New York Rangers vs. Detroit Red Wings, 7:30 PM at Madison Square Garden
Where To Watch: NBC Sports Network
Where To Listen: 1130-AM, Bloomberg Radio
Live In-Game Chat: 7:15 PM on BlueshirtsUnited.com
Tonight at The Garden it is a rare meeting between a pair of Original Six teams when the Rangers (45-20-7, 97 pts) host the Detroit Red Wings (44-25-4, 92 pts) in the only game played between them this season. The Rangers will be seeking to build off two solidly-played games in a row---Saturday's 3-1 loss to the Avalanche and Monday's emotional 4-2 victory over the Devils. That win Monday clinched a playoff berth for the Rangers in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs---making them the first team in the Eastern Conference, and only second in the entire NHL, to clinch already this season. However tonight's game still has great importance for the Blueshirts, who remain just one point ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins for the top spot in the East, following the Pens 8-4 win over Winnipeg last night. The Rangers are hopeful that Artem Anisimov could return from injury tonight and rejoin the lineup. He practiced on Tuesday---skating on a line with Brian Boyle and Mats Zuccarello---and a decision on his playing status will be made today. The Red Wings are a much more beat up team than the Rangers, though. They will be without both of their top goaltenders tonight---All Star Jimmy Howard and backup Joey MacDonald---due to injury, while team captain Nicklas Lidstrom also remains out of the lineup along with Jonathan Ericsson, Johan Franzen, Kakub Kindl, and Darren Helm. Due in large part to the injuries, Detroit is winless in its last five games (0-4-1) and has been outscored 20-9 in that stretch.
Tonight marks the one and only meeting between the Rangers and Red Wings this season. A year ago the two teams faced off only once, as well, with the Red Wings edging the Blueshirts 3-2 at Joe Louis Arena on February 7th. Martin Biron made 32 saves in that game for the Rangers, while Brandon Dubinsky and Derek Stepan each scored a goal. The Rangers have not beaten Detroit since a 3-1 victory on October 25, 2003 at Madison Square Garden, and their all-time record against the Red Wings is 210-260-103-1.
"The standings are still right there and we are still close with a lot of teams, and we are still playing for the home-ice advantage and first in the division. Most of all we are just trying to get our game where it needs to be heading into the playoffs. We are happy that we clinched, but we need to continue to get better and continue to hit our stride as we head into the playoffs."-Ryan Callahan
By The Numbers
Rookie Carl Hagelin is making a strong case to be considered for the Calder Trophy. The talented Swede is fifth among all rookies with 37 points after his two-assist outing Monday night---this despite having played in only 54 games. Hagelin also leads all rookies with a +22 plus/minus rating, and has accumulated 14 points (5-9-14) in his last 13 games.
Detroit's Tomas Holmstrom recently played in his 1,000th NHL game. He joins teammates Nicklas Lidstrom and Todd Bertuzzi as current Red Wings players who have appeared in at least 1,000 career games.
Will the Rangers extend the Red Wings losing streak tonight? Share your prediction below.