By: David Kolb
CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS (18-8-4) @ NEW YORK RANGERS (20-9-1)
Live Game Coverage Begins at 6:30 PM on MSG2
LOOKING FOR FOUR-IN-A-ROW
Tonight the Rangers carry a three-game winning streak into an Original Six matchup at Madison Square Garden, as they faceoff against the Chicago Blackhawks for the second time in five days. Sunday against the Devils, Antti Raanta became the first Rangers goalie since Mike Dunham (2003) to record shutouts in consecutive games as the Blueshirts defeated the Devils 5-0.
BREAKOUT SEASON FOR KREIDER CONTINUES
Rangers winger Chris Kreider notched a goal and an assist in the win over the New Jersey on Sunday. Kreider has been fantastic in December, lighting the lamp four times while gaining three assists in his past seven games. Despite missing some matches, Kreider has 20 points in 24 contests this year and is zeroed in on eclipsing his career-high of 46 points.
The Blackhawks have been hampered by some key injuries, but Jonathan Toews and Brent Seabrook are expected to return to the lineup tonight. Goalie Corey Crawford remains sidelined with a long-term injury. Although their lineup is depleted, the Hawks can still score and win, already tallying 81 goals this season and have taken five out of a possible six points over their past three games.
STEPAN STREAK TO THREE
Center Derek Stepan has tallied an assist for in his third straight game and now has a goal and five assists entering tonight’s game against the Blackhawks. No. 21 has been red-hot in December, tallying a goal with six assists in six games and is an impressive plus-5 in six games played.
DARLING OF A GOALIE
Goalie Scott Darling has started all five games for the Blackhawks since Crawford had an appendectomy earlier this month. He enters tonight’s tilt with a 2-2-1 record during this span and is now 6-2-2 overall. This year the netminder holds a 2.12 goals against average and a .929 save percentage.