Game Preview: Rangers at Blackhawks

BY: DAVID KOLB

NEW YORK RANGERS (18-9-1) @ CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS (17-8-3)
Game coverage starts at 8 PM on MSG+

ORIGINAL SIX MATCHUP

Tonight the Rangers conclude a back-to-back set against the Chicago Blackhawks in an Original Six matchup at United Center. The contest is the first of two meetings between the Rangers and Blackhawks, and the only meeting between the two teams in Chicago, as they skate in the season series finale Dec. 13 at The Garden.

FUTURE SIGNS

This season’s breakout players did much of the damage last season when these two teams met, as J.T. Miller led the Rangers with three assists, while Kevin Hayes notched one goal and two assists in two contests.

DARLING TO START

Tonight Scott Darling will make his fourth consecutive start as starting goalie Corey Crawford recovers from an emergency appendectomy. Darling picked up the shutout win Tuesday against the Arizona Coyotes and is now 8-5-2 with a 2.39 goals-against average and .919 save percentage this season.

KREIDER ROLLING AGAIN

Chris Kreider tallied the first goal of the game Thursday in Winnipeg on a first-period power play. He now has points in four straight games (three goals, two assists) and for the season has seven goals and 11 assists for 18 points in 22 games putting him on pace for a career high in points.

HURT HAWKS

In addition to being without Crawford, the Blackhawks will also be without captain Jonathan Toews (upper body) and defenseman Brent Seabrook (upper body) tonight. Despite winning Tuesday against the Coyotes, the Hawks enter tonight’s game with a 1-2-1 record in their past four contests.