The New York Rangers will play their final game before embarking on a nearly week-long idle stretch. A trip to Las Vegas is probably a good enough of a gift as any entering a de facto bye week, but the Rangers would like two more.
They’ll make their first visit to T-Mobile Arena on Sunday night, when they take on the Vegas Golden Knights (9:30 PM, MSG+).
The Rangers (22-14-5) will be playing in their third back-to-back set of the season, having defeated the Arizona Coyotes 2-1 in a shootout last at Gila River Arena. Henrik Lundqvist earned yet another historic win, the 424th of his career, which allows him to take over sole possession of eighth place all time on the NHL goalies’ all-time wins list, separating himself from Tony Esposito. Lundqvist blanked Arizona in the shootout session, ending it by stopping ex-teammate Derek Stepan. Mika Zibanejad scored for the Rangers in the tiebreaker, while Jimmy Vesey had the regulation tally.
— NHL (@NHL) January 7, 2018
Meanwhile, the expansion Golden Knights (28-10-2) continue their torrid pace, having gone 13-1-1 over their past 15 games. Their most recent triumph was a 5-4 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night at United Center. Riley Smith had the unassisted game winning goal, part of a three-point night, as he added two assists. Cody Eakin had the tying goal five minutes earlier, as they came back from 4-3 down.
It was a game against the Vegas Golden Knights that put the Rangers back on track after a brutal start. On October 31, sitting a 3-7-2, the Rangers earned a 6-4 win at Madison Square Garden. After falling behind 4-2 late in the second on an unassisted David Perron goal, the Rangers put in four unanswered in the final period. Pavel Buchnevich tied the game off an assist from Mika Zibanejad, who scored the game winner just under five minutes later. It was part of a three-point night for Zibanejad, as well as a 30 save night for Henrik Lundqvist. Since that game, the Rangers have amassed a 19-7-3 record.
Despite Vegas’s expansion status, this technically won’t be the Rangers’ first ever game in Sin City. They played a 1991 outdoor exhibition against the Los Angeles Kings, falling 5-2 just outside Caesar’s Palace.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490