Published February 21, 2016
The New York Rangers got good news on the status of captain Ryan McDonagh, but he's still out for the fifth time in seven games.
The Rangers will again try to withstand his absence as they go for a fifth straight home win over the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday night.
New York (33-19-6) has put together a 6-1-1 stretch, and that includes going 3-0-1 with McDonagh sidelined by a concussion.
The Rangers will be without him again after he took an elbow to the jaw from Toronto's Leo Komarov in the first period of Thursday's 4-2 victory. McDonagh left as a precaution, and the scare of another concussion was quelled after he passed two league tests.
McDonagh, though, won't play Sunday due to jaw and neck ailments, and Komarov was suspended three games by the NHL.
"He seems to be doing OK, and we're all thankful for that," defenseman Marc Staal told the team's official website. "That was a dirty hit, the kind of hit that we're trying to get out of the game, and I'm just happy that Mac is going to be OK."
Rick Nash's injury is a different matter. He'll miss a 12th straight game with a bone bruise in his left leg.
Derick Brassard and Mats Zuccarello are keying the Rangers offensively. Brassard has seven goals and seven assists in 10 games, while Zuccarello has 12 points over that span.
They accounted for three goals and two assists against the Leafs and Antti Raanta made 35 saves while starting for Henrik Lundqvist, who should be back for this one.
Lundqvist has been in net for New York's four straight home wins against Detroit, compiling a 0.98 goals-against average and two shutouts. It's the Rangers' longest home winning streak in the series since taking nine straight from 1982-87.
New York is 21-6-3 at MSG and the Red Wings have lost five straight on the road, their longest since a seven-game skid in March 2012.
Detroit is concluding a four-game road trip after falling 3-2 in a shootout at Ottawa on Saturday.
"I told the guys that we could play great and not win, that's the reality sometimes, and I'm not saying we played great, but certainly a lot better and we've got to do the same thing (Sunday)," coach Jeff Blashill said.
Dylan Larkin's expected return should help. The center sat out one game with an illness but Blashill anticipates using him Sunday. Larkin leads the Red Wings with 19 goals, three fewer than Chicago's Artemi Panarin for the NHL rookie lead.
"I think Larkin could have played (Saturday), but it would have been about 80 percent and I'm not a big believer in playing guys like that when you have 100 percent guys there," Blashill said.
It seems unlikely that Petr Mrazek will face the Rangers for the first time after he made 25 saves and turned aside two of three shootout attempts Saturday. Mrazek hasn't started on back-to-back days this season, and allowed seven goals on 18 shots on the two occasions he did so last season.
Jimmy Howard is 4-2-1 with a 1.84 GAA in seven career games against New York, but his stopping 66 of 69 shots last season wasn't enough opposite Lundqvist's shutouts.