Finally, after one game in five days and all the dog-and-pony garbage that has enveloped this series … a game. A big, stinking, giant game for both teams. This will be the 100th of the season for ya boys.
Once again, Happy 20th anniversary — the captain’s hat trick-plus-assist in Game 6 following the guarantee in which he never actually said “guarantee.”
As I said earlier, I suspect you will see tonight how good a coach Alain Vigneault is. I think he will have his guys focused on the task at hand, a gigantic game in this series, despite all the rantings and ravings and threats and accusations and suggestions, all the injuries and suspensions and unpenalized cheap shots. I suspect the Rangers will play well tonight and likely win Game 4. Let’s not forget that they won five in a row before Game 3, and lost Game 3 on a fluke goal, in a game and series filled with fluke goals.
Henrik Lundqvist is one win behind Mike Richter for the franchise playoff record for victories (41), and Dan Girardi tied Brian Leetch for fourth place on the franchise record for playoff games played (82).
Derek Stepan (broken jaw) will lose his NHL ironman streak. He has never missed a game in his four-year career (294 regular season, 54 playoffs). Daniel Carcillo sits the first of his 10-game suspension, which he has appealed.
Derick Brassard (likely shoulder) returns after missing most of Game 1 and all of Games 2 and 3. J.T. Miller plays in place of Stepan, with Dominic Moore playing center on Stepan’s line with Rick Nash and Chris Kreider.
The Habs, who go with rookie Dustin Tokarski in goal again, will be without Brandon Prust, serving the first of his two-game suspension for “interfering” with Stepan’s jaw. Michael Bournival is expected to play in his place, and Nathan Beaulieu is expected to replace Francis Boullion on defense.
On a warm playoff day, which normally negatively affects the ice surface, it should be noted that the Garden, as part of its renovation, installed a new A/C, dehumidifier system
After the game, vote for the Three Rangers Stars in the poll on the left.
Also, during the playoffs, follow Josh Thomson, @jthomson22.