Depleted Rangers host streaking Blues

( – The New York Rangers have struggled to pick up wins over
the St. Louis Blues in recent seasons. Playing without their captain on Monday
night won’t help either.

The Rangers bring a banged-up defensive unit into this meeting with the red-
hot St. Louis Blues at Madison Square Garden.

The Blueshirts have gone 4-1-1 over their past six games and play the third
contest of a four-game homestand tonight. They’ll do so without captain Ryan
McDonagh and fellow defenseman Kevin Klein, further depleting the club’s blue

McDonagh suffered a separated left shoulder in Saturday’s 1-0 shootout loss to
the Winnipeg Jets and is expected to miss 3-to-4 weeks. Klein also exited in
the first period on Saturday with a bruised foot and will sit out tonight.

New York already is missing free agent signee Dan Boyle due to a broken hand,
while defenseman John Moore on Saturday served the first contest of his five-
game ban for an illegal check last Monday versus Minnesota.

Thanks to 25 saves by Henrik Lundqvist and lengthy gutsy efforts by defenseman
Dan Girardi and Marc Staal, the Rangers kept the Jets off the board until the

Lundqvist, though, was beaten by Evander Kane and Blake Wheeler in the
tiebreaker, while Mats Zuccarello scored for the Rangers before Rick Nash,
Dominic Moore and Martin St. Louis were all denied by Winnipeg goaltender
Ondrej Pavelec.

“We played a real strong game,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. “(The
loss) wasn’t for lack of effort or execution. We played one of our best games
of the year.”

Girardi logged 34 minutes and 50 seconds of ice time, while Staal was credited
with 29:33 of work.

The duo could be called again heavily tonight as the Rangers try to beat the
Blues for just the third time in the past 10 meetings. They snapped a three-
game series losing streak with a 3-2 win in St. Louis on Oct. 9, but have
still lost three in a row and seven of eight at MSG in this series.

Rick Nash scored twice and assisted on Chris Kreider’s third-period tally when
the clubs opened the season against each other, while Lundqvist had 23 saves.

The Blues got 22 stops by Brian Elliott and goals from Jaden Schwartz and
Vladimir Tarasenko.

Tarasenko has six goals on the season, with five coming in the past three
games. He had a hat trick in a win over Dallas on Oct. 28, then scored twice
in Saturday’s 3-2 shootout win over the Colorado Avalanche that stretched St.
Louis’ winning streak to four straight.

Elliott made 27 saves, stopping Gabriel Landeskog, Matt Duchene and Ryan
O’Reilly in the shootout, while Joakim Lindstrom’s goal in the second round of
the tiebreaker was the winner.

Lindstrom took a shot from the slot that beat Colorado’s Semyon Varlamov
through the five hole.

“I’ve been practicing quite a bit,” Lindstrom said of being in the shootout.
“I was comfortable being in that position.”

The Blues were without T.J. Oshie (concussion) and former Avalanche center
Paul Stastny (shoulder), but captain David Backes made a quick return after
missing one game with a concussion.

St. Louis is on its longest winning streak since taking five in a row from
March 2-9 of last season.