New York Rangers Game Thread: Rangers Vs. Coyotes

Ain't never seen a coy-yoat survive in the big city, have you?

Five for Howling | New York Rangers schedule | NHL Standings

What a road trip that was huh? Almost makes you wish this game was being played in Phoenix. Unfortunately for the Rangers it is not. Why do I say unfortunately? Because the Rangers record at home this season is 16-16-4, which is the worst home record of any team in the Eastern Conference that is currently projected to make appear in the 2014 NHL Playoffs. The time for the Rangers to start winning at home had better start tonight because of the nine games remaining four of them are on the Garden ice and, as we all know, every game matters at this time of the year. It would also be nice to show some improved play at home because, y'know, home playoff games are more or less must-wins.

The Coyotes are coming off of a loss but are 7-3-0 in their last ten games. The Rangers are 6-3-1 in their last ten games thanks to a three game winning streak that they are carrying into tonight's game. The Coyotes have enjoyed some solid play from goaltender Mike Smith since early February. Smith looked out of sorts early in the season but has returned to form of late and the Coyotes will be riding him into his twelfth straight start tonight. Phoenix needs these points just as badly as the Rangers do so expect both teams to play some hungry hockey tonight.

Mike's Player to Watch: Hank

How good has Henrik Lundqvist been lately? Outside of the Rangers crazy 8-4 win over Ottawa Hank has been rock solid in net and has pitched two shutouts and two one-goal games since March 9th. As Evan Sporer wrote this morning, Hank is the key to the Rangers success this season and in the 2014 NHL Playoffs and right now we have a red hot Henrik Lundqvist in the crease. The Rangers are riding a three game winning streak into tonight's game against the 'Yotes and we all know what kind of hockey Phoenix plays. It will likely be a low-scoring affair so the Rangers are going to need Hank to be Hank tonight at the Garden.