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Rangers Look for Back-to-Back Wins Against Blues at The Garden

by Matt Calamia @MattCalamia /

Rangers (1-2-0, 2 pts) vs Blues (3-0-0, 6 pts)
7 pm, MSG Network; ESPN 98.7 FM

The Game

Fresh off their first victory of the season Sunday, the Rangers welcome in the undefeated St. Louis Blues to Madison Square Garden tonight.

The Rangers blanked the Montreal Canadiens, 2-0, on Sunday behind 34 saves by Henrik Lundqvist. Mika Zibanejad remained red-hot with his fourth goal in three games, while Brady Skjei added his first of the season, which held up to be the game-winner in the first period.

With a day off on Monday, there was no update to whether Alain Vigneault would stick with his unorthodox lineup from Sunday night, when he dressed seven defensemen and 11 forwards. That lineup did not include either Brendan Smith or rookie Filip Chytil.

Also unknown is who will be between the pipes for New York at gametime. Lundqvist was scheduled to have Sunday off to give Ondrej Pavelec his first start of the season. But a short outing by No. 30 Saturday night in Toronto changed those plans.

The Rangers made a roster move on Monday, claiming forward Adam Cracknell off waivers from Dallas. The 32-year-old had 10 goals and 16 points last season for the Stars.

St. Louis comes into The Garden off a 3-2 shootout victory over the Islanders Monday afternoon in Brooklyn. 

The Blues find themselves atop the standings in the Western Conference, while their 12 goals in three games is currently second-most in the West. That success is in spite of a plethora of injuries to key components, including Alexander Steen, Jay Bouwmeester and Robby Fabbri.

Players to Watch

Zibanejad is off to one of the best starts to his career, with four goals through three games, good enough to be in the top-five in goals in the NHL at the time of writing. In fact, Zibanejad's line with Chris Kreider and Pavel Buchnevich is cooking, with Kreider having three assists and Buchnevich with a pair.

Vladimir Tarasenko scored both of St. Louis' regulation goals on Monday afternoon. The 25-year-old picked up right where he left off last season with three goals in three games after notching 39 tallies in 82 contests a season ago.

Say What?

"It's big. It's nice obviously. A big difference going into Tuesday 1-2 rather than 0-3. So it's always good to get the first one of the season and get that feeling in the room, especially when you've got some new guys." - Marc Staal on the Rangers picking up its first victory of the season.

Inside the Numbers

The Rangers went 21-6-1 against Western Conference opponents last season, which was the most wins by an Eastern Conference team against the West in the NHL.

New York is one of two teams that have three defensemen who have tallied a goal this season (Kevin Shattenkirk, Staal, Skjei).

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