Skip to main content

Blackhawks-Rangers Preview

NHL.com @NHL

The New York Rangers' bid to get back into postseason contention has temporarily taken a hard hit.

Brendan Shanahan is not expected to be in the lineup when the Rangers welcome the Chicago Blackhawks to Madison Square Garden on Sunday afternoon.

Shanahan, who leads New York (28-25-5) with 28 goals, went down after a violent open-ice collision with Philadelphia's Mike Knuble in the third period of the Rangers' 5-3 loss on Saturday. Shanahan was removed on a stretcher and taken to a nearby hospital to determine if he suffered a concussion.

"He's alert, responsive and aware of what's going on around him, but he doesn't recall the contact," Rangers coach Tom Renney said.

The possible loss of the All-Star forward could be a blow to New York's playoff hopes. The Rangers are in 11th place in the Eastern Conference, but within striking distance of the eighth and final postseason spot.

Shanahan also has an eight-game point streak against the Blackhawks (22-27-9), totaling six goals and seven assists.

"It's always hard to see any of your players go down whether it's coincidental or otherwise," Renney said. "It's tough, but we're going to have to overcome that and play in the spirit of what he's all about anyway. Hopefully he won't be out too long."

With their next regulation loss, the Rangers will match their total from last season, when they made the playoffs for the first time since 1997.

Jaromir Jagr had an assist Saturday, giving him two goals and six assists in a five-game point streak. Jagr, who had a six-game run to open the season, leads New York with 71 points.

Shanahan wasn't the only Rangers player to suffer an injury Saturday. Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist left after the second period after he was struck in the left shoulder by a hard shot, but expects to start this game.

The Blackhawks begin a two-game road swing with this contest, and will try to repeat the success they had during a season-high seven-game trip earlier this month. Chicago went 4-2-1 on that trip, including victories over Northwest Division title contenders Calgary and Vancouver.

The Blackhawks, though, returned to the United Center for their first home game of the month Friday and lost 2-1 to the Canucks in a shootout. Patrick Sharp scored 5:14 into the third period to break a scoreless tie before backup goaltender Patrick Lalime allowed the tying goal to Matt Cooke just over five minutes later. Lalime was then beaten by Trevor Linden and Brendan Morrison in the shootout.

"Lalime played well. I won't hesitate to use him again," Chicago coach Denis Savard said.

Lalime had been out all season after undergoing back surgery before making 34 saves in a 3-0 win over the Canucks on Feb. 7 in his Blackhawks debut. He's 13-6-1 with a tie and a 2.67 goals-against average in his career against the Rangers.

Still, Savard will likely go with Nikolai Khabibulin in net as he's won his last two starts against New York, allowing just three goals in those contests. Khabibulin made 30 saves in a 2-1 overtime win against New York on Dec. 7, 2005, in the teams' last meeting.

Martin Havlat's seven-game point streak ended in Friday's loss to Vancouver, but he's enjoyed some of his better games this season on the road. The All-Star has a four-point game and three three-point efforts this season away from home, and has two goals and four assists in a four-game point streak against the Rangers.

Since 1993, Chicago is 6-1-0 with a tie at MSG. This is the first game between these Original Six teams in New York since the Blackhawks posted a 4-3 victory on Dec. 11, 2002.

View More