NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2016-17 campaign tonight when the New York Rangers host the Chicago Blackhawks at 7:00 p.m. ET. If you want to watch the game online, you can do so here.
The last time these two teams met wasn’t that long ago. The Rangers bested the ‘Hawks 1-0 in OT at the United Center just four days ago.
It was an epic goaltending duel, but neither team’s starter played. Scott Darling suited up the for Chicago because Corey Crawford is injured, while Antti Raanta was making his second straight start for the Rangers at the time.
Since then, the Raanta-Henrik Lundqvist debate has been one of the biggest stories in the league. The Rangers backup has made (and won) three consecutive starts and he could make his fourth tonight.
“Hank’s like all our players: team-first attitude,” Vigneault said prior to Sunday’s 5-0 win over the Devils, per the Daily News.”And right now there’s no doubt that Antti’s playing real well and deserves to play. I love Hank, but I love the team more and right now Antti is on top of his game.”
So if that was his logic before Raanta’s latest victory, why would he change his mind heading into tonight’s game?
Raanta will indeed be between the pipes tonight.
There’s also some uncertainties with the Blackhawks’ lineup heading into this clash, but they’re a little different.
Toews has missed the last nine games because of a back injury and it’s clear that his frustration levels are starting to mount.
He skated on Sunday and he’s expected to play at some point on this three-game road trip, we just don’t know when that will be.
They’ve done relatively well without their captain, as they’ve gone 5-2-2 during his absence.
“The guys are doing what they have to do to win the tight ones,” Toews said, per the Chicago Tribune. “It’s always been another one of those great qualities about our team is that we can play without our top guys and not miss a beat.”
As for Seabrook, He’s been out for two games with a head injury. He was able to practice both Saturday and Sunday, which is an encouraging sign.