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Rangers Return Home to Host Panthers

Lundqvist to Start for Blueshirts

by Matt Calamia @MattCalamia / NYRangers.com

After a long but successful four-game road trip, the Rangers return home Sunday night to take on the Florida Panthers at Madison Square Garden.

The Blueshirts swept the western Canadian portion of their four-game trip before dropping the finale Friday night in Columbus against the Blue Jackets, 4-2. Michael Grabner and Mika Zibanejad scored in the loss.

After a disappointing result, the Rangers practiced Saturday night and head coach Alain Vigneault shook up his lines, reuniting the Kevin Hayes line with J.T. Miller and Grabner, while moving Jimmy Vesey to a line with Zibanejad and Mats Zuccarello.

It also appears forward Josh Jooris could play Sunday after missing the last three weeks with a shoulder injury. He skated on Saturday on a line with Brandon Pirri and Jesper Fast.

Missing from practice was forward Pavel Buchnevich, who continues to be sidelined with back spasms. Vigneault said at this point, though, the rookie would be evaluated by doctors and that the injury could be more severe than just common back spasms.

Henrik Lundqvist will make his 14th start for New York following the frustrating loss Friday against Columbus when he allowed three goals on 23 shots. He is 22-10-1 with a 1.91 GAA and a .934 SV% with five shutouts in 33 games against the Panthers.

Nash has been the hottest Ranger against the Panthers, posting six goals in his last five games against Florida. He has 17 points in 20 games.

The Panthers visit New York after topping the Ottawa Senators, 4-1, Saturday night. They're 3-1 in their last four games, including a win over Montreal prior to a 6-1 loss against Toronto.

Florida is led up front by the surprising Jonathan Marchessault, who has nine goals and 15 points in 18 games this season. Youngsters Vincent Trocheck and Aleksander Barkov are off to strong starts with 11 and 10 points, respectively, in 18 games. The ageless Jaromir Jagr had a goal and two assists Saturday night in Ottawa and has nine points in 18 games thus far.

Former Ranger Keith Yandle has been held without a goal but has nine assists, while No. 1 overall pick Aaron Ekblad has just four assists and is a minus-7.

Backup James Reimer is expected to get the start after Roberto Luongo played Saturday night. Reimer is 2-3-1 with a 3.26 GAA and a .888 SV% in six starts in his first season in Florida.

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