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Preview: Rangers Open Homestand Against the Wild

by Michael Obernauer / NYRangers.com

WILD at RANGERS, 7 p.m.
MSG, 98.7 FM

There is one last extended stay at home for the Rangers: On Thursday night they begin a stretch in which they will play five of their next six games on Garden ice, when a Minnesota team with all kinds of struggles comes into Madison Square Garden. It comes at a rink where the Rangers have felt comfortable and earned points all season long: The Rangers are 15-9-6 at home this season, and over their last 17 home games dating to Jan. 12, they have lost in regulation only five times. The visitors on Thursday night, meanwhile, have won just one game in the last month.

"We've played well, and we want to take advantage of playing at home for sure - we've had success here, we certainly enjoy playing in front of our crowd, we've got a lot of support, and guys feel comfortable," David Quinn said following his team's morning skate on Thursday. "We've just got to continue to build on the way we've played I think over the last five weeks. I think we've played some pretty good hockey over the last five weeks and we've just got to keep moving in that direction."

Moving in to rejoin the Rangers will be Lias Andersson, called up from Hartford just hours before faceoff against the Wild. The 20-year-old, No. 7 draft pick in 2017 has played in 21 games with the Rangers already this season, most recently on Dec. 27, picking up a goal and three assists. He has 20 points (6-14-20) in 36 games covering two stints in Hartford this season.

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Pregame Notes: Rangers vs. Wild 02.21.19

by New York Rangers @NYRangers / NYRangers.com

NEW YORK RANGERS vs. MINNESOTA WILD
Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019, 7:00 p.m. ET
Madison Square Garden - New York, NY
TV: MSG Network, Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM

Rangers: 26-25-8 (60 pts)
Wild: 27-27-6 (60 pts)

THE GAME

The Rangers play their 60th game of the 2018-19 season tonight, Feb. 21, against the Minnesota Wild at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m. ET - TV: MSG Network, Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM). The Blueshirts have not faced the Wild yet this season; Minnesota is the only team New York has not played thus far in 2018-19. The Rangers have earned at least one point in nine of the last 14 games (8-5-1) and in 10 of the last 16 games (9-6-1).

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Preview: Rangers Wrap Up Road Trip at Carolina Hurricanes

by Michael Obernauer / NYRangers.com

RANGERS at HURRICANES, 7 p.m.
MSG, 98.7 FM

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Blueshirts embark on the final leg of their four-game road swing when they wrap up their season series with the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night. One convincing win and two narrow defeats in up-for-grabs games over the first three, and the Rangers' goal is "to take one more step" - that was the mantra on Henrik Lundqvist's mind as he made his preparations on Monday.

The Rangers have outscored their opponents over the first three road games of this stretch, by a combined count of 14-12, but have gone down to a pair of one-goal defeats in games they know could have tilted either way in the third period, bracketing a thorough 6-2 win in Buffalo.

"I think we've been playing really well - the games we've won, we deserved to win," Lundqvist said on Monday of the Rangers' recent play. "We haven't had a lot of games this year when we've played bad and won. Most wins we've had, I think we earned them.

"But you start with that, and you build from that - working hard, and putting in the right attitude and mindset. You start with that and the rest will come."

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Pregame Notes: Rangers at Hurricanes 02.19.19

by New York Rangers @NYRangers / NYRangers.com

NEW YORK RANGERS at CAROLINA HURRICANES
Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019, 7:00 p.m. ET
PNC Arena - Raleigh, NC
TV: MSG Network, Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM

Rangers: 25-25-8 (58 pts)
Hurricanes: 31-22-6 (68 pts)

THE GAME

The Rangers play their 59th game of the 2018-19 season and conclude a four-game road trip tonight, Feb. 19, against the Carolina Hurricanes in a Metropolitan Division matchup at PNC Arena (7:00 p.m. ET - TV: MSG Network, Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM). Including tonight's game, three of the Blueshirts' next four games are against teams in the Metropolitan Division. The Rangers have earned at least one point in eight of the last 13 games (7-5-1) and in nine of the last 15 games (8-6-1). 

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Preview: Rangers Clash With Penguins in Pittsburgh Matinee

by Michael Obernauer / NYRangers.com

RANGERS at PENGUINS, 12:30 p.m.
NBC, 98.7 FM

CRANBERRY TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- The Rangers will ride a hot hand in Alexandar Georgiev on Sunday afternoon, and coming off a convincing win in Buffalo on Friday night, it might be tempting (wise?) just to reuse the lineup card. Still, mostly in light of the unclear status of Brady Skjei for Sunday's game in Pittsburgh, there were moving parts all over the place at the Rangers' practice just outside the city limits on Saturday.

The Rangers' ultimate moving part over the past few weeks has been Brendan Smith, who has been one of the seven defensemen the Rangers have been suiting up in recent weeks and the one who has been shuttling during games between the left wing and the blue line. Smith was a forward when he played youth hockey and when David Quinn was recruiting him at Boston University, but when "you're playing against pros, the best in the world, rather than your high school buddies," Smith said on Saturday, it takes more than a little adjustment.

