Rangers aim for fourth consecutive home win; Hayes back in lineup
After playing just nine games in October, and only 3 games in the past 12 days, the Rangers embark on a jam-packed November tonight against the Winnipeg Jets.
New York will play the first of 15 games over the next 29 days, with 10 of those games being played on home ice.
The Rangers (5-4-0) are coming off of a sensational comeback victory over the Wild, where they scored 5 goals in the third period en route to their fourth win in 5 games. New York has not played since that game, which was on Monday.
The last two games they played were both from come-from-behind victories, against New Jersey last week and against Minnesota. The Rangers realize that although the games have been exciting, the team needs to get back to giving a complete effort over the full 60 minutes, and not relying off of late game heroics.
“I’d like to see us play with a lead for a change,” said goalie Henrik Lundqvist.
The Jets (4-5-1) are in the midst of a four game road trip, which they will finish up tomorrow against the Blackhawks. The Jets lost their last game on Thursday in a shootout against the New Jersey Devils, with a final score of 2-1.
Coming into the game, the Rangers will be missing two of their top-six defenseman. John Moore will be serving a five game suspension for his hit on Erik Haula against the Wild, and Dan Boyle is still out with his broken hand.
Michael Kostka will be reinserted into the lineup, and will be on the third line and paired with Matt Hunwick, who has earned praise from his fellow players and the coaching staff.
Kostka has only played one game this season, and had two costly errors against the Islanders that led to goals in a 6-3 defeat at the Garden.
Kostka understands that this is a “big opportunity” for him, as he stated following Friday’s practice with the Rangers. He also noted that he appreciates the coach’s faith in him to give him another chance with John Moore out for the next five games. Expect Michael Kostka to be extra careful tonight, as he is looking to prove that he can stay as the 7th defenseman and play for the Rangers.
Henrik Lundqvist (5-3, 3.25 GAA, .891 save percentage) will make his ninth start in net tonight, and passes Gump Worsley for second on the team’s all-time appearance list with 583. Mike Richter still holds the franchise lead with 666 appearances.
Cam Talbot is not scheduled to play tonight, but Alain Vigneault hopes to get him about four or five starts this month in the bust schedule. It is important that Henrik gets some rest throughout the year and that Talbot gets some reps in order to stay sharp.
Kevin Hayes will be back into the lineup, starting in the middle on the fourth line with Chris Mueller, a natural centerman, on his right wing, and Tanner Glass on his left. Hayes and Mueller will split faceoffs throughout the night.
Hayes was a healthy scratch on Monday, has played six games at center and has scored once and picked up an assist. By putting Hayes back into the lineup and shifting Mueller to the wing, Vigneault gets to mix up the lines in order to try and see what may work when Derek Stepan returns to the lineup.
Derek Stepan has participated in the last two practices with the Rangers, and has participated in non-contact drills. Stepan is eligible to return on Monday against St. Louis, but Vigneault said it would be “a stretch” that he would play.
The top line for the Rangers will be one that worked extremely well in the third period on Monday. Derek Brassard will handle top line center duties, with Nash on the left wing and Zuccarello on the right wing. All three of them scored in the win against Minnesota.
Anthony Duclair will remain in the Rangers lineup, after scoring his first career goal on Monday, one which tied the game at four late in the third period. Duclair has been one of the better skaters for the Rangers this season, and will continue to get quality minutes.
Ondrej Pavlec (4-4-1, 2.34 GAA, .908 save percentage) will get the start for the Jets. Winnipeg have at least a point in their last three games, and points in four of their last five games.
Bryan Little has the most goals for the Jets, with five goals and four assists, and Toby Enstrom has been racking up assists this season, with nine already. Captain Andrew Ladd and Blake Wheeler both have four goals.
Expected Lines (Not Confirmed):
I will be at the game in Section 227 row 15 wearing my Derick Brassard heritage jersey, so feel free to stop by and say hello!
Posted on November 1, 2014, in Game Previews and tagged Anthony Duclair, Carl Hagelin, Chris Kreider, Chris Mueller, Dan Girardi, Derek Stepan, Derick Brassard, Henrik Lundqvist, John Moore, Kevin Hayes, Kevin Klein, King Henrik, Madison Square Garden, Marc Staal, Martin St. Louis, Mats Zuccarello, Matt Hunwick, Michael Kostka, MSG, New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, NHL, NHL 2014-2015 Season, NY Rangers, NYR, overtime winner, Rangers Nation, Rangers Season Opener, Rangerstown, Rick Nash, Ryan Malone, Ryan McDonagh, The Duke, The Ranger Zone, Winnipeg Jets. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.