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Kings back at it; critical match up against Rangers at MSG

by Alex Kinkopf / Los Angeles Kings

KINGS (35-23-14) at RANGERS (46-18-7)

4:00PM PT, TV: NBC SPORTS NETWORK; RADIO: AM 790 KABC

ON BROADWAY: Tonight marks the second and final meeting with the Rangers this season; the Kings fell to New York 4-3 on January 8 at STAPLES Center. The Rangers have won seven of their last eight games; their finishing a two-game home stand tonight, they’re coming off of a 7-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday night. The Kings are playing the second of their five-game road trip; they’re coming off of a 3-1 win over the New Jersey Devils on Monday night.

RED-HOT RANGERS: The Kings face a tougher task tonight in facing the Rangers, who are 17-3-3 in their previous 23 games. New York is 8-1-1 in their 10 games played during the month of March so far. The Rangers are the fifth-best team on home ice this season, sporting a 23-8-5 record at Madison Square Garden. New York only has one regulation loss in their previous 12 home games, going 9-1-2 in that span. Can the Kings pick up a critical win tonight at MSG?

LINEUP NOTES: The Kings held an optional morning skate today at Madison Square Garden. Martin Jones took the ice for an extended period of time along with Brayden McNabb, Jamie McBain, Andy Andreoff, and Tanner Pearson. This hints that Jonathan Quick will get the start tonight, with McNabb, McBain, and Andreoff as the healthy scratches.

GABORIK – KOPITAR – BROWN
KING – CARTER – TOFFOLI
CLIFFORD – RICHARDS – WILLIAMS
LEWIS – SHORE – NOLAN
(ANDREOFF)
---------------------
MUZZIN – DOUGHTY
REGEHR – SEKERA
MARTINEZ – GREENE
(MCBAIN – MCNABB)

RICHARDS, MARTINEZ: Mike Richards played his first game Monday night after missing 24 games when he was assigned to the AHL. In 11:41 minutes of ice time, Richards logged 15 shifts, registering one shot. Alec Martinez also returned to the lineup on Monday, playing for the first time after missing 19 games due to concussion-like symptoms. Martinez logged 16:23 minutes of ice time, registering three shots and five hits. Can the presence of Richards and Martinez help spark the Kings tonight?

GOALIE CAM: The Kings will see Cam Talbot in net tonight as Henrik Lundqvist continues to recover from an injury that has kept him out of the Rangers’ lineup since early February. Talbot was in net for the Rangers on January 8; he made 28 saves on 31 shots in the Rangers’ 4-3 win over the Kings. Talbot comes into the night with a 19-7-4 record, posting a .929 SV% and a 2.13 GAA.

PLAYOFF PICTURE: With 84 points in the standings coming into the night, the Kings find themselves outside of the Western Conference’s playoff picture. The Kings are two points behind the Calgary Flames for third-place in the Pacific Division, and four points behind the Winnipeg Jets for the second and final wild-card spot. The Kings, though, have one game in-hand on each Calgary and Winnipeg. Can the Kings maintain pace in the standings with a win tonight?

THE LAST TIME AROUND: In the Kings’ previous regular season visit to Madison Square Garden on November 17 of last season, they beat the Rangers 1-0. Tyler Toffoli scored the game’s lone goal in the opening minutes of the second period; Ben Scrivens was perfect, stopping all 37 shots he faced to earn a shutout victory.

TYLER’S TALLY

WE’RE DOING IT LIVE: Tonight's game will be broadcast live on NBS Sports Network, with coverage starting just prior to puck drop at 4:00PM PT. You can listen to our very own Daryl Evans and Nick Nickson call the game live on AM 790 KABC.

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