It may be the start of a new NHL season, but as the anything but blues band Semisonic once said, every new beginning is some other beginning’s end.
The New York Rangers will experience that tonight, as they will play the final of two games against the St. Louis Blues at Madison Square Garden (7:00, MSG+).
The Rangers concluded October with a 6-3-0 mark, good for second place in the Metropolitan Division’s early proceedings. They ended the month on a good note, haunting the Tampa Bay Lightning on the night before Halloween with a 6-1 victory at the Garden. Michael Grabner tallied half of the Rangers goals to score his first hat trick since 2011 as a member of the Islanders. The goals allowed Grabner to tie for the team lead with five, sharing the mark with Jimmy Vesey, who also scored in the eventful evening. JT Miller and Rick Nash provided further insurance while Antti Raanta made 31 saves.
The Blues, meanwhile, also ended October with 12 points, their last game coming on Saturday night, a 1-0 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Jayden Schwartz broke the scoreless deadlock early in the third period, and Jake Allen stopped 27 shots for the Blues’ first shutout victory of the season. The win ended a two game winless streak for the Blues, whose dozen points currently rank them second in the Central Division.
The first meeting between the Rangers and Blues went down on October 15, a 3-2 St. Louis win. The Blues, behind goals by Vladimir Tarasenko, Paul Stasny and Alex Pietrangelo, earned the victory despite not putting a shot on net in the final period, while the Rangers put up 15. However, the Rangers were unable to get any of those final 15 past Carter Hutton, who made 33 saves. The Rangers got goals from Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad, the former of whom is set to return tonight after missing the past five games with back spasms. The Rangers took last year’s MSG matchup 6-3, with Mats Zuccarello tallying three points.
Be sure to tune into blueshirtsnation.com for postgame coverage!