Rangers start west coast trip against the Ducks; Lundqvist in net
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.
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.
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
Posted on January 7, 2015, in Game Previews and tagged Alain Vigneault, Anaheim Ducks, Buffalo Sabres, Cam Talbot, Carl Hagelin, Chris Kreider, Dan Boyle, Dan Girardi, Derek Stepan, Derick Brassard, Dominic Moore, Henrik Lundqvist, Jesper Fast, John Moore, JT Miller, Kevin Hayes, Kevin Klein, King Henrik, Lee Stempniak, Madison Square Garden, Marc Staal, Martin St. Louis, Mats Zuccarello, Matt Hunwick, MSG, New York Rangers, NHL, NHL 2014-2015 Season, NY Rangers, NYR, Rangers Nation, Rangerstown, Rick Nash, Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan McDonagh, The Ranger Zone. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.