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Open Game Thread: Kings vs Rangers

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After handing the Ottawa Senators their second win in their last fourteen games, the Rangers are back in action tonight as they welcome the Los Angeles Kings into Madison Square Garden. These two teams know each other well, having met in the 2014 Stanley Cup Finals, where the Kings bested the Rangers in five games.

After missing the playoffs two of the last three seasons and having won zero playoff series since beating the Rangers, the Kings have been one of the league's hottest teams through two months, sporting a 20-9-3 record that has them on track to comfortably make the playoffs and win the Pacific Division. The Rangers remain entangled in a dogfight among their division rivals for a playoff spot, whether it be on of the division's top three spots are a Wild Card berth.

Player To Watch: Playing against a team that suits his style of play, look for Brendan Smith to make his presence known throughout tonight's contest. Smith's hard-nosed defending and take-no-prisoners attitude on the ice was rewarded with a $17,400,000 contract extension over the summer by Jeff Gorton, so look for Smith to do what he does best against a team like Los Angeles.

Enjoy the game! Or if it turns into a blowout, go watch some Mike Francesa compilations or something. Or catch up on papers you need to do but are using the Rangers to procrastinate like I usually do.