The Rangers return home tonight to take on the Detroit Red Wings for a 7 PM puck drop after a particularly brutal late-season Western Conference road trip in which the club — outscored by a 17-6 margin — when oh-for-four against the Edmonton Oilers, Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames, and Minnesota Wild respectively.
Though they’re still not mathematically eliminated from playoff contention yet thanks in part to the parity in the Eastern Conference (not to mention an abundance of loser points collected in overtime and shootout losses), the focus of the team hasn’t changed over the last handful of games. They want a win. They need it, in fact. If only to boost morale.
Perpetual losses, while great for their draft ranking, are clearly taking their toll on what’s left of this skeleton crew of players, many of whom are participating in early auditions for next season.
”Winning makes everything easier. Losing makes everything tougher,” Henirk Lundqvist told the media following the team’s 5-2 loss to the Wild last Saturday night.
”Come to practice, travel, everything. It’s draining. But there’s no other way than to go to work every day, practice, game, whatever it is and commit to our game plan, commit to your own preparation and everything that’s being a pro. We’re pushing for that and we’re going to stay committed here down the stretch,” Lundqvist continued to say of the matter.
And so, another game presents another opportunity for the Blueshirts to break out of this funk that’s cost them nine of their last 10 matches since their second-straight trade deadline liquidation sale.
Pregame updates from #NYR Coach Quinn:— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) March 19, 2019
-Gilmour and Lettieri will play tonight
-Chytil will be a game-time decision
-Brickley and Freddy will be out
At the risk of being accused of jinxing the outcome, perhaps no team is more beatable at the moment to help right the Rangers’ mental states than the Wings.
Detroit, who beat the Rangers in a shootout on March 7 to snap a lengthy losing streak of their own, are set to begin a five-game road trip that they’ll open against New York.
Currently 29th in the league, the Wings own the third-worst goal differential (minus-52) in the NHL, and have an 11-19-5 road record this season. They are coming off a 2-1 victory over the New York Islanders last Saturday night, but have lost eight of their last 10 matches.
Andreas Athanasiou leads the team in goal since the start of the month with four in eight games and is in a three-way tide with Thomas Vanek and Niklas Kronwall for the lead in points with five.
Please use this as your open thread for tonight’s game.