Rangers back home for game against Jagr and the Panthers; Talbot back in net
After a successful road trip, the Rangers (43-17-7) are back on home ice where they will take on the Florida Panthers for the third and final time this season. New York is hoping to extend their win streak to five games, as well as extend their lead over the Islanders to five points.
The last time that these two teams faced off was on February 2nd in New York, with the Rangers skating away with a 6-3 victory. Rick Nash scored twice, Mats Zuccarello had a goal and an assist, and Kevin Hayes, Marc Staal, and Dan Boyle also found the back of the net.
Both teams also played last night, and won. Mackenzie Skapski earned his first career shutout in a 2-0 win over the Sabres, and Dan Ellis of the Panthers shut out the Carolina Hurricanes during a 2-0 Panthers victory.
Florida has been without both Roberto Luongo and Al Montoya for the last four games, as both of them were injured in a March 3rd game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. However, there is a chance that the Panthers could get the All Star Luongo back in net for tonight’s game. If he is not ready, Dan Ellis would likely be back in net for Florida. Ellis has played very well in his four starts, posting a 3-0-1 record with a 1.92 GAA and a .925 save percentage.
Nick Bjugstad has been the Cats leading scorer all season long, tied for first on the team with 41 points, and leading the team with 24 goals. Jonathan Huberdeau also has 41 points (11-30-41) this season.
Newly acquired Jaromir Jagr, the former Rangers captain, has fit in very nicely with the Panthers, picking up five points (1-4-5) in his six games there. Alongside the 19 year old Aleksander Barkov and Huberdeau, Jagr remains a threat to score, and is a great possession player.
Brandon Pirri is the hottest player for Florida, scoring 11 goals in his last 16 games. Pirri is a sniper, and will be the one taking one-timers on the power play.
With a 13-1-3 record in the last 17 games, a lot has been going right for the Rangers, with contributions coming all over the ice. The defense has been tremendous, the goaltending has been superb, and all four lines have contributed during the streak.
Cam Talbot will be back in net for the Rangers after getting the night off on Saturday. Talbot has started 17 of the Rangers 19 games without Lundqvist, posting a 12-2-3 record in that span. Talbot is 7-1-1 in his last nine starts with a 1.54 GAA, a .948 save percentage, and two shutouts. In his last five, he’s 4-0-1 with a .99 GAA, and .966 save percentage, and one shutout.
New York continues to get goals from the back end, and it was Keith Yandle scoring his first goal as a Ranger last night, netting the game winner in the third period. Now that he’s gotten the first goal out of the way, it will hopefully lead to more confidence and more shots from the blue line.
With Kevin Klein out for the next 3-4 weeks, Matt Hunwick becomes an important player for the Rangers. In his first game back last night, Hunwick played very well last night, joining the rush and playing solid defense alongside Keith Yandle.
Chris Kreider had a really solid game last night, and Martin St. Louis had a goal and an assist, giving him three points (2-1-3) in the last two games. St. Louis is a very streaky player, so I’m guessing the streak will continue tonight. On the other hand, Derek Stepan has now gone pointless in nine straight games, and needs to get going again.
Kevin Hayes will be facing his brother, Jimmy Hayes, tonight, and they have both scored at least once when these two teams face off. Hayes’ linemate JT Miller is continuing to grow as a two way player, and is playing in his 100th career NHL game tonight. Miller is my player to watch in tonight’s game.
There is no morning practice today, so Vigneault won’t address the media until later. I would expect James Sheppard to get back in the lineup in place of Tanner Glass.
The Rangers and the Panthers will faceoff at 5 PM at Madison Square Garden. The game will be broadcasted on MSG Network.
EXPECTED LINES (Not Confirmed)
Rick Nash-Derick Brassard-Mats Zuccarello
Chris Kreider-Derek Stepan-Martin St. Louis
Carl Hagelin-Kevin Hayes-JT Miller
James Sheppard-Dominic Moore-Jesper Fast
Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi
Marc Staal-Dan Boyle
Keith Yandle-Matt Hunwick
Posted on March 15, 2015, in Game Previews and tagged Alain Vigneault, Buffalo Sabres, Cam Talbot, Carl Hagelin, Chris Kreider, Dan Boyle, Dan Girardi, Derek Stepan, Derick Brassard, Dominic Moore, Florida Panthers, Glass, Henrik Lundqvist, Islanders, Jaromir Jagr, Jesper Fast, JT Miller, Kevin Hayes, Kevin Klein, King Henrik, Mackenzie Skapski, Madison Square Garden, Marc Staal, Martin St. Louis, Mats Zuccarello, Matt Hunwick, MSG, MSL, New York Rangers, NHL, NHL 2014-2015 Season, Nick Bjugstad, NY Rangers, NYR, Rangers, Rangers Nation, Rangerstown, Rick Nash, Ryan McDonagh, Tanner Glass, The Ranger Zone, Zuccarello. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.