said.

Tonight, the Blueshirts head west to take on the Dallas Stars. The Stars were busy at the trade deadline acquiring Mats Zuccarello for two-conditional picks. In his first game with Dallas, Zuccarello left the game and did not return. Zuccarello had successful surgery for a broken arm and is expected to miss four weeks.

Zuccarello meant a lot to many key Rangers personnel. “I miss him,” Quinn said.

Mika Zibanejad told reporters he keeps talks with Zuccarello every day. “We stay in touch,” Zuccarello said. “I mean, Mika, he misses me like I was his boyfriend. He FaceTimes me every day.”

Henrik Lundqvist said he keeps intouch via text. Both players are hoping to spend time with Zuccarello while theyare in Dallas.

The Rangers will turn to Georgiev for the second straight game. Quinn said there won’t be a straight rotation from here, but Georgiev and Lundqvist will roughly end up splitting the rest.

“Obviously, I want to play, but I understand the situation we’re in and working for the future,” said Lundqvist. “So, I’ve just got to work hard during practice and try to be ready when they want me to play.”

The Stars will start 32-year-old Ben Bishop. Bishop left the first matchup between these two teams in the second period. Bishop stopped 12 of 13 shots before leaving. Bishop holds a 10-2 career record against the Rangers.

Alex Radulov, the Stars second highest point score, will be a healthy scratch due to arriving late to practice. Radulov has 51 points on the season.

The Blueshirts are expected to start the same lineup they did against the Capitals.

Projected lineup

Kreider-Zibanejad-Vesey

Namestnikov-Strome-Fast

Lemieux-Andersson-Buchnevich

Smith-Howden-Chytil

Staal-DeAngelo

Skjei-Shattenkirk

Hajek-Pionk

Georgiev

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