Standings: Blackhawks (29-21-7), Rangers (37-13-5)
NYR Leading Scorer: Marian Gaborik (27-21-48)
BOS Leading Scorer: Marian Hossa (21-33-54)
NYR Goaltender: Henrik Lundqvist (41 GS, 1.77 GAA, .941 SV%)
BOS Goaltender: Corey Crawford (38 GS, 2.99 GAA, .898 SV%)
Rangers Lines (probable):
Artem Anisimov-Derek Stepan-Marian Gaborik
Brandon Dubinsky-Brad Richards- Ryan Callahan
Carl Hagelin-Brian Boyle- Brandon Prust
Mike Rupp-John Mitchell-Stu Bickel
Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi
Michael Del Zotto-Anton Stralman
Marc Staal-Steve Eminger
The King gets the start.
Scratches/Injuries: Jeff Woywitka (healthy), Wojtek Wolski (game time decision), Ruslan Fedotenko (game time decision), Mike Sauer (concussion)
Preview: I’ve always admired the Blackhawks from afar since they are an original six team, and not in our conference. Also, just from working in sports, I will unabashedly tell you that Rocky Wirtz is one of the best owners in the business. His late-father? No so much.
The last five or so years the B’hawks have been producing some of the most entertaining hockey post-lockout. Being a big x’s & o’s guy, obviously I heart Joel Quenneville. He’s one of the best in game.
Unfortunately, following their Stanley Cup championship their roster depth was gutted and the effects of which have finally made its impact.
Their goaltending is not good. Corey Crawford is horrendous. He’s been absurdly aggressive of late and opponents have been scoring some really easy goals from wraparounds and perimeter shots. Journeyman, Ray Emery is better, but far from great.
After their top 6 their talent nosedives off a cliff. They can’t shutdown anyone. Throughout their losing streak they’ve been giving up way too many odd man rushes and defending the forecheck is not a strength.
With that said, their top 6 is still deadly in the offensive zone. Those guys are fantastic cyclers, great on transition rushes, and their passing is among the league elite.
East/West hockey vs. North/South hockey tonight. It should be a good one.
Crazy Thought: Brad Richie Leads Us To A Blowout Victory!
Opponent’s Blog: Third Man In
Game time is 7:00pm on MSG (listings), AM1050, and XM215.