Close your eyes and pretend to go back in time. Back to a time and place, when hockey was a simpler game.
I take you back to the Fall of 1926.
The NHL was entering its’ 10th season, and three new franchises were born. The Chicago Black Hawks, New York Rangers and Detroit Cougars, joined the existing seven franchises to make the NHL a 10-team league.
These three teams were placed in the American Division and the Rangers finished first; Chicago second and Detroit third.
91-years later the Rangers and Red Wings (formerly the Cougars) are set to collide for the first time this season.
The first of three meetings, the home team has been victorious more than 50 percent of the time that these teams have faced off.
With only one point separating these teams in the Eastern Conference playoff picture, this should be an exciting matchup.
Hopefully neither side has a Turkey Day hangover.
DEEP ROOTED CONNECTIONS
Defenseman Brendan Smith played parts of his first six-seasons with the Red Wings (2011-12 – 2016-17). The Rangers acquired him from Detroit prior to last season’s trade deadline on February 28, 2017.
Michael Grabner and Frans Nielsen played with the Islanders for five seasons (2010-2015).
Henrik Lundqvist, Henrik Zetterberg, Gustav Nyquist, Jonathan Ericsson and Niklas Kronwall have all represented Sweden at the Winter Olympics.
The Rangers have won six-straight on home ice, and their last two consecutive games overall.
Chris Kreider: Two assists away from 100 in the NHL.
Nick Holden: Two points shy of 100 in his NHL career.
PLAYER TO WATCH
RED WINGS: DYLAN LARKIN. This third-year center has seen his career rebound this season.
Larkin followed up an impressive rookie campaign by taking a major step back last season. His goal total fell from 23 to 17. And his points totals also took a hit, 45 to 32. Perhaps most glaring, was his regression in plus/minus rating. As a rookie Larkin was a plus-11. Then he slipped to a minus-28 last season.
This season, Larkin has 20-points heading into the matchup and is a plus-one. Larkin has also eclipsed his assists total from last year — 16 to 15. All this in only 22 games.
RANGERS: RICK NASH. Nash is a veteran and has been in the league longer than every one of his teammates. As such, he’s likely to have some impressive stats against every NHL team. His 27-goals in 65 career games represent the highest totals of his career against any opponent.
A win’s a win and Alain Vigneault hates to make lineup changes after a victory.
Ryan McDonagh will remain out with an abdominal strain — he’ll be reevaluated Sunday. And Henrik Lundqvist is expected to start between the pipes.
WHERE TO WATCH
The game will be broadcast on MSG 2 at 7pm ET. For in-game coverage check out our Twitter account @NYRBlueBulletin.
The Blueshirts are 2-3-0 in Original Six match-ups this season — alternating losses and wins. If the pattern holds, they’re due for a win.
In advance of the team’s game against the Red Wings, Mandi, a Brooklyn born Rangers’ fan, had this to say: “The Red Wings and Rangers play similar games — speed and skill. And the Blueshirts need to be prepared for a mirror-image game.”