Time: 5:00pm ET
Place: Madison Square Garden – New York, NY
TV: BSDET, MSG
Radio: 97.1 FM The Ticket
Rangers Blog: Blueshirt Banter
Don’t look now folk but the Detroit Red Wings are in the thick of the (waaaay too early) playoff race. After shutting out the New York Islanders 3-0 yesterday afternoon and ending their winning streak at five games, the Red Wings find themselves with a record of 6-3-2. Good enough for third place in the very bunched up after Boston Atlantic Division. They will look to continue their solid, if not sometimes inconsistent, start to the season by traveling to New York to try and get above .500 against the teams from the Empire State as they take on the Rangers.
The Blue Shirts come into today’s game winners in three of their last four games and 6-4-2 overall on the season. Up front they are lead by the usual suspects of Mika Zibanejad (G/A), Artemi Panarin (G/A), Chris Kreider (G/A) and newcomer Vincent Trocheck (G/A). Beyond that foursome though their forwards have really struggled to produce offensively with Alexis LaFreniere (G/A) and Kaapo Kakko (G/A) the only other ones with at least five points on the seasons. On the back end it is a similar story as perennial Norris candidate Adam Fox continues to lead the blue line offensively with 10 points (3G/7A) but the next defenseman closest defenseman to him in terms of points is K’Andre Miller and Jacob Trouba who are tied with three apiece. While New York is a bit top heavy offensively, they are collectively a stout defensive team as they are top ten in fewest shots allowed per game (29.0) and .01 out of the top ten in goals allowed per game (2.91) despite playing one or two more games than almost all the teams ahead of them. In net it has been a bit of a tale of two goalies for the Rangers with Igor Shesterkin playing to his typical Vezina level with a .918 save percentage and backup Jaroslav Halak struggling to keep pace, giving up 11 goals in three games with a .867 save percentage. With teams continuing the “play their backup against the Red Wings) trend this generally might not be so bad, but with the Rangers and Shesterkin taking a 5-2 loss in their last game against Boston and that game being back on Thursday there is a good chance New York could look to use this game to get the reigning Vezina winner a bounce back game.
This has the makings of another one of those “measuring stick” games for Detroit. On the road, second half a back-to-back, playing a strong defensive team who has had a few days off to rest. If the Boys in Red can find a way to steal some points that has historically been a tough place for them to do so, it could see their confidence continue to rise as we inch ever so closer to that much talked about Thanksgiving date with the Red Wings in contention for the playoffs.