Well, it looks like we are finally going to see James Sheppard back on the ice... but it is for all the wrong reasons.
Mats Zuccarello won't play tonight due to what AV called "general body soreness." Fast will play on line w/Brass-Nash, Sheppard joins lineup— JOHN GIANNONE (@jaygeemsg) April 7, 2015
So, is that vague enough for you? Gotta love these injury classifications as the playoffs approach.
Tonight the Rangers will be playing to clinch the President's Trophy with a win and push their winning streak to 5 games. If the Rangers get just a point out of tonight's tilt against the Devils, they will clinch the Eastern Conference and will have earned home ice advantage up until Eastern Conference Finals. After tonight's game the Rangers have two more games on their schedule; they host the Senators at the Garden on Thursday and they will end their season on the road in Washington on Saturday. So if everything goes horribly wrong tonight, the Blueshirts still have a fantastic chance of adding some nice hardware to the trophy case before the 2015 Playoffs get underway.
Personally, I like this move by Vigneault. If a player as important as Zuccarello is banged up, why risk playing him in back-to-back games against a Devils' team that is known for taking the body? Any injury this late in the season is a very big deal, just ask Habs' fans about the injury to Max Pacioretty. As nice as it is to have the chance to clinch the conference and the President's Trophy tonight, the Rangers will get two more cracks at it before the regular season comes to a close. There's no need to put players at risk.
So, with Zuke out and Sheppard in the Rangers' lines for tonight's game are as follows.
Rick Nash - Derick Brassard - Jesper Fast
Chris Kreider - Derek Stepan - J.T. Miller
Carl Hagelin - Kevin Hayes - Martin St. Louis
Tanner Glass - Dominic Moore - James Sheppard
Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi
Marc Staal - Dan Boyle
Keith Yandle - Matt Hunwick
Cam Talbot (starting)
It's nice to see Cam Talbot get back in net for the Rangers after seeing him be awarded the Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award last night. Talbot was absolutely deserving of the honor that was given to Mats Zuccarello last season. Henrik Lundqvist is currently sitting on 29 wins this season, so he will have to wait to get his chance to hit the 30 win mark on the season until Thursday. Lundqvist's only season in his career without 30 wins was the shortened 2012-13 campaign (he had 24 wins in just 43 games). It goes without saying that Hank wants to get his 30th win in a big, bad way.
The puck drops in Newark just after 7:00 PM tonight.
Let's go Rangers. Go win this thing.