24 hours after defeating the Hurricanes in a shootout in Carolina, the Rangers return home to face the Western Conference leading Anaheim Ducks in a matchup that features the teams currently holding the two best Presidents’ Trophy odds. Though tied on points (99) with the Canadiens, the Ducks also sit in 2nd place in the league standings having two fewer regulation or overtime wins than Montreal. Right behind the Ducks, who come into New York on a four-game winning streak, are the Rangers, who have 97 points but three games in hand on both Anaheim and Montreal.
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The Rangers take on the Panthers tonight, looking to extend their win streak to five games, and their point streak to seven games.
Both the Rangers and the Panthers played yesterday. Mackenzie Skapski shut out the Sabres for the Rangers, and Dan Ellis shut out the Hurricanes in the Panthers’ 2-0 win.
After two days off that saw the Rangers maintain their lead in the Eastern Conference, they’ll have as great a chance as ever to tack on another two points against Buffalo.
Three weeks and one day after making his NHL debut at the First Niagara Center, Mackenzie Skapski returns for his second appearance. Skapski stopped 24 of 25 shots the first time around en route to a 3-1 victory. According to Mike Harrington, this will be the 34th time in 68 games that Buffalo has drawn a team’s back-up goalie. This is a perfect opportunity to get Skapski some more action while giving Cam Talbot a much needed rest before tomorrow’s game.
The Rangers play their second game against a Metropolitan Division rival in as many nights, as they take on the Capitals tonight in Washington.
Cam Talbot will start a rare back-to-back. Talbot stopped 29 of 30 last night against the Islanders. He’s 6-1-2 in his last 9 games played with a 0.937 SV%. The Capitals will start Braden Holtby, who is quietly having an elite season. Holtby is 32-16-9 with a 0.925 SV%.
After playing the Nashville Predators and the Detroit Red Wings this past week, the Rangers face another Stanley Cup contender, the Blackhawks, on Sunday night in Chicago. The matchup will be the Rangers’ first chance to face Brad Richards, who signed a one-year deal with the Blackhawks last summer, since buying him out. Read more
The Rangers take on the Red Wings tonight for Game 63 of their schedule.
James Sheppard will likely make his Ranger debut, after missing Monday’s game due to a tough travel schedule. Based on yesterday’s skate, it looks like I’ll get my wish and Sheppard won’t break up the third line of Hagelin, Hayes and Miller. Sheppard skated on the fourth line with Dominic Moore and Jesper Fast.