It’s about time.
After weeks of speculation, the Rangers announced that captain Ryan McDonagh will not travel with the team due to an abdominal strain.
An unsteady season had many wondering what was wrong with the Rangers’ captain.
With several maintenance days already in the books, the Blueshirts confirmed that Mac has indeed been dealing with an injury.
By no means an ideal situation, it at least gives the team some peace of mind. And the captain should be back in short order.
As for their opponents, the Hurricanes are no pushover. They may be tied for sixth-place in the Metropolitan Division but they’re only five-points back of the Division-leading Devils.
The last several time these teams have faced-off, one-goal games have ensued. Nine of 13 to be exact. Expect more of the same this time around.
DEEP ROOTED CONNECTIONS
It’s a Staal brothers reunion. Marc (Rangers) and Jordan (Hurricanes) are set to renew their sibling rivalry.
During the 2016-17 season the Rangers posted a 2-2-0 record versus Carolina. (2-0-0 at home; 0-2-0 on the road).
There are several Blueshirts players approaching career milestones:
J.T. Miller: One game away from 300 in his NHL career.
Chris Kreider: Two assists away from 100 in his NHL career.
Nick Holden: Three points away from 100 in his NHL career.
PLAYER TO WATCH
HURRICANES: JEFF SKINNER. An alternate captain for the ‘Canes, Skinner has evolved into an elite scoring threat. With 37-goals last season, and three in four games against the Blueshirts, the Rangers need to be cognizant of where he is on the ice.
RANGERS: MATS ZUCCARELLO. The Blueshirts’ response to Skinner, Zuccarello has points in 14 of 17 against Carolina. (4G, 14A in that span). For his career, Zucc has more assists and points against Carolina than any other team he’s faced.
Captain Ryan McDonagh will miss the contest with an abdominal strain. Forward lines will remain the same.
Defense pairings will be: Brady Skjei-Kevin Shattenkirk; Brendan Smith-Nick Holden; Marc Staal-Steven Kampfer.
Henrik Lundqvist will be in net.
WHERE TO WATCH
The game will be broadcast on MSG Network at 7pm ET. For in-game coverage check out our Twitter account @NYRBlueBulletin.
The Rangers had their six-game winning streak snapped in a road loss to Chicago on November 15. They would follow that up with a road loss to Columbus two nights later.
For the season, the Blueshirts are 2-5-0 on the road. This, one season after leading the NHL in road wins.
Hopefully their shutout victory over the Senators in Madison Square Garden has the team back on the right track.
Even without its’ captain the team should still have enough firepower to earn a win in enemy territory.
In advance of the team’s game in Carolina, Seth, a Brooklyn born Rangers’ fan, had this to say: “The Hurricanes are faster, with more depth this year. The Rangers need to be prepared for a track meet.”