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Preview: Rangers Return Home to Host Red Wings

by Michael Obernauer

RED WINGS at RANGERS, 7 p.m.
MSG, 98.7 FM

Of the many talents possessed by Mika Zibanejad, on Saturday night he demonstrated that he truly is a centerman who can score from anywhere.

Against the Minnesota Wild it was from deep in the corner, behind the goal line - a goal that included more smarts than meets the eye, and one that also set a new benchmark for the 25-year-old's NHL career. Zibanejad tied the score in the first period by catching Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk in slow retreat, gliding back into his crease after being unable to stop the rim-around that Zibanejad, a righty shot, reached in the right corner. He fired the puck directly at the goaltender, getting a ricochet off the goalstick and in.

"It's definitely on purpose, just maybe not that perfect a bounce," Zibanejad said on Monday. "I kind of waited for him to come back into the net but he was slow getting there. And he just kind of put his stick out there, so I figured I'd just try it out and see what happens.

"If it goes off him I figure maybe it bounces to someone else. But luckily it went in."

As David Quinn prepared his team for Tuesday night's Garden match with the Detroit Red Wings - with the Rangers on Monday calling up John Gilmour, the AHL scoring leader among defensemen, and winger Vinni Lettieri ahead of the game - the head coach reiterated that when his players have an opportunity for a shot, he wants the puck on net, and quick. But shooting from the corner?

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Pregame Notes: Rangers vs. Red Wings 03.19.18

by New York Rangers @NYRangers

NEW YORK RANGERS vs. DETROIT RED WINGS
Tuesday, Mar. 19, 2019, 7:00 p.m. ET
Madison Square Garden - New York, NY
TV: MSG Network, Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM

Rangers: 28-31-13 (69 pts)
Red Wings: 25-37-10 (60 pts)

The Rangers play their 73rd game of the 2018-19 season on Tuesday, Mar. 19, against the Detroit Red Wings in an Original Six matchup at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m. ET - TV: MSG Network, Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM). Including Tuesday's game, each of the Blueshirts' next two contests and three of their next four games are against Original Six teams.

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Preview: Rangers Face Wild in Road Trip Finale

by Michael Obernauer

RANGERS at WILD, 8 p.m.
MSG, 98.7 FM

ST. PAUL -- If Neal Pionk had played in just three fewer games last season, he would be considered a rookie this year. But if he had been called up to play in the Rangers' last 25 games of 2017-18 instead of their last 28, then Pionk would have missed out on the Rangers' visit last season to Minnesota.

The blueliner was playing just the third game of his NHL life when the Rangers traveled back to his home state last Feb. 13 to face off against the team Pionk grew up rooting for. But given that the then 22-year-old was busy living out his dream, and doing his best to get off on the right foot at the top level of his sport, how big a deal was a trip back home anyway?

"I think I was way more nervous for that game than I was for my debut," Pionk said.

Playing in front of several rows' worth of family and friends, as he may be on Saturday night, Pionk picked up his first NHL point that evening, an assist on a second-period power-play goal by Kevin Hayes.

"They had a lot of the same guys that played when I was growing up watching it," he said of the Wild, "so to get out there on the same ice against them, and that rink, was really cool. Hopefully this time I can settle the nerves a little quicker. Hopefully."

Saturday night's matchup in Minny will be, this time around, the 91st game of Pionk's NHL career, and the finale of a four-games-in-six-nights road trip for the Rangers. It concludes a back-to-back set and will face off less than 24 hours after the Rangers dropped the puck on their game with the Flames in Vancouver.

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Pregame Notes: Rangers at Wild 03.16.19

by New York Rangers @NYRangers

NEW YORK RANGERS at MINNESOTA WILD
Saturday, Mar. 16, 2019, 8:00 p.m. ET
Xcel Energy Center - St. Paul, MN
TV: MSG Network, Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM

Rangers: 28-30-13 (69 pts)
Wild: 33-30-8 (74 pts)

The Rangers play their 72nd game of the 2018-19 season, conclude a four-game road trip, and conclude a back-to-back set on Saturday, Mar. 16, against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center (8:00 p.m. ET - TV: MSG Network, Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM). New York's four-game road trip is tied for its longest of the season (the Rangers have previously had two four-game road trips in 2018-19). The Blueshirts have earned at least one point in three of the last five games, in four of the last seven games, and in seven of the last 11 contests.

