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Rangers look to continue historic start in Ottawa; Moore back in the lineup

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers vs senators 1-20

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

After a thrilling game against the St. Louis Blues, The Rangers (12-2-2) put their season best seven game win streak on the line when they head up north to take on the Ottawa Senators (8-5-3) for the first time this season.

Both teams are playing well up to this point, as the Rangers sit atop the Metropolitan Division and the Senators hold a slight lead for second place in the Atlantic Division. Ottawa has taken advantage of Tampa Bay and Detroit’s struggles, going 5-2-1 in their last eight games.

The Rangers are the hottest team in the NHL. They haven’t lost in regulation in over a month, recording a point in 11 straight games (9-0-2). They’ve set a new franchise record for wins through the first 16 games (12), and their 26 points tied a franchise record for their best start to the season.

Both teams are also excellent offensively. New York has scored 51 goals this season and an average of 3.2 goals per game, good enough for fourth in the league. Ottawa isn’t far behind, scoring 50 goals in 16 games.

The stark difference is the amount of goals given up. The Rangers have established themselves as one of the premier defensive teams in the league, mostly thanks to Henrik Lundqvist. They’ve given up just 28 goals for a +23 goal differential. They’re allowing an average of 1.7 goals against per game, which is first in the league.

Henrik Lundqvist around the world save 10-10

Oh Henrik, you continue to impress the hockey world. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

The Senators have given up 51 goals for a -1 differential. If the Rangers can exploit this and continue their good goaltending, they’ll have a good shot at winning.

When the Senators made their amazing run to the playoffs last season, Andrew Hammond, “The Hamburglar,” was in net for almost all of it. This year, Craig Anderson has taken over as the primary goaltender, making 11 start and posting a 6-4-1 record, a 3.12 GAA and a .907 goal percentage. I’d expect him to start, but Hammond (2-0-2, 2.42, .930) will back him up and is an option.

Pacing the Senators on offense is their captain, Erik Karlsson, arguably the best offensive defenseman in the league. Karlsson already has tallied 16 points (2-14-16) and seems well on his way towards another 60 point season.

Calder Trophy finalist Mark Stone has carried his success over into this season, starting off with three goals and 12 assists. Bobby Ryan is off to a great start with 14 points (6-8-14), and Kyle Turris leads the team with eight goals.

The Rangers are expected to start Henrik Lundqvist, who is coming off of a 31 save performance in the win over St. Louis. He allowed three goals for just the second time in 13 starts, and he is now 9-2-2 with a 1.76 GAA and a .946 save percentage.

Mats Zuccarello is the best player on this team not name Henrik Lundqvist. Yes Rick Nash is excellent, but Zuccarello is the glue that holds everything together. Through 16 games, he already has 15 points, as well as eight goals. He’s shooting more, jumpstarting the offense and proving that he’s a top line player. His vision and passing is incredible, and his skillset is evident from his three point performance against St. Louis. Expect him to be a focal point of this offense.

mats zuccarello smiling 9-30

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

His linemate Derick Brassard will be skating in his 500th career NHL game today not too far from his hometown in Quebec, meaning he’ll have a lot support in the stands. Since coming to New York, Brassard has recorded 128 points in 190 regular season games, and he’s second on the team in scoring with 12 points (4-8-12), including nine points in his last eight games. Brassard is just three points shy of 300 for his career.

The only lineup change comes on the fourth line, with Dominic Moore coming back into the lineup for Emerson Etem. Moore was a healthy scratch the last two game while Jarret Stoll got a chance to play center. The fourth line has been good as of late, with Jesper Fast providing some offense.

Dylan McIlrath remains a healthy scratch.

The Rangers and the Senators will faceoff at the Canadian Tire Center at 1 PM. The game will be broadcasted on MSG Network.

EXPECTED LINES

Rick Nash-Derick Brassard-Mats Zuccarello

Chris Kreider-Derek Stepan-JT Miller

Oscar Lindberg-Kevin Hayes-Viktor Stalberg

Jarret Stoll-Dominic Moore-Jesper Fast

Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi

Marc Staal-Dan Boyle

Keith Yandle-Kevin Klein

Henrik Lundqvist

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Posted on November 14, 2015, in Game Previews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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