After defeating the San Jose Sharks 4-0 and earning their first shutout of the season, the Rangers look to continue their good play versus a young and up-and-coming Coyotes team. This will be a reunion of sorts, with NYR 2013 third round draft pick Anthony Duclair making his first return to MSG after being dealt to Arizona last season for Keith Yandle. Yandle, of course, will be playing in his first game against his former team as well.
"It's obviously going to be a little different," Yandle told NHL.com. "It's one of those games that when you see it on the schedule I was happy it was in the beginning of the year, get it over with and get going on from there. But I think it will be a lot of fun."
Duclair and fellow rookie/linemate Max Domi have been playing very well for Arizona, who currently sit in third place in the Pacific Division, with a record of 3-2-1. Duclair leads the Coyotes with 5 goals, and is second in points, with 7 overall. Arizona is coming off a 3-2 overtime loss to New Jersey on Tuesday. Their lineup for tonight (skating 11 forwards and 7 defenseman) is as follows:
Mikkel Boedker - Antoine Vermette - Shane Doan
Max Domi - Martin Hanzal - Anthony Duclair
Tobias Rieder - Brad Richardson - Steve Downie
Jordan Martinook - Boyd Gordon
Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Michael Stone
Nicklas Grossmann - Connor Murphy
Klas Dahlbeck - Zybnek Michalek
The Rangers' Derek Stepan will be a game-time decision tonight, as he missed practice Wednesday due to a wisdom tooth extraction and removal of two screws leftover from his broken jaw in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Alain Vigneault, however, made it sound as though he should be ready to play tonight. That in mind, here is the projected lineup for the Rangers:
Rick Nash - Derek Stepan - Mats Zuccarello
Chris Kreider - Derick Brassard - Jesper Fast
Oscar Lindberg - Kevin Hayes - J.T. Miller
Viktor Stalberg - Dominic Moore - Jarrett Stoll
Ryan McDonagh - Kevin Klein
Keith Yandle - Dan Girardi
Marc Staal - Dan Boyle
If the Rangers want to come away with a victory tonight, they are going to have to have a fast start and set the pace and tempo early on. They cannot afford to give this Coyotes team any confidence, especially their ever-dangerous second line. Our boys know what Duclair is capable of, so that should give them an advantage in containing him. Let's keep the win-train rolling, and get two points.
Let's go Rangers.