Red Wings to face Raanta, not Lundqvist, on Saturday

AP
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The Detroit Red Wings will face Antti Raanta, not Henrik Lundqvist, Saturday afternoon at Madison Square Garden.

It’s a noteworthy decision by Rangers coach Alain Vigneault, for a couple of reasons:

1. The Wings will clinch a playoff spot with a win, regardless of how the Bruins or Flyers fare.
2. The Rangers still have a shot to catch the Islanders for third in the Metropolitan Division.

Of course, the problem with finishing third in the Metropolitan is that it comes with a first-round match-up with the red-hot Penguins. The first wild-card spot, on the other hand, garners a series with the Florida Panthers.

“Our focus has never been on trying to avoid a team or trying to pick a matchup,” Rangers forward Rick Nash insisted to the New York Post.

“You start thinking that way and it would be horrible hockey karma,” defenseman Marc Staal added.

It’s also worth noting that Raanta has been pretty solid this season (10-6-2, .918), while Lundqvist has struggled a bit lately.

Still, the Red Wings have to like their chances against a Rangers side that will also be without regulars Ryan McDonagh, Dan Girardi, Mats Zuccarello and Viktor Stalberg.

Related: To rest, or not to rest, healthy players in meaningless games