Preview: NY Rangers at St. Louis
When: 8:00 PM ET, Thursday, February 25, 2016
Where: Scottrade Center, St. Louis, Missouri
Goaltender Jake Allen will make his first start in more than six weeks when the St. Louis Blues host the New York Rangers on Thursday night. Allen, who has been sidelined since suffering a knee injury on Jan. 8, is returning just in time for St. Louis, which lost netminder Brian Elliott for at least four weeks in Monday’s loss to the San Jose Sharks.
“With Brian going down, we’re fortunate that we’ve got Jake back and vice versa when it happened to Jake,” Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk said. “We’re in a good position and the best part is we know what we get out of both goalies every time.” St. Louis also will be without forward Ryan Reaves, who received a three-game suspension for boarding San Jose’s Matt Tennyson. The Rangers had been red hot before opening their three-game road trip with a 5-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday. Captain Ryan McDonagh and fellow defenseman Marc Staal could both return to the lineup for New York, which is 7-2-1 in its last 10 games.
TV: 8 p.m. ET; MSG (New York), FSN Midwest (St. Louis), NHL.TV
ABOUT THE RANGERS (34-20-6): McDonagh has missed the past two games with an injury to his neck and jaw after taking an elbow from Toronto Maple Leafs forward Leo Komarov last week, but he had no issues after skating Tuesday morning. “The feedback that I got was everything went well,” coach Alain Vigneault said. “So (Wednesday) is just a travel day for us, he’s going to be on the trip and we’ll see how he feels.” Kevin Hayes scored one of New York’s two goals versus the Devils to give him four tallies in his last seven games.
ABOUT THE BLUES (35-18-9): Allen saw his first action since he was hurt, coming on in relief Monday after Elliott was injured and stopping 15-of-17 shots.
“It was just nice to get my feet wet and tomorrow will be another chance for me to get back out there and feel comfortable again,” Elliott said. “It might take me a game or so to get back into it, but no excuses for me. I’m 30-odd games into the season … I’m ready to go and face the challenge and these guys will help me out.” Allen allowed three goals on five shots in a 6-3 loss at New York on Nov. 12.
1. Blues F Vladimir Tarasenko, who has scored in each of the past two games, had three goals and five points in five contests versus New York.
2. Rangers G Henrik Lundqvist is 2-4-0 with a 2.72 goals-against average versus St. Louis.
3. The Blues have scored five power-play goals in the past four games.
PREDICTION: Rangers 4, Blues 3