New York Rangers, Mats Zuccarello
Photo by Bergen Record

Thursday night doesn’t just bring another home game for the New York Rangers, it brings Anthony Ducair, former farmhand turned Coyote.

New York Rangers (4-2-1, 9 pts)
Arizona Coyotes (3-2-1, 7 pts)
Today, 7:00 PM on FSAZ, MSG
Madison Square Garden, New York, New York

By Robby Sabo

Tonight brings another ordinary NHL game for many of the players who’ll eventually find their way onto the Madison Square Garden ice. Veterans such as Henrik Lundqvist, Ryan McDonagh and Derek Stepan will follow through with pregame rituals as if tonight brought the same importance as any of the 82 regular season games the New York Rangers will play.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, there is Anthony Duclair.

The 20-year old phenom will play his first game in New York since being traded by the Blushirts for the average Keith Yandle at last year’s trade deadline. To say he was surprised about last spring’s transaction would be a major understatement, via Larry Brooks of the New York Post.

“When you’re a young guy, you don’t expect to be traded so early in your career. I didn’t see it coming, there weren’t any rumors or anything.”

“I found out after the second period of one of my junior games. It was strange.”

The youngster, however, seems to have quickly put behind any disappointment about leaving the Big Apple. Through six games with the Phoenix Coyotes, his new home, he’s tallied five goals and two assists – including a Hat Trick coming against Anaheim.

His stellar play at such a tender age already has Rangers fans in a tizzy. Pour on the idea that Yandle seems to be ordinary – or dare I saw below average – there is finally evidence pointing to the fact Glen Sather and Jeff Gorton royally screwed the pooch on at least one deal. One that can haunt them for many, many years to come.

Either way it shakes out, game No. 8 for the Blueshirts holds a little more water than the average contest.

After an impressive shutout in his Rangers debut, Antti Raanta will give way to Henrik Lunqvist tonight. The rest of the lineup will remain similar to what Alain Vigneault has thrown out there the past two games.

Courtesy of
Courtesy of

While Arizona has been carried by the extremely youthful Duclair and Max Domi, one area of the ice they need to sure up comes in the crease. Starting goalie Mike Smith hasn’t been great on the season. While he only allowed two goals during the first three games, he’s surrendered 11 on 85 shots in the last three – getting yanked after giving up three goals in the first 27 minutes against Minnesota last Thursday, and also let in five against Boston on Saturday.

First puck drop comes your way at 7 PM ET from New York City.

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Robby Sabo is a co-founder, CEO and credentialed New York Jets content creator for Jets X-Factor - Jet X, which includes Sabo's Sessions (in-depth film breakdowns) and Sabo with the Jets. Host: Underdog Jets Podcast with Wayne Chrebet and Sabo Radio. Member: Pro Football Writers of America. Coach: Port Jervis (NY) High School. Washed up strong safety and 400M runner. SEO: XL Media. Founder: Elite Sports NY - ESNY (Sold in 2020). SEO: XL Media. Email: robby.sabo[at]