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Rangers look to finish west coast trip strong; Dan Boyle returns to San Jose

Bobby Bevilacqua

Lundqvist save 10-21

Henrik Lundqvist will be back in net for the Rangers ronight, as New York looks to extend their win streak to five against the Sharks. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

After a thrilling victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday, the Rangers (23-11-4) will finish off their California road trip tonight against the San Jose Sharks (22-15-5).

The Rangers have won four consecutive games and 12 of their last 13 games, but finishing off a sweep against Anaheim, Los Angeles, and San Jose would be a truly impressive feat.

Following Thursday’s victory, the Rangers also have a strong 10-6-1 record away from Madison Square Garden, winning their last three games on the road, and seven of their last eight.

Part of the reason that the Rangers are doing so well is their improved team defense, from the forwards and the defenseman. Rick Nash, who was named to the All-Star game today, is one of the best two way forwards in hockey, and plays strong in his own zone, as well as contributing to the forecheck. Defenseman like Ryan McDonagh, Marc Staal, and Dan Girardi have all helped shut down the opposition’s top players every game.

The Rangers offense has also exploded, partially due to what is now the league’s eighth ranked power play. New York added two more power play goals against the Kings, and are 10-23 in their last seven games. Derick Brassard leads the team with 10 power play assists and four goals, while Dan Boyle has solidified the point, successfully quarterbacking the Rangers special teams unit.

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Derick Brassard has been one of the key members of the Rangers power play, putting up 14 points on the man advantage. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

 

 

When you combine an explosive offense with a strong defense, it’s easy to understand why the Rangers have outscored opponents 48-21 in their last 13 games, and why they are the hottest team in the league.

The Sharks are coming off an embarrassing 7-2 loss against the St. Louis Blues on Thursday, and will certainly be looking for a strong answer to that game.

The Sharks are a dangerous team that is full of offensive threats. Joe Pavelski leads the team in points with 37 points (21-16-37), with Logan Couture not far behind, with 36 points (15-21-36). All-Star defenseman Brent Burns is deadly from the blue line, already putting up 11 goals and 23 assists this season.

“Jumbo” Joe Thornton will be returning to the Sharks lineup tonight after missing the past four games with a shoulder injury. The 17-year NHL veteran is still playing well, putting up 33 points (9-24-33) in 38 games.

Henrik Lundqvist will be back in net for the Rangers tonight, looking for his 11th win in 12 games. Lundqvist is 19-8-3 this year, and has been rock solid in net for the Rangers lately, and has allowed more than two goals just twice in this 13 game span.

Lundqvist is the only lineup change for New York.

For Dan Boyle, it will be an emotional night for him, as he will be returning to the place where he spent the last six years, and was a key part of two Western Conference Finals runs. The Sharks have announced that they will have a video tribute for Dan Boyle before the game, a very nice gesture by the team.

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Dan Boyle will be returning to San Jose for the first time since signing with the Rangers in the offseason, in a game which will be “very meaningful” to him. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

 

Boyle has been playing very well for the Rangers, and seems to be at top form since recovering from a broken hand. Boyle has seven points (2-5-7) in his past seven games, with a power play goal and a power play assist against the Kings on Thursday. Boyle has also been one of the main reasons for the revitalization of the Rangers power play, and will be a big factor in tonight’s game.

The Rangers and the Sharks will face off at 10 PM in San Jose, and the game will be televised on MSG Network.

TONIGHT’S LINEUP

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

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Posted on January 11, 2015, in Game Previews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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