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Rangers Bring Win Streak to Chicago to Face Blackhawks

by Matt Calamia @MattCalamia /

Rangers (9-7-2, 20 pts) at Blackhawks (8-8-2, 18 pts)
8 pm, United Center

The Game

The Rangers bring their six-game winning streak into Chicago to face the Blackhawks Wednesday night at the United Center for the first and only time this season.

The Blueshirts are coming off a 4-2 victory Saturday afternoon against the Oilers at The Garden. Rick Nash scored twice while Pavel Buchnevich and Michael Grabner had goals of their own. Henrik Lundqvist made 27 saves to earn his - and the team's - sixth consecutive victory.

No changes are expected to the Rangers' lineup, and Lundqvist is slated to start his seventh straight game.

New York's power play has been red-hot during this current winning streak, operating at 42.1 percent (8-for-19), while the penalty kill has been even more effective at 92.9 percent (13-for-14). 

Chicago enters tonight's game with one win in its last three games, including a 7-5 defeat Sunday against the New Jersey Devils.

Patrick Kane is again leading the way offensively with 17 points in 18 games, while rookie Alex DeBrincat has 11 through his first 18 NHL contests.

Goaltender Corey Crawford is off to a great start despite the lack of results. He's 7-7-0 but has a .932 SV% and a 2.21 GAA with a pair of shutouts.

The Blackhawks are currently out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference, four points behind Nashville for third in the competitive Central Division and two points behind Vancouver for the second Wild Card spot.

Players to Watch

After a slow start offensively, Nash has been heating up for the Rangers over the last few weeks with five goals in his last seven games, including three in his last two. Nash enters tonight's game with 25 goals, 27 assists and 52 points in 60 career games against the Blackhawks. His assists and points against Chicago are the most against any opponent in the NHL.

DeBrincat comes into tonight's game tied for fourth in scoring among rookies this season and has five goals and two assists in his last seven games. The 19-year-old had a historic Ontario Hockey League career with three consecutive 100-plus point seasons, including a 65-goal, 62-assist and 127-point year last season with the Erie Otters.

Say What?

"When you're having success on the power play, it will drive the rest of your game." - Kevin Shattenkirk

Rangers Projected Lineup

Chris Kreider - Mika Zibanejad - Pavel Buchnevich
Rick Nash - Kevin Hayes - Mats Zuccarello
Jimmy Vesey - David Desharnais - J.T. Miller
Michael Grabner - Boo Nieves - Jesper Fast

Ryan McDonagh - Nick Holden
Brady Skjei - Kevin Shattenkirk
Marc Staal - Steven Kampfer

Henrik Lundqvist

Inside the Numbers

Each of the last nine meetings between the Rangers and Blackhawks in Chicago have been decided by one goal or fewer (dating back to Nov. 16, 2003), and six of the nine games were decided in overtime. 

Since Dec. 11, 2002, 15 of 18 overall games between the Rangers and Blackhawks have been decided by one goal or fewer, and all 18 games have been decided by two goals or fewer. Since Nov. 16, 1995, 28 of 30 meetings between New York and Chicago have been decided by two or fewer goals.

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