Rangers visit Red Wings in potential first-round matchup

new york rangers
Feb 23, 2023; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Red Wings defenseman Jake Walman (96) fights with New York Rangers left wing Alexis Lafreniere (13) during the third period at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brian Bradshaw Sevald-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers are inching closer to their first division title since the 2014-15 season. On Friday, they visit another desperate team, the Detroit Red Wings, looking to shrink their magic number.

After a fight-filled 4-3 win over the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday, and seeing the second-place Carolina Hurricanes lose to the Boston Bruins on Thursday, New York needs 8 points gained or lost by the Canes, to clinch first place.

The Blueshirts will need to avoid an emotional letdown coming off an adrenaline-filled rivalry game against New Jersey. Everyone expected Matt Rempe to answer Devils enforcer Kurtis MacDermid’s callout. However, a line brawl where all 10 skaters dropped the gloves followed by eight ejections for secondary fighting was a surprise.

“Those guys are my brothers,” Rempe told Vince Mercogliano of LoHud.com. “That wasn’t planned or anything. It just kind of happened naturally. I think that was really special that they did that, as well. I knew that I was going to have to fight. It’s not a big deal − answer the bell type of thing. It happens, but for them to go to war with me was pretty dang special. … I love all those guys.”

Here’s today’s game and broadcast info:

New York Rangers (51-21-4) vs Detroit Red Wings (37-30-8)
Date/Time: April 5, 2024 @ 7:00 PM ET
Arena: Little Caesars Arena
Radio: ESPN 1050 AM

Note: Subject to change, updated for each game

Related: Milestone filled March

New York Rangers projected lineup

New York Rangers
Brian Bradshaw Sevald-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s the expected lineup:

Kreider – Zibanejad – Roslovic
Panarin – Trocheck – Lafreniere
Cuylle – Wennberg – Kakko
Vesey – Goodrow – Brodzinski

Lindgren – Fox
Miller – Trouba
Gustafsson – Schneider


Update: Jonathan Quick was the first goalie off, likely indicating he will start. Matt Rempe, Zac Jones and Chad Ruhwedel stayed on the ice after the morning skate, meaning each likely will be a healthy scratch.

New York Rangers vs Detroit Red Wings

The Rangers (106 points) are holding on to the Presidents’ Trophy lead by a slim one-point margin over the Dallas Stars and Boston Bruins (105 points). However, they appear to be slowly pulling away in the Metropolitan Division with a five-point lead over the second-place Hurricanes (101 points).

Both the Blueshirts and Canes are in action Friday, as the latter hosts a desperate Washington Capitals squad, who sit one point behind the New York Islanders for the last wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. If New York wins and Carolina falls in regulation, the Metro magic number will be just four points.

Detroit has won just four times in their past 16 games (4-10-2) to fall out of a playoff spot. Although the Red Wings are coming off an impressive 4-2 victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday, the Rangers have a great chance to claim two points.

The Blueshirts are 24-11-4 on the road this season and have won their past four away from the Garden. They also have wins in six of their past seven games (6-1-0) and eight of 10 (8-2-0).

This is the third and final regular-season meeting against the Red Wings. New York holds a 2-0-0 advantage, looking for the sweep.

Upcoming Rangers Milestones

  • Vincent Trocheck is 3 goals away from 200 in his career
  • Mika Zibanejad is 8 goals away from 300 in his career
  • Kaapo Kakko is 6 games away from 300 in his career

Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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