I agree with you, how could a Western Conference team and an Eastern Conference team be featured as a Wednesday Night Rivalry. However, this rivalry dates back before NBCSN ever featured it's first Wednesday Night Rivalry and before the NHL split up teams into the Western and Eastern Conferences. 1926 was the year this rivalry was set into action. It was the year both teams were founded in their respected cities. This rivalry goes way beyond east vs. west, this rivalry is ground deep in the historical roots of each team. With that, I give you the Tale of the Tape.
Chicago Blackhawks: The Blackhawks have been a power house team with star players. Winning five Stanley Cups since their foundation, including two Stanley Cups in the past five years, the Hawks are here to stay. The Hawks are coming into this game looking to improve their record to 30-7-9, with a "last ten games" record of 6-0-4. If the Hawks can fancy a regulation win tonight, they will be tied for first in the West behind the Anaheim Ducks with 69 points. Goaltending defiantly is not an issue for the Hawks, they were tested earlier in the season when starting goaltender Corey Crawford was injured and the Blackhawks had to rely on backup goaltender, Nikolai Khabibulin, as well as rookie tender, Antti Raanta. Scoring and defense is not an issue for the Hawks, especially with ten players representing their respected countries in the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
New York Rangers: The Rangers are on a win one lose one streak in their last ten games, 5-3-2 puts them at a season record of 20-21-3. Not where the Rangers would like to be, especially since it puts them at tenth in the East. The main problem for the Rangers is not their offense or their goaltending, rather it's the defense. A star goaltender such as Henrik Lundqvist needs a solid blue line crew in order to be able to stop pucks. If the defense is not willing to force a turnover then the opposing team is just going to walk all over the defense and goaltender. The Rangers do have the talent and skill it takes to win games, they just need to take advantage of these skills and talents and convert them into winning, scoring chances.
The guys at nhl.com are calling this one a Sochi preview, such a fitting name when there are a total of seventeen guys playing tonight, each representing their countries come early February.
Injuries are not an issue in tonights game. Rangers forward Derek Dorsett is out with a broken leg and Blackhawks backup goaltender Khabibulin is out for 4-5 months after undergoing rotator cuff surgery.
This could turn into a very lop-sided game if either team does not play to their potential. With the Rangers weak on defense, and a huge home ice advantage for the Hawks, I'm giving this game to the Blackhawks 4-2.