Rangers strive to continue home success
The New York Rangers will go for their seventh straight win at home when they host the Detroit Red Wings at Madison Square Garden on Friday night.
The Rangers (11-9-2) have won eight of 10 overall, and during their hot streak at home, they have outscored their opponents 22-11. They will play their next four games at home.
"Right now there's no doubt that there's a fair amount of confidence in our group," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "As far as understanding our opponent, what we need to do, there's different matchups we can get at home. There's no doubt that our guys feel comfortable at home."
It's not all rosy for the Rangers, who will be without captain Ryan McDonagh for at least the next two games as he recovers from an oblique injury. The Rangers thrived without their top defenseman Wednesday as they easily handled the Hurricanes 6-1 in Carolina.
McDonagh leads the Rangers in ice time and plays a big role on both the power play and penalty kill.
"Huge void when (McDonagh's) out of the lineup," said Kevin Shattenkirk to the New York Daily News. "So it's not just one guy who has to step in there and fill the role. It's gonna be everyone. He plays so many roles on this team that each guy is gonna be asked at different points in the game to carry that."
The Red Wings (10-9-3) will be playing their third game in four days and may be doing so with extra motivation after an embarrassing 6-2 home loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday.
Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill was upset with a number of his players after the loss, including Anthony Mantha. The 23-year-old second-year player has seen his role increase in this season. He leads the team with 10 goals, but his point-less, three-shot performance did not sit well with his coach.
"With those types of minutes comes big-time responsibility," Blashill said to the Detroit News. "Anthony Mantha has to be way better, way better. It's not OK to just be a passenger when you're given the opportunity to be an impact player. He's not alone. But certainly he's a guy who I said at the beginning of the year that for us to be great, he has to be great, and he's gone through large stretches of being great.
"(But) he hasn't been great the last two games. It's just a matter of making sure you compete every shift. Any young player has to learn how hard it is every night, especially when you go from being a complementary guy, a 14-minute guys and you want to move into the 19-20 minute range, it's a learning process for certain. The great ones learn it."
Goaltender Jimmy Howard has been very good this season, but he wasn't great against the Oilers. He allowed four goals on 19 shots, and in the Red Wings' past two games, both losses, he has given up eight goals on 56 shots (.857).
"Jimmy has been great for us," Blashill said to the Detroit News. "It certainly wasn't Jimmy's fault. We had no momentum and I hoped it would switch momentum."
Said Howard to the Detroit News: "It happens. It's going to happen during the course of the season. You just move forward and brush it aside."
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