No Hollywood producer wants to see this script.
The Kings have lost six straight.
Meanwhile, the Rangers have more players injured or sick than they do wins in the last two weeks.
Talk about a snooze-fest.
Thankfully, this isn’t a movie set. It’s an NHL game.
And if there’s one thing hockey players are good at, it’s energizing a crowd.
And these two teams have a history with each other.
The last time these teams faced off was in December when the Kings visited The World’s Most Famous Arena.
That night, the hometown Rangers won a thrilling game, 4-2, and celebrated a former-player in the process.
Los Angeles sniper Marian Gaborik spent four seasons with the Blueshirts; helping the team reach the Eastern Conference Final in 2012.
With Gaborik back in town as a member of the Kings, both teams honored the Slovak-skater as he played in his 1,000th career NHL game.
Little did the Rangers plan for him to net two points in the game. But a strong showing up and down the Blueshirts’ lineup negated Gaborik’s impact.
This time around, both teams are struggling to stay in contention in their respective playoff races, and it’s going to take everything they’ve got to reverse their recent skids.
Let’s just hope the Blueshirts reverse their fortunes before the Kings.
DEEP ROOTED CONNECTIONS
Marian Gaborik has had a lengthy career. During which, he spent parts of four seasons on 7th Avenue (2009-2013). Known for his sniper like tendencies when shooting the puck, Gaborik is one of three players to have scored at least 40 goals on two separate occasions for the Rangers. The others being: Mike Gartner (three times) and Jean Ratelle (twice).
Current Kings’ President Luc Robitaille played two seasons in New York (1995-1997).
These two teams faced off in the 2013-14 Stanley Cup Final; with the Kings reigning victorious in five games.
Mats Zuccarello: The scrappy winger is closing in on more career milestones. He is six goals and five points away from 100 and 300 respectively in his NHL career.
David Desharnais: The diminutive center is three games away from 500 in his NHL career.
Rick Nash: The veteran winger is six points away from 800 in his illustrious NHL career.
PLAYER TO WATCH
KINGS: ANZE KOPITAR. One of the few Kings players actually performing well right now, Kopitar has seven points in his last seven games. While their Captain is hot, his team is not. The Kings have lost six in a row and are free-falling in the tightly-contested Pacific Division.
RANGERS: PAVEL BUCHNEVICH. The Russian-sniper is heating up with four points in his last three games. Playing alongside Mika Zibanejad and Rick Nash has awoken the slumping sophomore. Therefore, look for his scoring streak to continue as long as he’s paired with his current linemates.
The Rangers are going to be short-handed for quite a while.
Chris Kreider and Kevin Shattenkirk aren’t expected back until close to the end of the regular season.
Meanwhile, Kevin Hayes and Marc Staal are both less than 50-50 to play against the Kings. Realistically, they could be looking at a midweek return against either Anaheim or San Jose.
Making matters worse, Michael Grabner came down with the flu prior to the Blueshirts’ game against Colorado and is questionable at best to face L.A.
Expect Peter Holland, Tony DeAngelo, Daniel Catenacci and Steven Kampfer to remain in the lineup for the next few games.
And no word on whether Henrik Lundqvist or Ondrej Pavelec will start. But best guess is Pavelec gets the nod after Lundqvist played against the Avalanche.
WHERE TO WATCH
The game will be broadcast on MSG Networks at 10:30 pm ET. For in-game coverage check out our Twitter account @NYRBlueBulletin.
The Rangers need to get healthy. And they need to start consistently winning games.
Which will come first? Nobody knows. But the Blueshirts certainly hope they happen simultaneously.