Preview: Detroit at NY Rangers
When: 7:00 PM ET, Sunday, February 21, 2016
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, New York
The New York Rangers will be without their captain once again when they host the Original Six-rival Detroit Red Wings on Sunday. Defenseman Ryan McDonagh suffered neck spasms and a bruised jaw from an elbow by Toronto’s Leo Komarov on Thursday in just his second game back after missing four with a concussion.
The Rangers have had a strong month thus far, going 6-2-1 to maintain second place in the Metropolitan Division. Detroit, which is holding the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, is looking to salvage the finale of its four-game road trip after going 0-2-1 in the first three contests. The Red Wings suffered their fourth loss in five overall games (1-2-2) Saturday at Ottawa but allowed only two goals after surrendering a total of 15 during their previous three contests. All three meetings between New York and Detroit last season were one-goal decisions, with the home team winning each matchup — one of which took place at Madison Square Garden.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, NBCSN
ABOUT THE RED WINGS (29-20-10): Detroit hopes to have Dylan Larkin in the lineup after the rookie sat out Saturday’s game with an illness. It was only the second contest of the season missed by the 19-year-old, who leads the team with 19 goals and ranks second with 39 points. After a rough start to the campaign, Pavel Datsyuk has climbed to third on the club in scoring (35 points) after collecting six goals and five assists during a seven-game point streak that ended in Ottawa.
ABOUT THE RANGERS (33-19-6): Daniel Paille’s time in New York appears to be over as the veteran left wing was placed on waivers Saturday. The fourth-liner, who was a first-round pick of Buffalo in 2002 and scored a career-high 19 goals with the Sabres in 2007-08, was signed Jan. 21 but failed to record a point in 12 games with the Rangers. Henrik Lundqvist is expected to be in net after Antti Raanta posted his first victory since Nov. 15 on Thursday.
1. Half of Datsyuk’s 12 goals this season have come on the power play.
2. New York LW Rick Nash will miss his 12th consecutive game because of a bone bruise in his left leg.
3. Larkin is one tally shy of becoming the first Detroit rookie to reach the 20-goal plateau since captain Henrik Zetterberg accomplished the feat in 2002-03.
PREDICTION: Rangers 3, Red Wings 2