Rangers Look To Raise Arizona In Mini-Western Trip

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The New York Rangers already have one late Christmas gift in a trip to Glendale, AZ in the late December, where temperatures are expected to be in the mid-70’s.

They’ll hope to emerge with another, as they’ll face off with the Arizona Coyotes tonight at Gila River Arena (9 PM, MSG).

The Rangers (24-12-1) have completed their slate at Madison Square Garden for the calendar year of 2016, concluding it with a 4-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night. Derek Stepan had two goals, sandwiched by a pair scored by Nick Holden. Antti Raanta made 33 saves, and the Rangers stopped their first point-free streak of the year at two, making up a couple of multi-goal deficits of 2-0 and 3-1 in the victory.

The Coyotes (11-19-5) have not made the playoffs since the 2012 season, and appear to be getting no closer to ending that drought this season, their 27 points leading only Colorado in the overall league standings. Arizona is currently trapped in a five game losing streak, including a 3-2 loss to the Dallas Stars on Tuesday night. Ex-Ranger Anthony Duclair had one of the goals, his second of the season.

This will wrap up the yearly two game set between the Rangers and Coyotes this season, with the Rangers seeking their third consecutive season sweep of Arizona. In the meeting at Madison Square Garden on October 23, the Rangers overcame two goals by Radim Vrbata for a 3-2 victory. Dan Girardi scored the game winning goal in the third period, while JT Miller had one in the second. Ironically, the other Ranger goal was scored by Josh Jooris, who signed with Arizona on December 11, a day after being waived by the Rangers.

Henrik Lundqvist is expected to return to the lineup, but Raanta is slated to make his second consecutive start, while Lundqvist recovers from a flu-like illness.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490