Madison Square Garden

NHL on NBCSN: Road-weary Rangers host Habs in renovated MSG


NBCSN continues its coverage of the 2013-14 campaign tonight when the New York Rangers host the Montreal Canadiens at Madison Square Garden at 7:30 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game online.

The Rangers are 3-6-0, they’ve been blown out of games, and Brad Richards is their only healthy player with more than a single goal. Healthy is an important distinction to make because on top of everything else, some of their top players are or have been sidelined already.

Still, it’s worth taking their shortcomings with a grain of salt because they’ve arguably had the toughest schedule in the NHL so far. We’re almost into November and the Rangers are only now finally able to play in front of their fans. Every other team has already played in at least three home games this season.

Related: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $2,500 Fantasy Hockey league tonight (Monday). It’s just $10 to join and first prize is $500. Starts at 7:00 p.m. ET. Here’s the link.

“I think everybody is very very very happy to be home,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault told the Bergen Record now that the Madison Square Garden’s renovations are done.

“I was on a stretch in 2010 because the Olympics were in Vancouver we were gone from our home for a little more than six weeks if you count the two weeks for the Olympics. This was longer than that. If you count the exhibition games we played, this was longer than that.”

Vigneault didn’t want to use the length of their road trip as an excuse for the Rangers rough start, but he acknowledged the fact that it was a trying time. Fortunately for them, it’s in the past now. Tonight’s match doesn’t represent a fresh start for the Rangers — top forward Rick Nash along with captain Ryan Callahan are still hurt and going home doesn’t wipe the team’s record — but it provides them with a platform to stage their comeback.

Well, the venue is right at least, but on the other hand the Montreal Canadiens aren’t exactly the ideal team for the Rangers to face right now.

Canadiens goaltender Carey Price has been superb this season and will be a particular challenge for a largely snakebitten Rangers squad. Montreal has also been one of the best teams with the man advantage while the Rangers are the second least disciplined club in the league when it comes to penalty minutes per game.

New York will have netminder Henrik Lundqvist back after he missed two games with an undisclosed injury, but he’ll have his hands full against a Canadiens team that’s been firing on all cylinders so far.

So the Rangers won’t have an easy time tonight, but at least now they have an opportunity to defend the Garden.

‘Yotes return Dylan Strome to OHL

Dylan Strome, Nikita Nikitin
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The Arizona Coyotes have returned Dylan Strome to the Erie Otters of the OHL.

Strome, 18, was the third overall pick in the 2015 NHL draft.

The 6’3, 185 pounder was hoping to stick with the Coyotes this season, but the team decided to take the conservative approach with their top prospect.

Strome will look to build off an incredible junior season that saw him score 45 goals and 129 points in 68 games.

Strome seems to be taking the demotion in stride.

The team also announced that they’ve assigned goaltender Louis Domingue and forward Matthias Plachta to their AHL affiliate in Springfield.

Domingue, 23, had a 1-2-1 record with a 2.73 goals-against-average and a .911 save percentage in seven games last season.

Plachta, a free agent signing, will begin his first pro season in North America. The 24-year-old had 14 goals and 35 points in the German League last season.


Detroit places Datsyuk and three others on I.R.

Pavel Datsyuk,
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The Red Wings have placed Pavel Datsyuk, Darren Helm, Danny DeKeyser and Alexey Marchenko on injured reserve.

Placing these players on I.R. opens up four more roster spots for Detroit.

The Red Wings have suffered an incredibe amount of injuries heading into the season.

Datsyuk (ankle) is expected to be out until November.

DeKeyser (foot) is going to miss three-to-four weeks, while Helm (concussion) and Marchenko (lower-body) are considered day-to-day.

The team also announced that they have reduced their training camp roster to 27 players on Sunday.

Top prospect Dylan Larkin remains in camp for now.

Coach Jeff Blashill told reporters that the 19-year-old has looked good, but a final decision hasn’t been made on where he will play this year.

As for Larkin, he’s just fed up of living in a hotel.

“There’s been so much speculation and so many questions, and no one really knows,” said Larkin. “Maybe the coaches know, but just to find out where I’ll be living or what’s happening — I’m kind of sick of the hotel. It would be nice to know what’s going on.”