Hockey Day in America for 2016 caps off at Madison Square Garden tonight in an Original Six matchup. The Detroit Red Wings visit the New York Rangers, as the two meet for the first time this season.
Here are three things to know for Detroit vs. New York, per 2/21/16:
Where Both Teams Stand
The Rangers enter tonight’s contest with a 33-19-6 record (72 points) and hold the three seed in the Eastern Conference. The Broadway Blueshirts have won seven of their last 10 and are fresh off of a 4-2 victory against the Toronto Maple Leafs. New York is 9-6 thus far vs. Atlantic Division opponents.
Rookie head coach Jeff Blashill and the Red Wings have found a way to stay afloat in the Conference standings all season. Detroit has played .500 hockey as of late though, and the Wings are 14-10-4 on the road while going 5-6-4 against the Metropolitan Division. Detroit finds itself in the middle of the pack (fourth place) for its division and hold the final wild card spot in the East — three points (68) ahead of the New Jersey Devils.
Who’s In & Who’s Out
The Rangers are without team captain Ryan McDonagh again (jaw contusion and neck spasms), but the team did recall forward Marek Hrivik from the Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL). Hrivik had seven goals and 21 assists in 52 games played with the Rangers’ AHL affiliate. Forward Daniel Paille was placed on and cleared waivers recently, as Paille will now suit up for Hartford.
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) February 21, 2016
Also, there is no further update on Rick Nash — who has missed the past 11 games due to a leg injury.
The Red Wings will be without two forwards and one leader on defense. Left and Right Wingers Drew Miller and Johan Franzen are sidelined due to injuries; and the Rangers wont have to worry about facing Niklas Kronwall on Detroit’s blue line tonight either — Kronwall hasn’t laced up the skates for the Wings since January 17 due to a knee injury.
The Blueshirts went 1-1-1 last season vs. their Original Six opponent and scored a total of seven goals. The Rangers won the first game at the world’s most famous arena by a final score of 4-3 in overtime.
While Detroit and New York will more than likely not meet during the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs, there are still six points on the board between the two clubs. And, don’t think twice that both teams couldn’t use all six, especially the Red Wings who are on the bubble.
I’ll predict this game will go to overtime as well — just like last year’s first meeting on Broadway…