Banged-up Rangers host Red Wings

( – The New York Rangers will try rebound after two straight
shootout losses when they host the Detroit Red Wings in Wednesday’s Original
Six battle at Madison Square Garden.

The Blueshirts have recorded points in six of their last seven games (4-1-2),
but were recently on the losing end of shootout decisions versus Winnipeg and
St. Louis. The consecutive setbacks dropped New York to 1-0-2 on a four-game
homestand that wraps tonight.

New York is dealing with a host of injuries at the moment and the defense
has been hit especially hard. Rangers captain and top blueliner Ryan McDonagh
is out for 6-to-8 weeks after separating his shoulder over the weekend against
Winnipeg, while veteran defenseman Dan Boyle has been out since the season
opener with a broken hand. Fellow defenseman John Moore, meanwhile, has three
games left on a suspension for delivering an elbow to the head of Minnesota’s
Erik Haula on Oct. 27.

The Rangers could get help at the back end if Kevin Klein is able to return
after missing one game so far with a bruised foot. The club also is hopeful
forward Mats Zuccarello, who sat out Monday with a lower-body issue, can get
back on the ice this evening.

Blueshirts centerman Derek Stepan, who has yet to play this season after
breaking his leg in late September, has been cleared for contact but isn’t
expected to play tonight.

After losing 1-0 to the Jets on Saturday, the Rangers coughed up a third-
period lead en route to a 4-3 setback in Monday’s meeting with the Blues.
Vladimir Tarasenko scored in the third round of the shootout to give St.
Louis the win. Earlier in the contest, Tarasenko beat a handful of Rangers
defensemen and goaltender Cam Talbot with a highlight-reel goal.

Blues goaltender Brian Elliott poked-checked the puck away from Rick Nash in
the shootout prior to Tarasenko skating in and wristing the puck into the left
corner of the net past Talbot for the win. Talbot posted 31 stops in the loss.

“This is a tough one to swallow,” Nash said. “We had the lead…and we
(didn’t) get the job done.”

Martin St. Louis scored twice and Chris Kreider added a marker for the
Rangers, who led 3-2 after St. Louis’ second tally of the game with 6:43 left
in regulation.

Detroit, meanwhile, fell to 0-1-1 on a three-game road trip, losing a 3-1
decision in Ottawa on Tuesday. The Red Wings and Senators were tied at 1-1
late in the third period, but Patrick Wiercioch tallied the go-ahead goal for
Ottawa with 5:23 left in regulation and Clarke MacArthur added an empty-net
tally in the final minute.

Henrik Zetterberg provided Detroit’s lone goal and Jimmy Howard stopped 29-of-
31 shots.

“I thought they played good and we were as bad as we could be,” Red Wings head
coach Mike Babcock said.

Jonas Gustavsson will get the start in net for Detroit. The Swedish veteran is
3-4-1 with a 3.14 goals against average in his career versus the Rangers.
Gustavsson’s countryman, Henrik Lundqvist, will return to his starting role
for New York tonight and is 3-3-1 with a 2.28 GAA in seven lifetime outings
against Detroit.

The Rangers are 3-2-2 at MSG this season and have claimed their last three
home encounters with the Red Wings. Detroit, which is 2-2-2 on the road in
2014-15, has lost four straight overall in the series against its old rival.

After completing their swing tonight in NYC, the Red Wings will head home for
a four-game stay at Joe Louis Arena. Detroit’s homestand begins Friday versus
New Jersey.