KINGS (32-18-3) at RANGERS (31-18-5)
TV: 7 p.m. ET; NHLN, FS-W, MSG
NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers will try to win their fifth straight game and turn to backup Antti Raanta in net when they host the Los Angeles Kings at Madison Square Garden on Friday.
Raanta hasn't played since Jan. 17 when he allowed four goals on 23 shots in a 5-2 loss to the Washington Capitals. Before that, his prior start was Dec. 17 when he allowed one goal on seven shots in 13:49 before leaving the game with an injury in the first period of a 5-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild.
"It's always a little bit different," Raanta said after the morning skate. "Sometimes you can let it get in your head and you start thinking and freak out since you haven't been playing since three weeks and then you start remembering those bad things that happened in that last game and you pretty much forget that you are actually a pretty good goalie or doing the right things."
Raanta (4-4-1, 2.30 goals-against average, .909 save percentage) has struggled in his recent starts. He has not won since Nov. 15. Raanta is 3-2-0 with a 1.57 GAA and a shutout at Madison Square Garden this season and 17-2-3 with a .941 save percentage and 1.59 GAA lifetime at home.
"I feel great. I've been doing a good job in practice," Raanta said. "It's been a long time but still my only goal in this game is to help the team to win the game. If I can be myself and do those things that we have been doing in practice, I'm pretty sure we're going to have a good chance to take two points."
The Kings likely will start Peter Budaj, who was first off the ice at the morning skate, in goal. Budaj was recalled from Ontario of the American Hockey League on Thursday. He hasn't started in the NHL since April 9, 2014, and last appeared in the 2014 Eastern Conference Final against the Rangers when he was with the Montreal Canadiens.
Kings goalie Jonathan Quick will miss his second straight game after colliding with Boston Bruins forward Jimmy Hayes in a game Tuesday.
The Kings are in the midst of a season-high seven game road trip (1-1-0) and are coming off a 5-2 loss to the New York Islanders on Thursday; they are 14-6-0 when coming off a loss this season.
"You live and learn a little bit," forward Dwight King said. "But I think the onus is on the players individually to prepare themselves for a hard and competitive game and bringing their skill sets to help our team get the outcome we want."
Los Angeles is 7-0-1 in the second game of back-to-backs this season.
"We've done a good job of that this season," coach Darryl Sutter said. "Back-to-backs are part of the schedule, and it's an area that we wanted to not necessarily have a better record at this year but better performances at, and we've done that."
Here are the projected lineups:
Milan Lucic - Anze Kopitar - Dustin Brown
Tanner Pearson - Jeff Carter - Tyler Toffoli
Marian Gaborik - Vincent Lecavalier - Trevor Lewis
Kyle Clifford - Jordan Nolan - Dwight King
Brayden McNabb - Drew Doughty
Jake Muzzin - Alec Martinez
Kevin Gravel - Luke Schenn
Injured: Matt Greene (upper body), Jonathan Quick (undisclosed)
Scratched: Nick Shore, Jamie McBain, Andy Andreoff
J.T. Miller - Derick Brassard - Jesper Fast
Chris Kreider - Derek Stepan - Mats Zuccarello
Oscar Lindberg - Kevin Hayes - Viktor Stalberg
Tanner Glass - Dominic Moore - Daniel Paille
Keith Yandle - Dan Girardi
Marc Staal - Kevin Klein
Dan Boyle - Dylan McIlrath
Injured: Rick Nash (bone bruise), Ryan McDonagh (concussion)
Status report: Sutter didn't say if there will be any lineup changes. … Nash will miss his ninth straight game. McDonagh will miss his third straight game and Vigneault said he is considered day-to-day.
Who's hot: Lucic has two goals and two assists in two games. … Kopitar has seven assists in six games. … Miller has nine goals in 11 games. … Brassard has three goals and nine points in six games.