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Rangers Visit Wings in Detroit

by Matt Calamia @MattCalamia /

The Rangers begin a back-to-back set Sunday afternoon in Detroit against the Red Wings.

The Blueshirts are coming off an impressive 5-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs Thursday night. Michael Grabner scored twice against his former team while Henrik Lundqvist made 23 saves for the victory. Brady Skjei, Pavel Buchnevich and J.T. Miller also had goals.

Head coach Alain Vigneault said he'd most likely be using the same lineup as he did on Thursday, although forward Matt Puempel did practice again Saturday afternoon with the team.

Lundqvist will make his third straight start Sunday afternoon against Detroit, a team he's had success against as of late. Lundqvist is 5-1-1 with a 1.26 GAA and a .956 SV% with three shutouts in his last seven appearances against the Red Wings dating back to March 21, 2012.

Rick Nash comes into Sunday's contest on a three-game point streak. He's played more games against and scored more goals against Detroit than any other team in his career.

Sunday marks the second of three meetings between the Rangers and Red Wings, and the first of two at Joe Louis Arena. The Rangers lost, 2-1, against Detroit on Oct. 19 at The Garden.

The Rangers have earned at least one point in nine of their last 11 games against the Red Wings (7-2-2-) dating back to March 21, 2012.

The Red Wings enter today's game coming off a 3-2 overtime loss to Buffalo on Friday night. Detroit is 4-3-3- in their last 10 and are currently three points behind Toronto for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference, and five behind Boston for third in the Atlantic.

Thomas Vanek leads the way offensively for the Red Wings with 31 points in 35 games, including five points in his last five games. The 36-year-old Henrik Zetterberg has enjoyed a bounce back season with the Wings, posting 31 points through 46 games, after registering 50 in 82 a season ago.

Goaltender Jimmy Howard has been on the mend with a knee injury for the past month, giving way to Petr Mrazek to take over the netminding duties on a regular basis. He's struggled as of late as his last win in a start came back on Dec. 17 against Anaheim, though he picked up a victory in relief on Wednesday against Boston. He's 10-11-5 this season with a 3.13 GAA and a .895 SV% in 27 games this year for the Wings.

Rangers (29-16-1, 59 pts) at Red Wings (20-19-7, 47 pts)

12:30 pm at Joe Louis Arena

Watch live on NBC

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