It may be the fourth game of the season, but there may be a playoff-like atmosphere for Wednesday night’s event at Madison Square Garden.
It will be nationally televised, the weather outside is expected to be in the mid-80’s, and it will feature two teams who have made regular playoff appearances over recent times, as the New York Rangers will face off against the Detroit Red Wings (8:00 PM, NBCSN).
The Rangers enter with a 2-1-0 mark, with both victories coming at MSG. The more recent came on Monday night, as the Rangers took a 7-4 decision from the defending Western Conference champion San Jose Sharks. Four Rangers tallied multiple points, with Mats Zuccarello leading the way with a 3 (1 goal, 2 assists). Chris Krieder was one of three others with a couple points each, earning the title of the only player in the NHL to score multiple points in his first three games of the season. He is the first Ranger to accomplish the feat since the opening games of the 1990-91 season, when Bernie Nicholls did it. Mike McEwen is the other Ranger who accomplished that feat, doing so in 1978.
Ryan McDonagh and Derek Stepan were the other two multi-scorers for the Rangers, nabbing a couple assists each to get on the scoresheet for the first time this season.
The Red Wings enter with a 1-2-0 mark, also victors on Monday night by earning a 5-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators in what was the final home opener at Joe Louis Arena. Mike Green tallied the first hat trick of his 12-year NHL career, with Darren Helm providing the other two scores.
This will be the first of three meetings between the Rangers and Red Wings this season, will each game being nationally televised. The Rangers were 2-0-1 against the Red Wings last season, the last game coming on the final day of the regular season last year at MSG. The Rangers won 3-2, with goals coming from Dan Boyle, Kevin Hayes, and Oscar Lindberg. Detroit, who got goals from Riley Sheahan and Justin Abdelkader, nonetheless clinched their 25th consecutive playoff berth via Boston’s loss that same afternoon. The Rangers have a somewhat similar streak, but still have a long way to go, having gone to the playoffs in 10 of the past 11 seasons. The Rangers won the other matchup at MSG 1-0 in overtime, the lone goal coming from Kevin Klein.
The two teams will meet again in Detroit on January 22.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490