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Preview: Rangers Open Back-to-Back Set in Calgary

by Michael Obernauer

RANGERS at FLAMES, 9 p.m.
MSG 2, 1050 AM

CALGARY -- Let's try this again … again.

For the second time in a shade over a week, the Rangers have had a wrongfully convicted player set free. Brendan Lemieux will be able to celebrate his 23rd birthday in the Rangers' lineup when he and the Blueshirts finish up their Pacific Division schedule with Alexandar Georgiev in the nets on Friday night at the Saddledome. Lemieux's match penalty from the second period of Wednesday's game in Vancouver is no more, with another mea culpa from the league office. And the Rangers once again can carry on as if nothing at all happened.

Except, of course, for what did happen. Lemieux came together with an off-balance Antoine Roussel of the Canucks midway through Wednesday's game, causing Roussel to go down awkwardly and injured, and convincing officials that a match penalty for Lemieux was in order. It took only a quick second look to clear Lemieux of that.

Most regrettable of anything, of course, was that Roussel came away from the incident with a knee injury that will force him out for the remainder of the season. Canucks coach Travis Green said the injury would not require surgery.

"I knew on the play - I was upset, (but) I knew I probably wasn't going to be in any trouble," Lemieux said on Friday morning following the Rangers' pregame skate. "It's a fast game; they're humans, and mistakes are made. And so I think that's kind of what happened on the play.

"It's unfortunate for our team and for me at the time, but it's part of the game and it's completely understandable. It's unfortunate even more so that he got hurt on the play as bad as he did, and you never want to see that. But it's also part of the game.

The official about-face comes only eight days after a similar swing for Mika Zibanejad, who had his game misconduct overturned after a hit in Dallas resulted in the Rangers' top center's ejection in the third period of a one-goal game. That one was the first major penalty Zibanejad had ever received in an NHL career closing in on 500 games.

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Pregame Notes: Rangers at Flames 03.15.19

by New York Rangers @NYRangers / NYRangers.com

NEW YORK RANGERS at CALGARY FLAMES
Friday, Mar. 15, 2019, 9:00 p.m. ET
Scotiabank Saddledome - Calgary, AB
TV: MSG 2, Radio: ESPN 1050 AM

Rangers: 28-29-13 (69 pts)
Flames: 43-20-7 (93 pts)

 The Rangers play their 71st game of the 2018-19 season, continue a four-game road trip, and begin a back-to-back set on Friday, Mar. 15, against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome (9:00 p.m. ET - TV: MSG 2, Radio: ESPN 1050 AM). New York's four-game road trip is tied for its longest of the season (the Rangers have previously had two four-game road trips in 2018-19). Friday's contest is the Rangers' final regular season game against a Pacific Division opponent in 2018-19. In addition, seven of New York's final 12 regular season games in 2018-19 are road games. The Blueshirts have earned at least one point in three of the last four games, in four of the last six games, and in seven of the last 10 contests.

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Preview: Rangers Continue Road Trip With Matchup Against Canucks

by Michael Obernauer

RANGERS at CANUCKS, 10 p.m.
MSG, 98.7 FM

VANCOUVER -- The Rangers are celebrating a Silver Anniversary this season, one that is close to the heart of every Ranger fan. What season-long celebration of that magical run to the 1994 Stanley Cup Championship would be complete without just one visit to Vancouver?

The Rangers and Canucks will square off on Wednesday night at Rogers Arena, returning to the city, if not the site, where the Rangers went 1-0 in the 1993-94 regular season, then 2-1 in the Stanley Cup Final, at a time when the Canucks played in their old colors at the old Pacific Coliseum.

