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Rangers, Wings set for rare meeting in Motown

by Eric Goodman /
RANGERS (29-22-4) at RED WINGS (31-15-6)


Last 10: New York 3-6-1; Detroit 4-5-1.

Season series: This is the first and only meeting between these Original Six clubs. The Red Wings took the lone matchup last season with a 3-1 victory at Madison Square Garden.

Big story: Both the Rangers and Red Wings will attempt to put a halt to their respective losing streaks as New York has fell in its last four straight, while Detroit hopes to avoid dropping its third in a row. The Blueshirts have also struggled recently against the Wings with their last overall win coming on Oct. 25, 2003 and the last victory at Joe Louis Arena happening back on Jan. 30, 1999.

Team Scope:

Rangers: New York continues its three-game road trip after getting shut out 2-0 at Montreal on Saturday afternoon. It will also hope to improve upon its fourth-best 17-10-1 road record. However, the power play will need to click if the Rangers want to take down the Wings as New York was 0-for-4 at Montreal and is 23rd in the NHL with a season total of 15.7% of penalties killed.

The Blueshirts failure to capitalize with the man advantage is something that is beginning to weigh on head coach John Tortorella.

"I am really frustrated with a few of our guys on that power play," Tortorella told the team's web site on Saturday. "We just have to find a way to get that figured out. We struggle at the point. We just don’t have a legitimate quarterback on the power play."

Red Wings: Shut out in its last two games and losers of four of its last six home games, Detroit definitely has some room for improvement. But despite their recent road blocks, the Wings are firmly situated in the thick of the playoff race at second place in the Western Conference with 68 points through 52 games.

The Wings had a tough time at Nashville on Saturday as they were shut out 3-0 and only registered seven of their 35 shots on goal while on the power play.

"If you look at the specialty teams, they won the battle," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said following the game. "I thought their penalty killing was outstanding. They put a lot of pressure on us and they got good goaltending."

Who's hot:  While starting goalie Henrik Lundqvist is expected back in the crease on Monday for New York, his backup Martin Biron has been solid recently with a 1.20 goals-against average in his last five appearances...The Wings don't truly have a hot player since they've lost their last two games by a combined score of 6-0, but forward Johan Franzen tallied five goals the last time any Wings player put the puck in the net in a 7-5 win at Ottawa on Feb. 2.

Injury report: Forward Erik Christensen returned from a knee injury on Saturday, so the Rangers expect to only be without forward Ruslan Fedotenko who remains sidelined with shoulder and appendix injuries...The Wings might get forwards Pavel Datsyuk (wrist) and Tomas Holmstrom (hand) back for Monday, but forward Jan Mursak left Saturday's game with an undisclosed injury and did not return. Goalie Chris Osgood (sports hernia), defenseman Brad Stuart (jaw) and forward Mike Modano (wrist) remain on injured reserve.

Stat pack: The Rangers have been solid against Original Six teams, posting a 43-24-12 record since the 2005-06 season. However, the Blueshirts are 0-3-1 against Detroit over that span.

Puck drop: Tortorella continues to be pleased with the Rangers' all-out effort from game to game, but was also a bit frustrated when addressing reporters following Saturday's loss at Montreal.

"These past four games, as much as we can say we did this well, we did that well, we haven’t won. And we have to find a way to make a big play at a key time to change the momentum or to score a goal in order to win a hockey game,” said Tortorella.
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