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Rangers Head to Joe Louis Arena For Final Time

by Matt Calamia @MattCalamia / NYRangers.com

DETROIT -- The Rangers close out their four-game road trip with their final visit to Joe Louis Arena to take on the Detroit Red Wings at 7 pm.

New York had their five-game road winning streak snapped Thursday night in Carolina in a 4-3 loss to the Hurricanes. Mika Zibanejad had a pair of goals and the Rangers had three power play tallies, but Sebastian Aho's pair of goals in the third period tilted the outcome in the home team's advantage.

 

Antti Raanta will get the start for the Blueshirts in net following the news that Henrik Lundqvist will be sidelined for up to three weeks with a hip injury he suffered Tuesday in Florida. Raanta has just one game to his name against the Red Wings but it was a good one when he made 33 shots in a win on April 9, 2016.

While the news of Lundqvist's injury is a blow, reinforcements up front are on the way for the Rangers as Rick Nash and Michael Grabner are both expected to play Sunday. Nash missed Thursday's loss with an upper-body injury, while Grabner - the team's leading scorer with 26 goals - has been out for five games with a hip injury of his own.

Nash's return comes against an opponent he's had success against throughout his career. IN fact, Nash has played in more games (64) and scored more goals (27) against Detroit than any other team in his career.

Sunday's game marks the return to Detroit for defenseman Brendan Smith, who played parts of six seasons with the Wings before he was sent to New York on Feb. 28. 

The Rangers and Red Wings have split the first two games of their three-game season series, with the road team winning both contests. The Rangers left the Joe Louis Arena with a 1-0 overtime win on Jan. 22, with J.T. Miller scoring the lone goal.

The Red Wings look likely to miss the postseason for the first time since 1990, as they currently sit second from the bottom in the Eastern Conference with just 63 points. 

With that said, Detroit is coming off an impressive 4-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks Thursday night. Tomas Tatar scored twice and added an assist, while Gustav Nyquist had three assists. Jimmy Howard made 24 saves in the victory.

Howard, though, will not be in net Sunday for the Wings, as Petr Mrazek will get the call. He's 15-18-7 with a 2.99 GAA and a .901 SV% with one shutout this season. 

Detroit has struggled to score this season, evidenced by just two players - Tatar and Andreas Athanasiou - with 15 or more goals. Henrik Zetterberg leads the team with 55 points, with Nyquist second on the team with 34 points. Second-year forward Dylan Larkin has struggled with just 23 points, a season after scoring 45 as a rookie.

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