New York Rangers vs. Chicago Blackhawks, 8:30 PM at The United Center
Where To Watch: MSG Plus
Where To Listen: 970, The Apple
Live In-Game Chat: 8:15 PM on BlueshirtsUnited.com
Throughout the first 66 games of the 2011-12 season the Rangers (42-17-7, 91 pts) have avoided losing three consecutive games in regulation, and they have gone winless in three straight only once, when they opened the season 0-1-2. However tonight at the United Center when they face the Blackhawks (36-25-7, 79 pts) the Rangers will be looking to avoid a third straight defeat in regulation after the Blueshirts dropepd their previous two games---Tuesday in New Jersey and last night in Ottawa---by identical 4-1 scores. This is only the third time all season long that the Rangers have lost two consecutive games in regaultion, and the first time since December 13th and 15th. And to avoid a third straight defeat they must find a way to defeat a Chicago team---on the road---that beat the Blueshirts 4-2 at Madison Square Garden back on February 16th. The Rangers---whose lead in the Atlantic Division stands at six points over the Pittsburgh Penguins---are 1-2-1 in their last four games, and may have to play without Brandon Dubinsky again. Dubinsky sat out Thursday's contest in Ottawa due to a noe/sinus injury suffered in Tuesday's fight with the Devils Ryan Carter. John Scott, who has played in five straight games for the Rangers since being acquired at the trade deadline from Chicago, will face his former team for the first time tonight. Chicago is coming off a 5-1 loss to St. Louis on Tuesday, but the Blackhawks have won three of their last four games. With 79 points, the Blackhawks sit in sixth place in the Western Conference, though they are just five points clear of two teams tied for ninth place.
This is the second and final meeting between the Rangers and Blackhawks this season. On February 16th the Blackhawks scored on three of their first four shots en-route to a 4-2 victory over the Blueshirts at Madison Square Garden. New York's last visit to Chicago was December 9, 2009 when the Blueshirtrs skated to a thrilling 2-1 victory in overtime.
"It's a pretty good league obviously, and small mistakes---or the details, as we like to call them---are so important because they can prove costly, cost you the game, and that's what's been happeneing lately. We pride ourselves on the details of the game, but we have let it slip a little bit. That has to change, immediately."-Brian Boyle
By The Numbers
For the 35th time this season Thursday night the Rangers scored the first goal of the game. However it ended up being only the second time all year in which they scored first, but lost in regulation. The Rangers amazing record this season when scoring first is 30-2-3.
Brad Richards has 26 points (2-24-26) in 20 career games vs. the Blackhawks, while Marian Gaborik has 26 points (12-14-26) in 26 career games vs. Chicago.
Can the Rangers bounce back tonight in Chicago? Share your prediction below.