Game Thirteen, the New York Rangers at the Detroit Red Wings
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The New York Rangers are coming off of a big overtime victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday night after a three game home stand to start off November and are taking their 6-4-2 record on the road to Toronto to play the Leafs. The Leafs have had good success against teams in the Metropolitan Division early in the season (3-1-0) and are 6-5-2 on the year. The James van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - Phil Kessel line has a combined 39 points to start the season and are obviously the line that the Rangers have to try and shut down tonight. The Leafs are 9th in goals scored per game and could prove to be a handful for the Rangers depleted back line and Henrik Lundqvist.
Chris Mueller was reassigned to Harftord on Thursday (although he did a great job on the power play and in the bottom six) so we should expect Derek Stepan to be in the lineup tonight and ready to contribute in a meaningful way to the club.
The New York Rangers' November Schedule
Mike's Player to Watch: Derek Stepan
Stepan returning to the lineup is a big deal for the Rangers who have been floundering to find a replacement for the right handed first line center in the lineup. The Rangers have certainly done a lot of experimenting to replace Steps in-house and most of those experiments were highly ineffective or hurt the team in other areas. Stepan's return should mean we get to see Martin St. Louis continue to play on the wing, where he is most effective, and the Rangers' top six get a serious injection of talent and puck movement. We shouldn't expect too much from Stepan too early, but just having him back in the picture tonight is great news for the Blueshirts who have really missed their newest alternate captain.
Let's go Rangers! Enjoy the game and the thread.