The Detroit Red Wings and New York Rangers will take the ice for the first time in a long time on Friday night. The Red Wings and Rangers each had a nice bye week following the All-Star break, so they had an extended break compared to some other teams in the league. Detroit hasn’t played since January 22, while the Rangers have an extra day of rest on them, with their most recent game on January 21.
We haven’t had a full card in the NHL since the All-Star break was lifted, but Saturday will feature nearly the entire league. The Rangers are coming off a 4-2 loss against the Islanders, while the Red Wings fell 4-2 as well against the Wild. Without looking, you probably could have guessed that the Red Wings lost, though.
Detroit hopes that an extra long break helps them down the stretch. They don’t care to move up in the standings, because that’s not going to do anything as a result of being so far back. However, some promising signs and momentum that they might be able to take into next season is welcome.
The rest of the season is just one long audition for several players on the Red Wings. It’s also a moment where some guys could elevate their worth in the trade market. I am sure there are players who wish to get traded to a contender right about now. It’s highly unlikely that Steve Yzerman pulls off a blockbuster deal, though, so don’t expect much.
Andreas Athansaiou will continue to sit out this weekend, so that does nothing to help his stock. Along with Athanasiou absent on Friday, Anthony Mantha will be nursing an injury as well. We won’t see Mantha for at least another few weeks. Besides Filip Zadina, Mantha has been the most exciting playmaker on the Red Wings when he’s been on the ice.
His injury may not seem like much to a casual observer, but the Wings look even worse without Mantha playing. Considering how bad they’ve been this season, it’s not easy to play even worse hockey than they were before. For the Rangers, they’re still in rebuild mode, though have laid down a solid foundation to build on. If they don’t reach the playoffs within the next few years, then there will begin to be some grumblings in NYC. The way I see it, the Rangers seem to be a good path, though. Head below for our free Red Wings vs. Rangers pick.
Detroit Red Wings vs. N.Y. Rangers Betting Odds:
Red Wings vs. Rangers Prediction:
The Red Wings enter the post All-Star Game era portion of their season with a record of 12-35-4 and 28 points. There isn’t another team within shouting distance around them, so if they don’t win the draft lottery, it’s going to be unfortunate for the Red Wings. The Red Wings are the only team without 30 points in the league, and they are also the only team without 40 points in the league. LA at 43 points is the closest club to them in the standings. It’s added up to an embarrassing goal differential of -90 this season. There isn’t another team remotely close to them in that regard either.
Detroit has struggled on both ends of the ice, and with Mantha and Athanasiou out they’re hurting more. With such little depth on the roster, injuries to guys like those two hurts the team pretty hard. This is a on a team that was terrible to begin with, so it’s especially bad news for the Red Wings. They’re dead last in the league in goals scored per game, with only 2.12 goals on average. That number tanks further to 2.08 goals a game on the road. In their previous ten games leading up to the All-Star break, the Red Wings managed to score just 1.9 goals per game.
Pick your poison if the defence or offence is more to blame for the Red Wings’ failures in 2019-20. Their defence has been abysmal as well, with 3.88 goals against per game. At least if they had some playmakers and the offensive production was up, the Red Wings would be an entertaining team to watch, but that hasn’t been the case. They’ve also allowed 4.2 goals per game in their last ten outings, along with 4.24 goals allowed on the road.
Their last trip to Madison Square Garden in November didn’t go so well, as the Rangers easily bypassed the Wings by a score of 5-1. Jimmy Howard is listed as probable to start in net for Detroit at MSG. It’s been a mess of a season for him, with a 4.12 GAA and 0.883 save percentage for a sad record of 2-19-0. Jonathan Bernier has been a far better option, but it’s not saying a whole lot. He’s posted backup numbers, having recorded a 2.99 GAA and 0.904 save percentage in 2019-20. Igor Shesterkin, who is the future between the pipes for the Rangers, has been selected to start tonight.
The Rangers have gotten better results at MSG this season. They’ve notched 3.48 goals per game and 3.12 goals against as opposed to 3.29 goals per game and 3.27 goals against overall on the year. A record of 13-10-2 isn’t spectacular, but shines significantly brighter than the worst road record in the league. The Red Wings are a putrid 4-19-2 as a visitor, and have gone 3-8 in their last 11 trips to MSG. Consider taking a look at the Rangers against the Red Wings on Friday night, as both teams shake the rust off from a long break.