Rangers at Blackhawks – 8:30 PM MSG+.
The Rangers continue to slump. Despite stealing some games, they have not been playing well, by any metric. Worse yet, the forwards are ravaged by injury.
I’m going to have my parents
and in-laws over for a birthday celebration. Yes, my birthday was yesterday, but they are all coming today. Yes, there will be a second cake. No, I don’t really care for cake. No, I won’t be able to watch the game as closely as I’d like. Yes, this is an HAV. UPDATE: My in laws are a late scratch . No, I’m not upset.
Special thanks to James G for covering the review of tonight’s game.
Tonight’s possible lineup for the Rangers (17-9-1):
Chris Kreider-Derek Stepan-Mats Zuccarello
JT Miller-Kevin Hayes-Michael Grabner
Jimmy Vesey-Brandon Pirri-Nicklas Jensen
Marek Hrivik-Oscar Lindberg-Jesper Fast
Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi
Marc Staal-Nick Holden
Brady Skjei-Kevin Klein
The big news, of course, is that Antti Raanta will start his second consecutive game. It’s the first time Lundqvist has been a healthy backup in back to back games in almost three years. It’s also one of the only times as Rangers coach that AV has gone with the same goaltender on both games of a back to back when the Rangers travel in between the two games. It might even be the only time this has happened when one of the team’s two goaltenders wasn’t hurt, but I am not looking that up (HAV). There’s no sugarcoating this: Lundqvist has been bad and AV is sending a pretty clear message that it won’t be tolerated.
Equally big are the return to the lineup of Jimmy Vesey after missing one game with a forearm injury caused by a slash taken during the Islanders game. And speaking of the Islanders, can we just laugh for a moment at the hilariously awful Clutterbuck and Cizikas contracts? Fantastic.
Still out of the lineup are Rick Nash, Matt Puempel, and Pavel Buchnevich, who it was revealed has a protruding disc that may eventually require season ending surgery. Still will probably finish with more goals and points than Anthony Duclair. Clendening and Jooris are Prucha’d.
The defense remains the same as it has for most of the season.
For the Blackhawks (17-8-3), the story is also about injuries. The Hawks have been without captain and star center Jonathan Toews (much to the chagrin of Sioux), as well as starting goaltender Corey Crawford, but tonight they will also be without Brent Seabrooke as well. Marian Hossa is having a career resurgence and it’s amazing to watch. I think he is possibly the most underrated player of his generation. Scott Darling gets the start.
The penalty kill for the Hawks has been a serious problem, and with the Rangers coming off a game with two PP goals, tonight would be a pretty good night for Pirri to get going.
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