Rangers host the Hurricanes again at MSG; Miller hurt, but expected to play

Bobby Bevilacqua


Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

The Rangers (16-8-1), coming off of a truly disappointing loss to the Buffalo Sabres, will be hasting the Carolina Hurricanes (9-9-5) at Madison Square Garden for the second time in five days.

The Rangers held a 3-2 lead in that game against Buffalo, but surrendered two late goals to Jack Eichel and lost in one of the worst performances of the season. The Hurricanes lost their last game in a shootout, 2-1, getting a goal from Noah Hanifin and 31 saves from Cam Ward.

The Rangers are in a really rough patch, wining just three of their last eight games and playing some of their worst hockey of the season at points. A game against Carolina, who are winless in their last 12 games at MSG, could be what the Rangers needed. But the Hurricanes did win one of the games earlier this year, and are not pushovers. The Canes have lost two straight one goal games, and they will be pushing hard to get back in the win column.

This is the third of four games between the Rangers and the Hurricanes this season, and the final game at Madison Square Garden. So far, each team has won one of the games. The Hurricanes won the first game, getting two goals from Jeff Skinner and 28 saves from Cam Ward. Mats Zuccarello scored the only two goals for the Rangers, and Henrik Lundqvist allowed three goals on 21 shots.

With the Hurricanes playing a back to back this weekend, there’s a very good chance that they use both Cam Ward and Michael Leighton this weekend. Ward is 7-7-4 with a 2.21 GAA and a .919 save percentage, while Leighton is 1-2-1 with a 3.78 GAA and a .856 save percentage.

Viktor Stalberg played an excellent game the last time that these teams faced off, scoring two goals in the first period and getting scoring chances throughout the rest of the game. Stalberg’s speed can be a tremendous threat, and he’s also a fantastic defensive forward as well.

Jeff Skinner leads the Hurricanes in scoring, tallying nine goals and 11 assists for 20 points through 22 games played. Skinner is finally getting back to form from his first few seasons in the league, and it’s been a big bonus for a Carolina team that has struggled to score.

Henrik Lundqvist is likely to start for the Rangers this afternoon. Lundqvist had an awful game against Buffalo, allowing four goals on 34 shots. Two of them were pretty bad goals to give up, including one from center ice, and he did not look comfortable in the crease, while is positioning was off. He’ll need to be much better tonight. Hank is 11-7-1 with a 2.50 GAA and a .914 save percentage.

At practice yesterday, JT Miller was given a maintenance day for a kneee injury that he suffered earlier in the week. Vigneault said that he is still dealing with some issues, but is expected to play. Kevin Klein will come in for Adam Clendening.

Dan Girardi played maybe the worst game of his career against the Sabres, recording a -28 in corsi for and making mistakes on two key goals. It’s not Girardi’s fault that he’s being used on the top pairing, that’s Alain Vigneault’s doing. But G has to perform at a much higher level, because he has been dragging down Ryan McDonagh and not performing at a level that is required of him.

Rick Nash has been playing extremely well lately, with goals in two straight games and four points (3-1-4) in the last five. Nash has been playing on a line with Kevin Hayes and Jimmy Vesey, which has probably been the Rangers’ best line. It’s helped Vesey start performing better, as Nash has been a tremendous leader this season.

The Rangers and the Hurricanes will face off at Madison Square Garden at 1 p.m. The game will be broadcasted on MSG Network.


Chris Kreider-Derek Stepan-Mats Zuccarello

Jimmy Vesey-Kevin Hayes-Rick Nash

Michael Grabner-JT Miller-Brandon Pirri

Matt Puempel-Josh Jooris-Jesper Fast

Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi

Marc Staal-Nick Holden

Brady Skei-Kevin Klein

Henrik Lundqvist

Posted on December 3, 2016, in Game Previews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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