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Rangers head back home to take on the league leading Anaheim Ducks

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers vs ducks

The Rangers and the Ducks, two of the league’s best teams, face off tonight at 7:30 PM at MSG. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Following a very close game against Carolina, the Rangers (45-18-7) are back at Madison Square Garden where they will take on a well-rested Anaheim Ducks (46-20-7) for the last time this season, with both teams in the race for the President’s trophy.

The Rangers did not have a great effort last night, but managed to escape with two points in a shootout win over the Hurricanes, despite, getting outplayed for large portions of the game. But good teams find ways to win, and that is what New York has continued to do despite not playing at their best in the month of March.

“The last couple of weeks we haven’t played our best hockey, but we’ve still managed to win,” said Mats Zuccarello following his shootout winner last night. “That shows that we’re a good team. Hopefully we can come back to playing our style now.” The Blueshirts are 15-2-2 in their last 19, and their success has propelled them into first place in the Metropolitan division.

Anaheim also leads their respective division, and is coming into the game tonight with a four game win streak, as well as an 11-4 record in their past 15 games. The Ducks have been resilient, scoring 29 third period goals in those 15 games. In their last win, an overtime victory against the Colorado Avalanche, the Ducks overcame a 2-1 third period lead. It marked the 17th time this season that the Ducks have overcome a third period lead and won.

Corey Perry scored the overtime winner in that one, and he forms just one third of the Ducks dangerous top line. Perry has missed 15 games this season, but has 48 points (29-19-48) in the 58 games that he has played in. He plays on the same line as the captain, Ryan Getzlaf, who leads the team with 65 points (23-42-65). These two will log a lot of ice time, and can easily score when given a chance.

Anaheim’s 2012 first round pick, the 21 year old defenseman Hampus Lindholm, is having a very effective season for the Ducks. He averages nearly 22 minutes of ice time per game, is third on the team with 26 assists, and sixth on the team with 33 points. Lindholm has a +24 rating, tied with Rick Nash and Kevin Klein for eighth in the NHL.

Frederick Anderson will likely be the goalie for the Ducks tonight. Anderson is having a solid season, posting a 31-10-5 record with a 2.36 GAA and a .915 save percentage. He’s done a solid job as the team’s starter, and is enjoying the best season of his young career.

No goalie has been confirmed for the Rangers, but I would guess that Talbot gets the start despite the very heavy workload this upcoming week. Talbot was really good last night, stopping 28 shots for his 18th win of the season. In his last eight starts, Talbot is 6-1-1 with a 1.11 GAA and a .963 save percentage.

cam talbot and stepan 3-10

Cam Talbot was very good again last night, making 28 saves for his eighteenth win of the season, and improving his record to 14-3-3 as a starter. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

 

The Rangers got major contributions from their top line when these two teams last met, with New York winning by a score off 4-1. Rick Nash, Derick Brassard and Mats Zuccarello all scored in that game at even strength. These three are also all in goal scoring droughts, although Brassard and Zuccarello have been consistently racking up assists. I think one of them will snap that goal drought tonight.

The Third line continues to be the Rangers best line this month, with Kevin Hayes continuing to impress in his rookie season at center. Hayes and Hagelin have worked well all season long, and Jesper Fast was New York’s best player last night. Hayes now has 33 points (13-20-33) this season, and gets better and better with each game.

Dominic Moore is easily one of the team’s unsung heroes. Not only is he an excellent defensive player and penalty killer, he’s pretty crafty offensively, and is having a solid season, tallying 21 points (6-15-21). Moore and Sheppard seem to have some chemistry on the fourth line, and even Tanner Glass is finding ways to forecheck, get the puck deep and apply pressure. The bottom line has been really good for over a month now, and has been doing everything right. Dominic Moore and the rest of the fourth line are my key to tonight’s game.

dominic moore hi five line 3-2

Dominic Moore has been a strong fourth line presence, killing penalties and providing solid production for the bottom six. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

 

The Rangers and Ducks will face off at Madison Square Garden at 7:30 PM. The game will be broadcasted on NBCSN.

EXPECTED LINES (Not Confirmed)

Chris Kreider-Derek Stepan-Rick Nash

JT Miller-Derick Brassard-Mats Zuccarello

Carl Hagelin-Kevin Hayes-Jesper Fast

Tanner Glass-Dominic Moore-James Sheppard

Marc Staal-Ryan McDonagh

Keith Yandle-Dan Girardi

Matt Hunwick-Dan Boyle

Cam Talbot

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Posted on March 22, 2015, in Game Previews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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