If we can all work together, I'm pretty sure we can collectively convince everyone else that Tuesday night didn't happen. I mean, nobody was there to see it, right? ::sigh::
Well, if you're looking for a place to rebound, there are few places better than Madison Square Garden. According to the Yahoo preview, the Blues have not lost in regulation at MSG in 16 years. The 1997-1998 season was the first full season for Coach Quenneville, and the last one for Brett Hull. The Blues led the league in scoring, and swept the Kings in the first round of the playoffs. The playoff leader in goals was ... Jim Campbell? Those were heady days at the end of the century.
The New York Rangers started off the season poorly, losing 7 of their first 10 games. They were the first to discover that the Western Conference was a road to ruin. Now, just past the midpoint, the Rangers have 27-22-3 record and are 2nd in the Meh-tropolitan division. They are 7-2-1 in their past 10 games, and are looking to bounce back themselves, having lost a tough one to the Islanders. On Tuesday night, the Rangers got up 2-0 early, but eventually gave up 4 straight goals to lose 5-3.
Tonight's game will be the first one since the Rangers completed a trade with our friends the Perds. Darth Sather acquired Kevin Klein from Nashville in exchange for Michael Del Zotto. The Blues and Klein are well familiar with each other, and this will create some shifting of responsibilities among the NY defensive corps. The Puck Father had a good summary here, but I'm curious to see if the Rangers will suffer some defensive lapses while players adjust to the new teammate and new roles. I'd like to see the Blues take advantage of that, if they can. Alain Vigneault is no pinhead, though, so I'm sure they'll be well-prepared.
The Rangers are led in overall points by Brad Richards, with 13 goals and 25 assists for 38 points. Mats Zuccarello also has 13 goals, but 22 assists for 35 points. The remainder of the top 5 would be Derek Stepan (9g, 23a), Chris Kreider (13g, 17a), and Ryan McDonagh (7g, 21a). Our old friend (and Canadian Olympian, I add, for no particular reason) Rick Nash only has 25 points, but that includes a team-leading 16 goals.
The Rangers have been missing starting goaltender Henrik Lundqvist due to the flu, although he is expected to be ready to play tonight. He comes into the game with a 17-17-3 record and a 2.54 GAA / .915 SV%. That is considered a down year for him, and some have even speculated that he's been hit hardest with the new rules regarding the size of goalie equipment. If for some reason he's not ready to go, the backup would be Cam Talbot. One of the best stories of the first half of the season, Cam has posted a 10-4-0 record and a 1.78 GAA and .935 SV% stat line. Either way, I believe they'll find that the Blues are too tough to die.
Final Verse: An early game, once again. Tonight, the opening faceoff is at 6:00 PM St Louis time. The TV broadcast is on Fox Sports Midwest, and the radio call will be on KMOX 1120 AM. The GDT should drop shortly before the puck does. Until that time, consider this your pregame warmup. Gather here, relive Oshie hits on Nash, ConkBlock's shutout of the Rangers, and tally up the money Sather has wasted on players over the years. Also, who wouldn't want Henrik Lundqvist at their home?