Open Game Thread: Rangers vs. Flames
The Rangers look to end four-game losing streak when the Flames New York.
The New York Rangers (25-24-5, 55 points) face-off against the Calgary Flames (28-18-8, 64 points) tonight at Madison Square Garden.
Warmup:— Justin Tasch (@J_Tasch) February 9, 2018
The Rangers have been in a downward spiral and are looking to end their four-game skid tonight. They're currently three points out of the second wild card seed, but are last in the Metropolitan Division. The Flames are in second place in the Pacific Division and are on a three game win-streak.
The Blueshirts have added to their list of injured players, that already includes Marc Staal (placed on injured reserve today), Jimmy Vesey, Pavel Buchnevich, Kevin Shattenkirk, and Chris Kreider, when it was announced that captain Ryan McDonagh will be out tonight, as well as their next two games, with an upper-body injury. He's been battling this injury, according to coach Alain Vigneault, since their 6-5 win in San Jose two weeks ago.
McDonagh isn't the only mainstay out of the lineup, as Brendan Smith was waived yesterday. Smith cleared waivers and was assigned to Hartford. In the meantime, Neal Pionk was recalled and will make his NHL debut. To replace McDonagh, John Gilmour was recalled today, and will debut as well.
Ondrej Pavelec is the confirmed starter for the Rangers. He's earned a 4-7-1 record this season, as well as a 0.911 save percentage and 2.89 5-on-5 goals saved above average. Mike Smith will be between the pipes for the Flames tonight; he's 22-15-6 this season with a 0.922 save percentage and 11.58 5-on-5 GSAA.
It's the Rangers' first game since management announced a change in direction for this franchise, as they are focusing on rebuilding this team into a Stanley Cup contender.