Jan 17, 2012, 8:24 AM EDT
The New York Rangers have been the talk of the league thanks to taking the lead in the NHL points race and sitting atop the Eastern Conference. The Rangers will have their hands full in dealing with a streaking Nashville Predators team (7:30 p.m. ET) that rolls into Madison Square Garden winners of five in a row.
Nashville’s winning streak has seen them pile up goals as well as seeing Pekka Rinne be unbeatable in goal. With 19 goals in their last five, the Preds are finding ways to uncharacteristically light teams up. Sergei Kostitsyn, Martin Erat, and Patric Hornqvist have been leading the charge filling the net while defensemen Shea Weber and Ryan Ellis have helped do the same.
One issue for the Preds is Ryan Suter‘s health. Suter was a surprise starter in their win over the Islanders yesterday but was re-injured and is questionable for tonight’s game. Rinne got the win in yesterday’s game so we might see backup Anders Lindback in goal tonight. (Update 12:01 p.m.: Yes, Lindback gets the start)
The Rangers come into tonight’s game having cooled off a little bit since the Winter Classic. Their tour through Canada’s eastern teams saw them lose a tight one to Ottawa and get run out of the Bell Centre by the Canadiens only managing a win over the Leafs.
A nagging injury to Brandon Dubinsky has seen Wojtek Wolski land back in the starting lineup but coach John Tortorella’s tweaks have all mostly worked out this season. At least the Rangers’ defense has its best player back in Marc Staal to help Henrik Lundqvist out. Dan Girardi and Michael Del Zotto haven’t been too bad either and Del Zotto wants to do more.
They’ll all need to be tough against the grinding and skilled Preds.
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