One solid contributor for the New York Rangers, Antti Raanta, will be missing for the next 7-10 days. However, another one will be coming back, at a time the Rangers could use all the help they can get.
Mika Zibanejad will return to the Rangers lineup for the first time since suffering a devastating broken fibula injury on November 20 tonight, as the Rangers complete their season set with the Dallas Stars (7 PM, MSG).
The Rangers (28-15-1) have not lost more than two regulation games in a row at any point this season, and they’ll look to keep that trend going tonight after they dropped a weekend pair, including Saturday night’s 5-4 defeat to the Montreal Canadiens. Raanta started the game, going a shutout first period, before leaving due to a lower body injury. Brandon Pirri, Rick Nash, JT Miller and Derek Stepan each had goals, but it wasn’t enough for the Rangers, who saw Montreal overcome multiple deficits in their victory. It’s just the second time all season the Rangers have fallen in consecutive regulation games, having also dropped a 4-2 decision to Toronto on Friday night.
Meanwhile, the Stars (18-19-8) will be playing the second half of a back-to-back set, having dropped a Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday showdown 4-1 to the Buffalo Sabres yesterday. Radek Faksa’s first period goal was the lone Dallas tally.
The Rangers are looking sweep the season series for the second consecutive season, having taken the first game by a 2-0 margin on December 15. Lundqvist, briefly leaving the game due to a cheap shot by Cody Eakin while he played the puck behind the Rangers’ net, and Raanta shared a shutout, the first time in the Rangers’ 90-year history such a feat was accomplished, with Lundqvist making 27 saves. Nash’s shorthanded score put the Rangers ahead for good in the middle stages of the third period, while Mats Zuccarello added an empty netter in the penultimate minute of the game.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490