This one between two young teams on Wednesday is game No. 2 of these Blueshirts' four-game trip; they have three games within four nights remaining, with dates still ahead in Calgary on Friday and Minnesota on Saturday.

And while the headlines in British Columbia surround the Canucks' entry-level signing of 19-year-old draft-pick defenseman Quinn Hughes on Sunday, so far on this Rangers road trip, it is their own rookies who have seized the spotlight. On Monday in Edmonton, the Rangers only padded their reputation for rallies when they erased a 2-0 deficit to take the Oilers into overtime. That pushback earned the Rangers a point for the sixth time in their last eight games.

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Pregame Notes: Rangers at Canucks 03.13.19

by New York Rangers @NYRangers

NEW YORK RANGERS at VANCOUVER CANUCKS
Wednesday, Mar. 13, 2019, 10:00 p.m. ET
Rogers Arena - Vancouver, BC

Rangers: 28-28-13 (69 pts)
Canucks: 28-32-9 (65 pts)

 The Rangers play their 70th game of the 2018-19 season and continue a four-game road trip on Wednesday, Mar. 13, against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena (10:00 p.m. ET - TV: MSG Network, Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM). New York's four-game road trip is tied for its longest of the season (the Rangers have previously had two four-game road trips in 2018-19). As part of the four-game road trip, the Rangers will play their final regular season games against Pacific Division opponents in 2018-19. In addition, eight of New York's final 13 regular season games in 2018-19 are road games. The Blueshirts enter the contest with a three-game point streak. In addition, the Rangers have earned at least one point in four of the last five games and in seven of the last nine games.

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Preview: Rangers Start Four-Game Trip in Edmonton

by Michael Obernauer

RANGERS at OILERS, 9 p.m.
MSG, 98.7 FM

Ryan Strome had a particular bounce in his step the other night, even more than usual for him, after the Rangers had defeated the Devils at Madison Square Garden. The Blueshirts were heading on the road on a high note, a come-from-behind win over a bitter rival, and Strome played an integral part both in getting that comeback started and in finishing it off.

Whether somewhere in his mind he was looking forward to the opener of this road trip, against the team he began the season with, is impossible to say. But after his second two-goal game in two weeks, Strome seemed raring to hit the road.

"It's going to be a tough road trip, it's going to be challenging, a big test for us," Strome said on Sunday as the Rangers set off for Edmonton to begin their four-game journey.

It has been four months since Strome arrived in New York, in a Nov. 16 trade with Edmonton in exchange for Ryan Spooner, whom the Oilers subsequently flipped to Vancouver to bring back Sam Gagner. Since coming to Broadway, Strome has settled in playing the center position, has taken on an elevated role in the lineup and on special teams, and ranks third on the team in goals, with 12.

His pair against the Devils on Saturday gave him 12 points (6-6--12) over his last 14 games, and he has continued to make an impression on the teammates he joined in November.

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Pregame Notes: Rangers at Oilers 03.11.19

by New York Rangers @NYRangers

NEW YORK RANGERS at EDMONTON OILERS
Monday, Mar. 11, 2019, 9:00 p.m. ET
Rogers Place - Edmonton, AB

Rangers: 28-28-12 (68 pts)
Oilers: 30-31-7 (67 pts)

The Rangers play their 69th game of the 2018-19 season and begin a four-game road trip on Monday, Mar. 11, against the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place (9:00 p.m. ET - TV: MSG Network, Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM). New York's four-game road trip is tied for its longest of the season (the Rangers have previously had two four-game road trips in 2018-19). As part of the four-game road trip, the Rangers will play their final three regular season games against Pacific Division opponents in 2018-19, as well as four of their final five games against Western Conference teams during the regular season. In addition, nine of New York's final 14 regular season games in 2018-19 are road games. The Blueshirts have earned at least one point in six of the last eight games and in 16 of the last 25 contests.

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