It’s Papa Johns vs Little Caesars as Rangers Face Red Wings For Final Game of 2017

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After an entertaining shootout win on Wednesday night over the Washington Capitals, the Rangers will look to end 2017 on a positive against the Red Wings tonight in Detroit. The Wings enter this one on a three-game losing streak, most recently falling to the Devils by a score of 3-1. There is no doubt Detroit will be looking to end their 2017 with a win, and the Rangers should be ready for a good contest tonight.

Keys to Victory

Puck Management – When the Rangers have managed the puck well, they usually play a good game. And while the Red Wings are near the bottom of the NHL in takeaways, the Blueshirts are at the top when it comes to giving the puck away. The Blueshirts will need to cut down on their mistakes in this one, especially with the speed the Red Wings have in transition.

Communication – Prior to Wednesday’s matchup against the Capitals, Alain Vigneault shook up the lineup to get his team’s attention. And it worked. The Rangers played one of their best games of the season, making sure to communicate on defensive zone coverages and offensive zone opportunities; so much so that it was audible on the television broadcast at certain points. For the Blueshirts to get the two points tonight, they will need to be on the same page for a full 60 minutes.

Players to Watch

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Vinni Lettieri – Making his NHL debut tonight after Chris Kreider was diagnosed with a blood clot, Lettieri will bring a different dimension to the Rangers forward group. He won’t be playing top-six minutes, but he is a right-handed shot, something which the Rangers don’t have much of in their lineup, with a lightning fast release. Do I expect him to put up a hat-trick tonight? Of course not. But don’t be surprised if he has a couple of scoring chances in his first game in the big leagues.

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Brady Skjei – In just his second full NHL season, the Minnesota native is showing the NHL just how good he can be. The offensive numbers may not be there just yet, with just 13 points (2G, 11A) in 37 games, but his defensive game has the makings of a future Norris winner. His skating ability on the blue line is second to none, and his hockey IQ puts him in the right position defensively just about every time he steps on the ice. Look for Skjei to be stout defensively against the speedy Red Wings youngsters.

Detroit Red Wings

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Dylan Larkin – One of the fastest skaters in the NHL, Larkin has used that speed to lead his team in points so far this season. And although he only has five goals on the year, his 25 helpers puts him as the 12th best assist-man in the NHL. He will no doubt looking to make his mark in this contest for the Red Wings.

 

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Justin Abdelkader – The grizzled veteran has a reputation for being a pain in the butt. However, he has made his living being around the front of the net, much like Penguins forward Patric Hornqvist. Abdelkader has 19 points on the year and will no doubt be looking for more from atop the blue paint.

 

Puck drops at 730!

LETS GO RANGERS!!