Morning Skate: Red Wings at Rangers Preview

Bruce Bennett

Game 47

7p ET, Madison Square Garden

New York City, NY

TV: Fox Sports Detroit

Radio: 97.1 The Ticket

Rangers Blog: Blueshirt Banter

If the season ended today, the Red Wings would be on the outside looking in when it comes to making the postseason. That's pretty freakin' pathetic in the Eastern Conference too. Guess what though? The season doesn't end today. There are still 36 games to go. On top of that, the Wings have games in hand on every team ahead of them or tied with them. Of course, that means nothing if the Wings are going to squander away those games in hand.

The Rangers come into this game one point ahead of the Wings for the final Wild Card spot in the East. They lost their last game, but before that they rattled off three straight wins, including a victory over the Blackhawks. If they Wings were healthy, they should roll the Rangers, sadly, Piet Van Zant has yet to find a magic elixir to fix the groin epidemic in Detroit. At this point, if management isn't going to change the training staff or workout regiment, maybe we should delve into some voodoo or dark magic and witch craft. Seriously, are any of our readers witches or something? Is their something we can do about this because the team sure as hell isn't going to anything.

Bottom line, the Wings can't waste anymore games. Points are at a premium. The Red Wings have to win this game.

The Expected Lineup

Forwards

Gustav Nyquist Henrik Zetterberg Justin Abdelkader
Tomas Jurco Riley Sheahan Todd Bertuzzi
Drew Miller Joakim Andersson Mikael Samuelsson
Daniel Cleary Luke Glendening Patrick Eaves

Defensemen

Niklas Kronwall Brendan Smith
Kyle Quincey Danny DeKeyser
Brian Lashoff Jakub Kindl

Goaltenders

Jimmy Howard
Petr Mrazek

Scratches: Tomas Tatar (personal reasons)

Injuries: Jonas Gustavsson (groin) Johan Franzen (concussion), Darren Helm (who knows at this point), Pavel Datsyuk (lower body groin), Jonathan Ericsson (ribs), Daniel Alfredsson (back spasms… allegedly)

LTIR: Stephen Weiss (groin)

RANGERS THE MATCH-UP RED WINGS
24-21-3 (51 pts; 4th in Metro) Record 20-16-10 (50 pts; 5th in Atlantic)
2.42 (23rd in NHL) Goals Per Game 2.54 (19th in NHL)
2.58 (13th) Goals Against Per Game 2.61 (14th)
21.1% (6th) Power Play % 16.7% (27th)
83.8% (9th) Penalty Kill % 85.1% (6th)
2 tied with 12 goals Goal Leader Pavel Datsyuk (15 goals)
Brad Richards (35 points) Points Leader Henrik Zetterberg (36 points)

Opponent Outlook

Player to Fear: Let's go with Rick Nash. Good think Brian Rafalski isn't in this game for him to abuse.

X-Factor: Whichever goalie starts… Henrik Lundqvist or Cam Talbot.

Familiar Faces: None.

Thumbs up (One Thing to Like About New York): Freedom Tower.

Thumbs down (One Thing to Dislike About New York): Way too many people.

Bullets of Knowledge

  • The Red Wings are 261-210-103-2 (W-L-T-OTL) all-time against the Rangers.

  • Last 10 games: New York 6-3-1. Detroit 5-4-1.

  • Howard is 2-0-1 with a 1.95 GAA, .948 SV% in 3 career games against New York.

Prediction: Victory.

Let's Go Red Wings.
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