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Pregame Notes: Rangers at Penguins 02.17.19

by New York Rangers @NYRangers / NYRangers.com

NEW YORK RANGERS at PITTSBURGH PENGUINS
Sunday, Feb. 17, 2019, 12:30 p.m. ET
PPG Paints Arena - Pittsburgh, PA
TV: NBC, Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM

Rangers: 25-24-8 (58 pts)
Penguins: 30-21-7 (67 pts)

THE MATCHUP

The Rangers play their 58th game of the 2018-19 season and continue a four-game road trip on Sunday, Feb. 17, against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a Metropolitan Division matchup at PPG Paints Arena (12:30 p.m. ET - TV: NBC, Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM). Beginning with Sunday's game, four of the Blueshirts' next five games are against teams in the Metropolitan Division. The Rangers have earned at least one point in eight of the last 12 games (7-4-1) and in nine of the last 14 games (8-5-1).

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Preview: Rangers Go Back on the Road to Face Sabres

by Michael Obernauer / NYRangers.com

RANGERS at SABRES, 7 p.m.
MSG, 98.7 FM

Mika Zibanejad said that lately, if he sees a lane to shoot the puck, he is going to shoot the puck. When it's going like it's going for the Rangers' top center, why shouldn't he?

Zibanejad has been the NHL's hottest goal-scorer for a full month now, a torrid streak he continued with a pair of goals on Tuesday night in Winnipeg and one he believes is unlike anything he has experienced as an NHL player.

"Probably - I can't remember anything like this before in my career," Zibanejad said on Thursday. "Nice to see them go in but I'd rather them going in for a win."

Zibanejad will take it back to the road on Friday night in Buffalo as the Rangers restart their road trip following a brief return for a special event - the Blueshirts dusted off their tuxes on Wednesday for the annual Casino Night back home in Manhattan, benefitting the Garden of Dreams Foundation.

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Preview: Rangers Road Trip Gets Underway in Winnipeg

by Michael Obernauer / NYRangers.com

RANGERS at JETS, 8 p.m.
MSG, 98.7 FM

In a way, Jimmy Vesey's play during the Rangers' just-completed five-game homestand was a little like the homestand itself: deserving of better numbers but finishing with a bang.

Vesey scored the tiebreaking goal that held up as the game-winner against the Maple Leafs on Sunday night, a play his coach termed a "big-time goal" for the scorer's touch it required, and one that the Rangers are hoping will become a springboard for their 25-year-old winger. In fact, Vesey - moving up in the lineup and seeing his ice time increase in each of the five home games - played well enough during the homestand that David Quinn wondered on Monday if his winger wouldn't be kicking himself over one or two of the other chances he generated but couldn't put away.

He was. But only a little bit.

"I thought coming out of break I had a good game against Philadelphia, then slipped for a couple, but as of late I feel like I'm playing good hockey and the chances are starting to come," Vesey said on Monday following the Blueshirts' practice session in Westchester. "It was a nice feeling to get that goal (Sunday) night. But I had some other looks that I maybe should have cashed in. (Sunday) night and Carolina. And Boston."

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Pregame Notes: Rangers at Jets 02.12.19

by New York Rangers @NYRangers / NYRangers.com

NEW YORK RANGERS at WINNIPEG JETS
Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019, 8:00 p.m. ET
Bell MTS Place - Winnipeg, MB
TV: MSG Network, Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM

Rangers: 24-23-8 (56 pts)
Jets: 35-18-3 (73 pts)

THE MATCHUP

The Rangers play their 56th game of the 2018-19 season and begin a four-game road trip tonight, Feb. 12, against the Winnipeg Jets at Bell MTS Place (8:00 p.m. ET - TV: MSG Network, Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM). Tonight's game is the start of New York's second four-game road trip of the season. The Blueshirts have earned at least one point in seven of the last 10 games (6-3-1) and in eight of the last 12 games (7-4-1).

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Preview: Rangers Wrap Up Homestand Against Toronto

by Michael Obernauer / NYRangers.com

MAPLE LEAFS at RANGERS, 7 p.m.
NBCSN, 98.7 FM

SCORE GREAT SEATS! CLICK HERE

The Rangers have saved a tough test for last.

The Blueshirts wrap up their longest homestand of the season on Sunday night when the Maple Leafs come rolling into Madison Square Garden. This was a five-game Garden stay that began with a visit from Eastern Conference-leading Tampa Bay, and now finishes with a Broadway stop from Eastern Conference runners-up Toronto, which has won four in a row and is looking to match its longest winning streak this season.

Coming out of Friday night's shutout loss to Carolina, the Rangers will return to the 11-forward, seven-defensemen alignment that has become less and less of a rarity. It will be the third time in the seven games since the All-Star break that David Quinn has dressed 11 and seven.

And it means that Neal Pionk is back in action after a two-game absence. The second-year blueliner is the Rangers' leader in ice time per game at 22:14, and leads the team's defense in scoring with 20 points (5-15-20). But he was fighting a lower-body injury that he tried to play through after having to sit out four games prior to the All-Star break, and Quinn said he could see the injury and the time off still taking its toll when Pionk returned to the ice.

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