Rangers start west coast trip against the Ducks; Lundqvist in net

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers vs ducks

The Rangers and Ducks will face off for the first time this season, with Henrik Lundqvist starting for the Blueshirts, and Ilya Bryzgalov in net for Anaheim. Photo courtesy of the New York Rangers.

The Rangers (21-11-4) start their three game road trip against one of the best teams in the NHL; the Anaheim Ducks (26-9-6), who will pose one of the toughest matchups this season.

The Ducks are currently in one of their “rough” stretches, and even that isn’t all that bad. Anaheim has won in regulation just once in their last seven games, but still managing a 4-2-1 record. This is largely due to the play of their captain and top center, Ryan Getzlaf, who was named the league’s top star of the month in December, tallying 20 points (5-15-20) in the month, as well as points in 12 of 14 games.

The Ducks have also decided to give Frederik Anderson a breather, with him starting 34 of the team’s 41 games. Instead, head coach Bruce Boudreau will go with Ilya Bryzgalov, who has only made one start this season. Allowing six goals on 31 shots.

The Rangers will counter with Henrik Lundqvist, who is 18-8-3 with a 2.35 goals allowed average and a .914 save percentage. Lundqvist has started the last six games in goal for New York, losing just one of those games. Lundqvist has allowed more than to goals only one in his last nine starts.

In order to continue their recent success, the Rangers will need to extend their recent trend of scoring first in games, which has given them a huge advantage in the last month. The Rangers are 17-4-2 when scoring first this season, and have scored first in nine of their last 10 games. During that stretch, they have a record of 9-1-0.

The Rangers power play has also been red hot, going 8-18 in their last five games, as well as improving to 10th in the league on the power play. The Blueshirts also have the 11th best penalty kill in the league, meaning that special teams will be a huge factor in tonight’s game.

derick brassard smiling 11-5

Derick Brassard scored one of the three Rangers power play goals on Saturday against the Sabres. New York’s power play is 8-18 in their last 5 games. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.


One tactic that has been working on the man advantage for the Rangers is a something that the team’s second power play unit, or “JT’s unit” as Alain Vingeault has said, is using to great success.

Since December 20th, the second unit has scored three goals by rushing the blue line, rather than slowly establishing a play. This creates the opportunity for a breakaway by hitting one of the forwards in stride as he is rushing through the middle of the ice, giving very little time for the defenseman or the goalie to react.

With the power play in full swing, and the Rangers scoring in bunches, outscoring opponents 40-17 in their last 11 games, New York is a dangerous team to face right now. This California road trip acts as a sort of “measuring stick” stretch for the Rangers, where they can see how they match up against three of league’s best teams.

The only lineup change will be on defense, with John Moore coming in for Matt Hunwick on the third defensive pairing. There are no other changes.

john moore skating

John Moore will be back in the Rangers lineup, and will replace Matt Hunwick, who started the last two games. Photo courtesy of Debby Wong – USA TODAY Sports.


The Rangers and the Ducks will face off at the Honda Center at 10:30, and the game will be televised on NBC Sports Network.


Rick Nash-Derick Brassard-Mats Zuccarello

Chris Kreider-Derek Stepan-Martin St. Louis

Carl Hagelin-Kevin Hayes-Jesper Fast

JT Miller-Dominic Moore-Lee Stempniak

Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi

Marc Staal-Dan Boyle

John Moore-Kevin Klein

Henrik Lundqvist

Posted on January 7, 2015, in Game Previews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: