Rangers return home to take on the Panthers; Jooris could return tonight
Following a loss at the hands of the Columbus Blue Jackets to conclude their four game road trip, the Rangers (13-5-0) are back at MSG to take on the Florida Panthers (9-8-1), last season’s Atlantic Division champions.
The Rangers got goals from Mika Zibanejad and Michael Grabner but that wasn’t enough as the Blue Jackets scored late and secured a win. That was just the Rangers’ second loss in their last 10 games, and they still sit atop the Metropolitan Division Standings.
The Panthers have had a bit of a rough start to the season, tied with the Toronto Maple Leafs for fifth in their division. There’s been some injuries, underperforming and integrating new players into the roster, which takes some time. But at the center of the team is the same group of young talent that won the Atlantic last season.
This is the first of three meetings between the Rangers and the Panthers this season, and the first of two games at MSG. The Rangers went 2-1-0 last year against Florida, scoring four or more goals in two of the games. Rick Nash had four goals in the season series and Mats Zuccarello had four points (2-2-4). The Blueshirts have won their last five home games against Florida, as well as eight of their last nine games against the Panthers.
Roberto Luongo started last night, making 39 saves in the win over Ottawa. That means that James Reimer will be in net for the Panthers tonight. Reimer has had a tough start, going 2-3-1 with a 3.26 GAA and a .888 save percentage. He allowed six goals on 30 shots against the Maple Leafs in his last start.
Florida signed Jonathan Marchessault to a two-year contract with an annual salary of $750k. Now that he’s getting top six minutes, that deal is proving to be a steal. Marchessault leads the Panthers with nine goals and 15 points, and has given them an offensive force on the top line while Jonathan Huberdeau is injures. He has two goals in the last five games and will be looking to keep scoring.
Keith Yandle had a slow start in his first season in Florida, but he has picked up his scoring lately. While he is yet to record his first goal as a Panther, he has nine assists in 18 games and a +2 rating on a team with a negative goal differential. Former Ranger tend to do well when they play their old team, so we’ll see what happens.
Henrik Lundqvist will be in net for the Rangers. He had a rough night against Columbus, allowing three goals on 23 shots, but has been pretty darn good lately. In his career, Lundqvist is 22-10-1 with a 1.91 GAA, a .934 save percentage and five shutouts.
Rick Nash has been a bit quiet as of late, and tonight could be a good opportunity for him to get going again. Nash had four goals against the Panthers last season, and has six goals/points in the last five games against Florida. He’s playing with Derek Stepan, who has nine assists in the last nine games against Florida. Pretty good combination for a goal it seems.
Michael Grabner is set to rejoin the third line with JT Miller and Kevin Hayes, a trio that was dynamic in previous games. Grabner leads the team with 11 goals, while JT Miller leads the Rangers with his 17 points. Kevin Hayes has scored eight goals and 16 points while posting a +15 rating. This line will be dangerous, so watch out for them.
The Rangers and the Panthers will faceoff at Madison Square Garden at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcasted on MSG Network.
Chris Kreider-Derek Stepan-Rick Nash
Jimmy Vesey-Mika Zibanejad-Mats Zuccarello
Michael Grabner-Kevin Hayes-JT Miller
Josh Jooris-Brandon Pirri-Jesper Fast
Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi
Marc Staal-Brady Skjei
Nick Holden-Kevin Klein
Posted on November 20, 2016, in Game Previews and tagged Aaron Ekblad, Brady Skjei, Derek Stepan, Dylan McIlrath, Florida Panthers, Henrik Lundqvist, Hockey, Jaromir Jagr, Jimmy Vesey, Jonathan Marchessault, JT Miller, Keith Yandle, Kevin Hayes, Mats Zuccarello, Michael Grabner, Mika Zibanejad, New York, New York Rangers, New York Rangers blog, NHL, NYR, NYR blog, Rangers, Rangers blog, Rangers vs Panthers, Rick Nash, Ryan McDonagh, Vincent Trocheck. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.