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Rangers aim for seventh straight win against Blues; Dom Moore OUT

Bobby Bevilacqua

Rangers celebrate a goal 11-6

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

The start to the Rangers (11-2-2) has been historic, tying a franchise record for wins and points through the first 15 games of the season and carrying a 10 game point streak (8-0-2) and a six game win streak into tonight’s game against the St. Louis Blues (11-3-1) at Madison Square Garden.

New York and St. Louis have established themselves as consistent contenders over the past few years, finishing near the top of their respective divisions. That sets the scene for some very competitive games in recent seasons.

This is the first of two meetings between the Rangers and Blues this season, with the second game coming on February 25th in St. Louis. The teams split the two games last year, with the road team winning in both games. Both contests were also decided by one goal.

The Blues are coming into the Garden as winners of three straight games, shutting out the New Jersey Devils 2-0 in Newark. Jake Allen has taken over the starting goaltender role, posting a shutout streak of 165:59 as well as back-to-back shutouts. He’s allowed one goal in the last three starts, turning away 97 of 98 shots. Allen has allowed two goals or fewer in his last seven starts, posting a 6-1-0 record, a 0.88 GAA, a .971 save percentage and three shutouts.

The Blues are led on offense by Alexander Steen and Vladimir Tarasenko, who both lead the team with 13 points. Steen leads the team with eight goals, including three in the last three games, while Tarasenko is not far behind with seven.

They have some good depth players, including former Capital Troy Brouwer (3-8-11). Scott Gomez turned his successful stint with the Devils into a contract with St. Louis, tallying a goal and six assists in 10 games.

When Jake Allen was busy shutting out the Nashville Predators, Antti Raanta came four seconds short of a shutout against the Coyotes. Henrik Lundqvist picked up his first shutout of the season the same night Allen picked up his third.

The Rangers come into the game with the lowest team goals against average, a mind-blowing 1.60, while the Blues are fourth in the league with a 2.07. Both teams are pretty good defensive team, but most of the Rangers success comes because of Lundqvist. He’s faced the most shots against in the league, yet still managed to allow two goals or less in 11 of his 12 starts.

henrik lundqvist front shot 9-30

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

Rick Nash emphatically marked his return to the lineup with an assist and his second goal of the season, his first non-empty netter. Nash was long overdue for a goal, and if he can continue to play up to par, Nash alongside Derick Brassard and Mats Zuccarello will be hard to stop.

There is no change in the lineup, which means that veteran forward Dominic Moore will be a healthy scratch for the second straight game. After playing all 82 regular season game and all 19 playoff games, he now finds himself on the outside looking in.

Vigneault did say that he wanted to try out Jarret Stoll at center rather than on the wing. It also means that Emerson Etem stays in the lineup. Etem isn’t the prototypical fourth liner, so unless he moves to the third line, I don’t see how this move makes the lineup better. Moore has been one of the most reliable and steady forwards over the past two years.

dominic moore full body 10-22

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

Despite his removal from the lineup, New York’s penalty kill has been incredible, propelling themselves to fifth in the NHL, allowing just six goals in 50 opportunities for an 88 percent success rate. They’re just 0.9 percent out of second place.

The Rangers and the Blues will faceoff at 7 PM at Madison Square Garden. The game will be broadcasted on MSG Network.

TONIGHT’S LINEUP

Rick Nash-Derick Brassard-Mats Zuccarello

Chris Kreider-Derek Stepan-JT Miller

Oscar Lindberg-Kevin Hayes-Viktor Stalberg

Emerson Etem-Jarret Stoll-Jesper Fast

Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi

Marc Staal-Dan Boyle

Keith Yandle-Kevin Klein

Henrik Lundqvist

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Posted on November 12, 2015, in Game Previews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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