NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, March 18th
(All times eastern)
St. Louis Blues (32-28-9) at New York Rangers (31-30-9), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - A pair of teams trying to break into the playoff picture
in their respective conferences will meet tonight in the Big Apple as the
New York Rangers host the St. Louis Blues at Madison Square Garden.
The Rangers have 71 points and are three behind Boston for the eighth and
final postseason berth in the East. Meanwhile, St. Louis is seven points
back of Detroit for the Western Conference's last playoff berth.
Neither New York nor St. Louis helped their postseason chances on Tuesday,
as they both dropped home contests in regulation.
New York was handed a 3-1 setback by Montreal despite heading into the third
period tied with the Canadiens at 1-1. Sergei Kostitsyn's goal in the third
gave Montreal the lead for good and Tomas Plekanec added an empty-netter.
Sean Avery scored the lone goal for the Rangers, giving him three goals in
New York's last two games. Henrik Lundqvist was strong between the pipes
with 32 saves in the losing effort.
"We just have to approach every game like it is the last," said Lundqvist of
his team's playoff push.
Lundqvist, who is expected to get his 61st start of the season tonight, has
held opponents to two goals or fewer in nine of his last 11 games. He has a
6-3-2 record with a 2.36 goals against average and a .940 save percentage over
the span. The Swedish backstop was saddled with a loss in his only career
appearance against St. Louis.
Meanwhile, the Blues were dealt a loss by visiting Colorado on Tuesday as
Peter Mueller recorded two goals and an assist to lead the Avalanche to the
5-3 win at Scottrade Center.
Alexander Steen, Patrik Berglund and David Perron scored for the Blues, who
have lost two straight. Erik Johnson registered two assists, and Chris Mason
stopped only 21-of-26 shots in defeat.
Tonight marks the finale of a three-game homestand for the Rangers, who are
just 15-16-6 as the host this year. However, St. Louis has a solid 20-11-4
record as the guest.
The Rangers lost a 4-1 decision in St. Louis on January 16, giving the Blues
their sixth win in the last nine meetings in this series.
03/18 16:44:57 ET