The Wings will play host to their old Original Six rivals, the New York Rangers, at Joe Louis Arena this afternoon on NBC. They had a seven game win-streak over the Rangers - dating back to 1999 - halted in 2003-2004, when they lost the one-game season series, 3-1 in New York on October 25th, 2003. This also is the only game between these clubs this season.
Detroit is coming off a very good win over Philadelphia
on Thursday. Neither team scored in the first period, though they traded a number of power plays, but both scored once in the second to make it 1-1 going in to the third. Then, the Wings' offense exploded, scoring five goals to give the team a 6-3 win. The newly-formed Zetterberg-Datsyuk-Shanahan line combined for 12 points and accounted for three goals in just the third period. Steve Yzerman notched his 1,050th assist on Robert Lang's goal to end the night's scoring and passed Gordie Howe for 7th all-time in assists. The game helped the Wings save some face after dropping their previous two, first to Dallas
on Sunday and then to Carolina
The Rangers are no longer the pushover they have been in recent years. They are just second in the Atlantic Division and are one of the top teams in league standings. They have won their last three games, the most recent of which was a 5-4 overtime decision over the Edmonton Oilers. The game was the last of a five-game homestand for the Rangers, who will now begin a four-game road trip today. The Ranger offense has improved from recent years and has posted a respectable 138 goals so far this season. Jaromir Jagr has returned to his old form and leads the league with 67 points. The Rangers' success can also be attributed to very good goaltending. Rookie goalie Henrik Lundqvist is fourth in the league with a 2.13 GAA (compare to Legace's: 2.11) and third in the league with a .926 save-percentage.
Manny Legace should get another start today and will hopefully have shaken off the cobwebs.
Expect a good game today. Both teams have momentum going in and have been highly competitive this year. Add in a classic Original Six rivalry and you should get a high quality matchup. The Wings need to show that Flyers-type games are their norm, not Stars-type games or even 'Canes-type. They need to shut down Jagr and solve Lundqvist and they have the tools to do both.