Blues vs. Rangers Preview
New York, NY - The New York Rangers are getting unexpected scoring production from Brandon Dubinsky. Jaroslav Halak has been even more impressive shutting down opposing scorers for the red-hot St. Louis Blues.
Halak looks to stifle Dubinsky and the Rangers as the Blues go for their longest winning streak in eight years Sunday night at Madison Square Garden.
Oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com have made the NA –NA money line favorites for Sunday's game against the NA. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that NA% of more than NA bets for this game have been placed on the NA.
New York (7-5-1) has won three of four with Dubinsky scoring five goals in his last three games. The forward is among the league leaders with 10 goals, and he has a team-high 14 points after career-bests of 20 goals and 44 points last season.
Dubinsky scored twice to help lead New York to a 3-0 win Friday at New Jersey. His play has been a relief for the Rangers, who remain without Marian Gaborik (shoulder), Chris Drury (finger) and Vinny Prospal (knee).
While Dubinsky is emerging as a top scoring threat, Halak is proving to be one of the NHL's elite goaltenders by sparking the Blues' six-game winning streak with a 0.97 goals-against average and three shutouts.
The stretch includes a win over reigning Stanley Cup champion Chicago and shutouts against Pittsburgh and San Jose.
Halak's strong play continued Saturday, when he stopped 33 shots through overtime and two more in the shootout during a 2-1 win at Boston.
"He was solid again. He makes a lot of key saves for us when we make mistakes. That's why he is the goaltender he is," coach Davis Payne said of Halak, who is 8-1-1 with a 1.46 GAA.
With Montreal last season, Halak went 3-1-0 with a 2.72 GAA and a shutout against the Rangers. A victory Sunday will give St. Louis its longest winning streak since a nine-game run from Oct. 15-Nov. 5, 2002.
Halak may have to contend with the expected return of Ryan Callahan, who is second on the team with 13 points and missed one game with an undisclosed injury.
Callahan and Dubinsky have combined for one goal and two assists as the Rangers have dropped the last three meetings with the Blues, including 4-3 March 18 at MSG.
Henrik Lundqvist has a 3.06 GAA in losing both of his starts versus St. Louis, including a rough 12-save effort in the most recent meeting.
He enters this matchup after making 33 saves against the Devils for his second shutout in three games. It was a vast improvement from a 4-1 loss at Philadelphia a night earlier, as he made a season-low 17 stops.
"Henrik's Henrik. It's what's to be expected," Rangers coach John Tortorella said. "You don't have to worry about how he's going to handle himself. He's got that in him and I truly respect that about him."
The Blues may have forward David Perron back in the lineup after he missed Saturday's game with headaches following an open-ice hit by San Jose's Joe Thornton two nights earlier that resulted in a two-game suspension for the Sharks captain.Perron is tied with Matt D'Agostini for the team lead with five goals.