SPORTS

NHL: 4 things to know for Monday night

11/03/2014 12:31 EST | Updated 01/03/2015 05:59 EST
The St. Louis Blues will attempt a fifth straight win when they visit the New York Rangers on Monday night at Madison Square Garden, where the Blues are 7-0-1 in their past eight and last left without a point following a 3-1 loss on Jan. 20, 1998.

Here’s what else you need to know for tonight's only NHL game:

Defence rests

The Rangers will be a little thin on the blue-line, with Ryan McDonagh, Kevin Klein and Dan Boyle nursing injuries. McDonagh will be lost for three to four weeks after suffering a separated shoulder in Saturday’s 1-0 shootout loss to Winnipeg when Evander Kane checked the Rangers captain into the boards.

McDonagh hurt the same shoulder in an April 1 game against Vancouver and sat out five games. He has three assists in 10 games this year after topping all New York defencemen with 43 points last season. Klein will miss at least Monday’s game with a left foot contusion while Boyle has been out a few weeks with a broken hand but did skate on Sunday. The Rangers have recalled rearguards Conor Allen, 24, and Dylan McIlrath, 22, from Hartford of the American Hockey League.

Rangers tab Talbot in goal

St. Louis, which carries a four-game win streak into Monday’s contest, won’t have to face the Rangers’ No. 1 goaltender Henrik Lundqvist as Cam Talbot gets his second start of the season and first since the team’s second game of the season on Oct. 11. Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault needs to find time for Talbot to play with the team playing a stretch of 15 times in 29 days. Lundqvist had started nine of New York’s first 10 games, sporting a 2.85 goals-against average, .902 save percentage and two shutouts. It’s his heaviest workload to begin a season since 2007-08 when he started the Rangers’ first 16 games. The 27-year-old Talbot, who hails from Caledonia, Ont., has a 2.89 GAA and .886 save percentage in one-plus appearances this season. In 21 games with New York last season, he boasted 1.64 and .941 marks.

Sizzling snipers

Monday’s game will feature two of the NHL’s hottest goal-scorers of late in the Rangers’ Rick Nash and Vladimir Tarasenko of the Blues. Nash, 30, has three goals in his past five games and nine on the season, good for second in the league. He scored twice, including the winner, in a season-opening 3-2 victory over St. Louis, and has 23 goals and 43 points in 51 regular-season games versus St. Louis. At 29 per cent, Nash is also seventh in shooting percentage in the league.

The 22-year-old Tarasenko had a hat trick at Dallas on Oct. 28 (watch below) and scored twice more in Saturday’s 3-2 win over Colorado. The Russian right-winger leads the Blues this season with 11 points in 10 games on six goals and five assists. He’s also 11th in the NHL with a plus-8 rating.

No pushovers

Memo to the Rangers’ top forwards Nash, Martin St. Louis and Derick Brassard: Beware of St. Louis’ fourth line. The Ryan Reaves-Max Lapierre-Steve Ott unit has scored two key goals, courtesy of Reaves, in the past four games. They have also posted 12 shots on goal and 21 hits in that time after failing to register a point with 12 shots and 40 hits in the Blues’ first six outings.

“The last little while we’ve been trying to do too much, maybe, work too hard, over-skate,” Lapierre told the New York Post. “We were really patient in our system [in Thursday’s 2-0 win over Anaheim] and that’s our game. We played like that last year in the playoffs and at the end of the year.”

MORE:cbcSports