All the feels will be felt at Madison Square Garden Thursday when Derek Stepan returns to where he spent his first seven years of his career. Stepan and former netminder Antti Raanta return to New York. Stepan, who scored a hat-trick in his first game in blue, comes back to New York with the Arizona Coyotes, the team he was traded too in the summer. You can bet there will be a tribute video shown for him that will show some amazing memories. From three goals in his first game as a pro to scoring an overtime goal in game 7 of the playoffs against the rival Capitals, the man has done it all. A true blue shirt makes his return Thursday, and it will be an emotional night, to say the least.
A Look at Arizona…
Putting emotions aside, there is a hockey game to be played for both squads. Arizona comes in 0-8-1, looking for their first win in their tenth game of the year. Arizona is a team full of young guys and skill. Goaltending has been their biggest problem, with Raanta hurt, Louis Domingue and Adin Hill are next up. Young guys like Clayton Keller, Anthony Duclair added with vets like Stepan and Niklas Hjalmarsson, this team is not as bad as the record shows. All Ranger fans are hoping tonight is not the night they get their first win. A streak is on the horizon. Yes, they are in a deep hole already but look for this young team to start climbing out soon.
New York’s Key To Success
Oh, New York. 2-6-2 in their first 10 games. Uncharted waters. Tonight brings another opportunity to turn this ship around. Tony DeAngelo was sent down to the Hartford Wolfpack and Boo Nieves was called up to the big club. The Rangers are still trying to find answers to what seems like endless problems. They aren’t consistent in scoring goals, the defense has been so-so, and the goaltending has been sub-par. They are still trying to put the pieces together. Hopefully, they can do it tonight. They have a history of making bad teams look better than they really are. If that happens tonight, it could mean the end of Alain Vigneault of head coach.
I have picked the Rangers every time I have done a preview. So far they have failed me every time. Eventually, they won’t and let’s hope that’s tonight!