NY Rangers (43-23-2) at Detroit (26-29-11)
When: Sunday, March 12th 2017
Where: Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, MI
Time: 7:05 ET | TV: NBC Sports Network
The New York Rangers finish-up their four-game road trip with a visit to fellow Original Six member the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday night. The Red Wings sit at the bottom of the Atlantic Division and are going to miss the postseason for the first time since the 1989-90 campaign. Goalie Jimmy Howard returned to make 24 saves in Friday’s 4-2 victory over Chicago – his first game since sustaining a knee injury on December 20th. Detroit’s season really took a turn after Howard went out, as backups Petr Mrazek (2.99 GAA) and Jared Coreau (3.46) couldn’t keep the puck out of the net as consistently as Howard did (1.99). The offense has clicked this season as well, ranking 26th in the league in goals scored per game (2.4) and 30th on the power play (12.4%). Captain Henrik Zetterberg (team bests of 55 points and 41 assists) recorded a pair of assists Friday for his sixth two-point effort in the last nine games and has recorded at least one point in eight games during that stretch. Rookie right-winger Anthony Mantha (14 goals, 33 points) was a healthy scratch Friday, falling into coach Jeff Blashill’s doghouse. The Red Wings will head to the Mountain Time Zone after this contest to play a back-to-back in Colorado and Arizona.
The Red Wings got their goalie back, but the Rangers have now lost theirs for at least 2-to-3 weeks. Henrik Lundqvist will miss time with a strained hip muscle, but the Rangers have a very comfortable lead in the Wild Card standings and will probably be playing the top team that comes out of the Atlantic Division which will either be Ottawa or Montreal. Antti Raanta takes over the No. 1 role in net as New York completes a four-game road trip Sunday. Raanta is 13-6-0 with a 2.32 goals-against average and .922 save percentage – better numbers than Lundqvist’s, except for wins – in 23 games (19 starts) this season and 44-21-7, 2.34, .917 in 87 career games (71 starts). New York also was without offensive stars Michael Grabner (26 goals) and Rick Nash (18) in Thursday’s 4-3 loss in Carolina. Coach Alain Vigneault said he expects Grabner, who has missed the last five games with a hip injury, and Nash (upper body) to return Sunday. J.T. Miller leads the team with 49 points but has registered only three in his last 12 games after a seven-game point streak, while Chris Kreider has contributed 26 goals, scoring in each of the last two games and three in his past four.
The Rangers will be alright with Raanta in net and should have no problem tonight in Detroit. The Wings have been poor at home this season and are 1-4 over their past five games overall. Look for New York to get the lead first and come away with an easy victory.
Pick: Rangers -120
HEAD TO HEAD
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