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Rangers battling illnesses before game against Calgary; Lindberg reportedly called up

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers hi five line 2-4

The Rangers are back at the Garden to take on “Johnny Hockey” and the Calgary Flames. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

After a shootout victory on Sunday, the Rangers (36-16-6) are set to take on the Calgary Flames (33-24-4) at Madison Square Garden for the second and final matchup between these two teams this season.

The Rangers took down the Flames in Calgary back on December 16th, jumping out to a 4-0 second period lead before finishing with a 5-2 victory at the Saddledome. Rick Nash had two goals in the game, and Chris Kreider scored one of the more important ones, finding the back of the net with 7.8 second remaining in the first period, giving the Rangers a 2-0 lead going into the first intermission.

Karri Ramo started that game, stopping just 18 of the 23 shots he saw. Ramo is expected to start again tonight, and is in search of his 10th win of the season. Ramo made 28 saves in a win over Vancouver in his last start, and is 9-5-1 with a 2.69 GAA and a .904 save percentage this season.

The Flames are fighting for the last wild card spot in the west, and have a few very talented offensive players that will pose a threat to the Rangers. Jiri Hudler leads the team in points with 48 (19-29-48), but their captain Marc Giordano continues to solidify himself as one of the highest scoring defensemen in the league, already totaling 47 points (11-36-47) this year.

Rookie phenom, and close friend of Kevin Hayes, Johnny Gaudreau is having a fantastic season, near the top of the league in scoring amongst first year players, currently sitting at 44 points (15-29-44). However, he hasn’t scored in 11 games, so he may be playing extra hard to snap that skid tonight.

The Rangers will be looking to have a complete 60 minutes of hockey, something that has seemed to allude them in the past few games. They gave up a 3-0 lead against Columbus on Sunday, the latest of their near collapses.

Cam Talbot will be back in net for the Rangers tonight after a mostly strong performance against the Blue Jackets. Talbot gave up a bad goal in the third period to tie the game, and needs to start limiting his mistakes in order to avoid more late game drama. Talbot has allowed three or more goals in seven of his nine starts.

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Cam Talbot will be in between the pipes for the Rangers for his 10th start in the last 11 games. Talbot is 6-1-2 in those games, but will be looking to lower the goals against tonight. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

 

Alain Vigneault said earlier this morning that the lineup for tonight is not solidified, that “a few balls are up in the air,” supposedly due to some players dealing with flu-like symptoms. There is still no news on who may be out of the lineup if anyone, but it seems like there will be at least one absence from the regular lineup.

With the Rangers AHL affiliate, the Hartford Wolf Pack, off tonight, some reports have come out that the Rangers have recalled Oscar Lindberg, a center. However, the Rangers have not made an official announcement, and this is not confirmed.

Lindberg is a well-known prospect who has had success in the AHL. Lindberg is second on the team in scoring, with 16 goals and 20 assists in 54 games. Lindberg is a faceoff expert, and is a well-rounded player. If he happens to play tonight, I’m sure he would fit in just fine.

oscar lindberg wolf pack

Oscar Lindberg has had success in the AHL, and was reportedly recalled for tonight’s game, although the Rangers have made no announcements. Photo courtesy of the Hartford Wolf Pack.

 

Martin St. Louis was one of the skaters on the ice this morning, so he will be in the lineup tonight. Which is great news, considering how well he has been playing lately. St. Louis has come alive after ending his goal drought, scoring four goals in the last four games, and has seven points (4-3-7) in the past five games. He played extremely well on Sunday, and is known to score in streaks, so tonight may be his night again.

If Rick Nash is available tonight, he will obviously be a big impact player. Nash did not have a point on Sunday, an occurrence that doesn’t happen all that often for Nash. He doesn’t stay off the scoresheet for long, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he scored on Ramo for a third time this season. Nash leads the NHL in goals on home ice, with 19, and leads the league in even strength goals, with 28.

Kevin Hayes will be playing against his good friend Johnny Gaudreau, so there may be an extra incentive to showcase his skills tonight. Hayes scored on Sunday, his 11th of the season, and his fourth goal in the last seven games. Hayes and Hagelin have been playing tremendous hockey lately, building chemistry and playing very well together.

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Kevin Hayes scored his 11th goal of the season against Columbus, and will look to stay hot tonight against the Flames and his former teammate, Johnny Gaudreau. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

 

Derek Stepan is also hot right now, recording nine points in his last five games, and his two assist game on Sunday was his fourth multipoint game in the last five matches. Stepan has 43 points (11-32-43) in just 43 games, and with a red-hot St. Louis by his side, has a good shot of picking up a point or two tonight.

With the power play not converting on their last 13 opportunities, Vigneault shook up the units for tonight’s game. This is what was used at practice; Dan Boyle-Martin St. Louis-Rick Nash-Derick Brassard-Derek Stepan, Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi-Chris Kreider-JT Miller-Mats Zuccarello.

The Rangers and the Flames will face off at 7 PM tonight at Madison Square Garden. The game will be broadcasted on MSG Network.

NO EXPECTED LINEUPS

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Posted on February 24, 2015, in Game Previews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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