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Following win over Ducks, Rangers continue Cali road trip against Kings

Bobby Bevilacqua

Rangers vs Kings 3-24

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

Despite getting dominated in possession and getting worked over by the Ducks, the Rangers (40-23-7) picked up their 40th win of the season with a tightly contested 2-1 win, with Kevin Klein recording his first career two goal game. Now they continue their road trip on the west coast against the Pacific Division leading Kings.

Against Anaheim, the Rangers did not play their best game. They played a resolute style of defensive play, but the same problems that have plagued them recently continued to affect the game. Turnovers and careless play, poor transition, and more. You know the script. In fact, it took 19:30 for the Rangers to have a successful carry into the Ducks zone. That’s not good. The team as a whole was a -18 in corsi for, with Dan Girardi (-14) and Tanner Glass (-13) finishing worse in individual possession. Only three players finished positive in corsi for.

But they found a way to win. That seems to be the script for the season. The Rangers play alright, go dormant for a few stretches, and get bailed out at times by goaltending or lucky bounces, or simply outscoring the opponent. Needless to say, it’s an unsustainable type of hockey that probably won’t be a winning style of hockey in the playoffs.

Things don’t get easier as they take on the Los Angeles Kings for the second time this season. The Rangers lost in frustrating fashion to the Kings at Madison Square Garden on February 12th, falling in overtime after Anze Kopitar scored with 29.7 seconds remaining in regulation. Kevin Hayes, Mats Zuccarello and Derek Stepan each picked up a goal and an assist, and Viktor Stalberg also found the back of the net. The Rangers have earned a point in their last three trips to the Staples Center (2-0-1).

Jonathan Quick is the expected starter for the Kings, looking to build on an already strong season. Quick posted a shutout in his last start, stopping all 32 shots he faced. He’s 35-17-4 with a 2.14 GAA and a .921 save percentage.

Tyler Toffoli is en route to the best season of his career, posting a career high in goals (26) and leading the team in that category. He’s a point shy of equaling his career high total of 48 points. Nine of his goals are on the power play, four have been game winners, and he’s scored in two straight games.

Milan Lucic has been playing excellent hockey as of late, enjoying a strong first season out in California. Known for his aggressive game and physical brand of hockey, Lucic is feared for his scoring ability just as much as his ability to lay a huge hit. Lucic is riding a seven game point streak (3-6-9) and has 45 points (17-28-45) in 68 games. He’s also a tremendous possession forward, owning a 59.15 Corsi for percentage. Watch out for him.

After getting the night off, Henrik Lundqvist will be back in net for the Rangers. Hank has lost his last three starts, allowing three or more goals in all of the games. However, he’s been excellent against the Kings recently, with a 1.01 GAA and .966 SV% in his last two appearances.

Like the Ducks, the Kings play a physical brand of hockey due their large group of forwards. So like last night, Alain Vigneault will use his fourth line extensively. Tanner Glass, Dominic Moore and Viktor Stalberg all played over 11 minutes, with Glass getting the primary assist on the game tying goal. Glass actually has three points in the last nine games (2-1-3), which is half of his point total from last season. Hopefully this line combination does well and works tonight.

Keith Yandle is the only Rangers defenseman with 40 points this season, scoring five goals and tallying 35 assists this season. He has a point in eight of the last 12 games against the Kings, with 13 points (3-10-13) in that span. In 40 career games against the Kings, he has 25 points (5-20-25).

The Rangers and the Kings will faceoff at the Staples Center at 10:30 PM. The game will be broadcasted on MSG.

EXPECTED LINES

Rick Nash-Derick Brassard-Mats Zuccarello

Chris Kreider-Derek Stepan-Jesper Fast

JT Miller-Eric Staal-Kevin Hayes

Tanner Glass-Dominic Moore-Viktor Stalberg

Ryan McDonagh-Kevin Klein

Keith Yandle-Dan Girardi

Marc Staal-Dan Boyle

Henrik Lundqvist

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Posted on March 17, 2016, in Game Previews, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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