Dan Boyle and the Rangers excited to take on the Avalanche at home

Bobby Bevilacqua

dan boyle preseason

Dan Boyle will be back in the Rangers’ lineup tonight as they take on the struggling Colorado Avalanche, his first game since October 8th. It will also be Dan Boyle’s first game at Madison Square Garden in a Rangers uniform. Photo courtesy of Jim McIssac.

When the Rangers (7-6-2) take on the Colorado Avalanche (4-8-5) tonight, the Rangers will be playing with five of their top six defensemen for the first time since October 27th, thanks to the return of Dan Boyle.

Boyle fractured his hand while blocking a shot in the season opener against the Blues, and will be playing for the first time in 14 games. It will also be the first game that Dan Boyle will play at Madison Square Garden as a Ranger.

Boyle, a righty, will be skating alongside Marc Staal at even strength, and will play the point on the power play unit, which has been one of his biggest strengths throughout his career.

Michael Kostka will be scratched against the Avalanche for the first time in seven games, and was placed on waivers this afternoon, meaning that if he clears, he will report to Hartford tomorrow.

The Rangers are coming off of their best game of the season, blanking the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-0, and ending their seven game winning streak. New York managed to best the Penguins number-three penalty killing unit, as well as shutting down their power play, adding a short handed goal in the process. Lundqvist earned his third shutout of the season, stopping all 33 shots he faced and earning his seventh win of the season.

Henrik Lundqvist blocker save 11-11

Henrik Lundqvist will be back in net for the Rangers tonight after a sensational performance, where he shut out the streaking Pittsburgh Penguins, making 33 saves. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

As expected, there are no lineup changes outside of Dan Boyle. Rookie Anthony Duclair will sit for the second straight game, which Vigneault described as an experience that could be good for a young player, giving them time to watch film, learn from it, and apply it to their game.

The Avalanche have really struggled at the start of this season, which is surprising considering that they were the first place team in their division last season. Goaltender Semyon Varlamov has also had his early struggles, posting a record of 2-5-4 alongside a 3.05 GAA, and he has not earned a win since an October 30th shutout win over the Islanders.

Colorado will be coming into tonight’s game hungry and angry, fueled by the frustration of a 6-0 loss against the Islanders on Tuesday night. Colorado has only won one game on the road so far (1-5-3) and their goal differential of -16 is worst in the Western Conference.

Rick Nash scored his 12th goal of the season in the win over the Penguins, tying him for most in the league. His 15 points in 15 games is best on the Rangers, followed by Derick Brassard (6-7-13) and Martin St. Louis (5-7-12). This top line of Nash, Brassard and St. Louis for New York will be one of the key parts of tonight’s game, as they have been red hot since St. Louis shifted back to the right wing and was pushed up to the top line.

Rick Nash goal celebration 10-27

Rick Nash continued to score goals, netting his 12th of the season while the Rangers were shorthanded. Nash now has points in 11 of his 15 games played this season. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

It will be interesting to see how the Rangers’ power play will look with Dan Boyle at the point. Last season, Boyle had six goals and 12 assists on the power play, and manned the top unit for San Jose. His ability to shoot the puck and find the open man will certainly help the Rangers while they’re on the man advantage.

For Colorado, their key player is Semyon Varlamov. After signing a 5-year extension this offseason, the Avalanche would like Varlamov to return to last year’s form, where he won 41 games and had a 2.41 GAA as well as a .927 save percentage. The Avalance would also like some production from their top players like Gabriel Landeskog and Matt Duchene to avoid another shutout on the road.

The Rangers will look to make it two straight wins as they take on the Colorado Avalanche at home starting at 7 PM. The game will be broadcasted on MSG.

EXPECTED LINES

Rick Nash-Derick Brassard-Martin St. Louis

Chris Kreider-Derek Stepan-Mats Zuccarello

Carl Hagelin-Kevin Hayes-Lee Stempniak

Tanner Glass-Dom Moore-Jesper Fast

Marc Staal-Dan Boyle

John Moore-Dan Girardi

Matt Hunwick-Kevin Klein

Henrik Lundqvist

Posted on November 13, 2014, in Game Previews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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