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Preview: Ducks, Rangers Open Season Series at MSG

by Kyle Shohara @kyleshohara /

The Ducks (28-16-10, 66 points) hit the halfway point of a six-game road trip tonight when they take on the New York Rangers (33-18-1, 67 points) at Madison Square Garden (4 p.m. PT, Prime Ticket/AM 830). Anaheim has posted an 11-4-4 record since Christmas, tied for third among league leaders in standings points (26 points) and tied for fourth in wins.

Tonight's contest opens a two-game season series between the Ducks and Rangers. The Ducks have posted a 16-9-6 record vs. the Rangers, including a 7-5-4 mark at MSG. These two teams last met on March 16, 2016, a 2-1 Rangers win at Honda Center. Corey Perry owns 14 points (8g/6a) in 14 career games vs. the Blueshirts, tops among active Ducks skaters. Following tonight's game, the two clubs will complete the season set on Sunday, March 26 in Anaheim (6 p.m. PT).

Still in search of their first win of the road trip, which began with back-to-back losses against Florida (2-1 L) and Tampa Bay (3-2 SOL), the Ducks are facing a Rangers team in the midst of a four-game homestand that begin with a 4-3 victory over the Calgary Flames on Sunday. J.T. Miller (two assists) and Michael Grabner (1g/1a) led the club with two points apiece while Jesper Fast recorded the game-winning goal for the Rangers, who enter tonight's game riding a two-game winning streak.

The victory also kept them firmly locked in the first wild card spot (eight points ahead of Philadelphia) and within range of second and third place in the Metropolitan Division, currently held by Columbus (71 points) and Pittsburgh (71 points), respectively.

Anaheim's defense and goaltending will be put to the test tonight, as the Rangers rank second in the NHL in goals (175 excluding shootout goals) and average goals per game (3.37). Miller leads the Rangers in scoring this season with 40 points (16g/24a) in 52 games, while Grabner paces the club in goals (23).

The Ducks, meanwhile, enter tonight's game having allowed the fewest goals in the league since Christmas (35, shootout goals excluded) and have held opponents to two goals or less in 13 of the last 15 games (25 GA total, shootout goals excluded). In addition, Anaheim has held teams without a power-play goal in 10 of the last 12 games.

The current 14-day road trip, which will see the Ducks travel over 8,600 miles, also includes stops in Buffalo (Thursday, February 9, 4 p.m. PT), Washington (Saturday, February 11, 4:30 p.m. PT) and Minnesota (Tuesday, February 14, 5 p.m. PT).

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