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Kevin Hayes rejoins lineup as Rangers look to extend win streak against Anaheim

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers-vs-ducks-1-7

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

  • New York Rangers (33-18-1, 67 PTS) vs. Anaheim Ducks (28-16-10, 66 PTS)
  • The Rangers are coming off of a 4-3 win over the Calgary flames in the first game of their four game home stand. Rick Nash, Michael Grabner, Chris Kreider and Jesper Fast all scored goals and Henrik Lundqvist made 29 saves. Grabner’s goal was his 23rd, and his 22 even strength goals leads the NHL. Chris Kreider scored his 21st goal of the season, tying his career high. JT Miller picked up two assists.
  • The Ducks lost in the shootout against the Tampa Bay Lightning in their last game, giving them two straight losses and a 1-2-1 record in their last four games. Defenseman Brandon Montour scored his first career goal and Ryan Getzlaf also scored. Jonathan Bernier made 35 saves but got the loss.

THE MATCHUP

  • This is the first of two meetings between the Rangers and the Ducks and the only one at MSG. New York swept the season series last year, allowing two goals or fewer in each of the games and outscoring Anaheim 5-3. Kevin Klein tallied two goals while Mats Zuccarello had a goal and an assist.
  • The Rangers have won each of their last four games against Anaheim dating back to Jan. 7, 2015, which is the longest winning/point streak against the Ducks in franchise history. New York has outscored the Ducks 16-6 during the four game winning streak.
  • The Rangers have earned at least a point in nine of their last 12 games (8-3-1) against the Ducks dating back to Dec. 16, 2008.

ANAHEIM DUCKS

  • John Gibson is likely to get the start for Anaheim tonight. The 23 year old netminder has fully assumed the starting role after the team traded Frederick Anderson to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the offseason, and Gibson has played well in that role. So far he is 20-12-8 with a 2.27 GAA and a .921 save percentage. Gibson has allowed two goals or less in 11 of his last 12 starts dating back to Jan. 4, and has two shutouts in that span.
  • Cam Fowler was rumored to be on the trade market for a very long time and the Rangers were always linked to him. But his play this season has made him practically untradeable for the Ducks. Playing on the top defensive pairing and getting heavy minutes, Fowler has 27 points and a career high 11 goals. Five of his goals have come on the power play and he has a total of 11 power play points.
  • Ryan Kesler has always been a solid scoring center, regularly hovering around 50 points and hitting 70 points on two separate occasions. He’s excellent defensively but this year he has been the Ducks’ best scorer. Through 54 games, Kesler has a team high 42 points and is second on the team with 18 goals. He has three points, all assists, through the last three games.
  • Rickard Rakell signed a six year extension this offseason and the 23 year old has continued to grow and develop as a player. He leads the Ducks with 21 goals and has a total of 30 points. His 21 goals are a career high and he’s 13 points away from tying his career high in that category.

NEW YORK RANGERS

  • Henrik Lundqvist has made eight straight starts and will start in net tonight. Lundqvist has been good against the Ducks, with a .932 save percentage (41 saves on 44 shots) in his last two starts against them. This season he is 23-13-1 with a .907 save percentage and a 2.74 GAA.
  • Kevin Hayes rejoins the lineup tonight for the first time since Jan. 22. Prior to the injury, he had 12 points (2-10-12) in the last 11 games and has 35 points (13-22-35) this season. He’ll likely be centering JT Miller and Michael Grabner on the third line, a group that has worked very well so far.
  • Speaking of JT Miller, he did an exceptional job filling in at center, recording six points in the five games that Hayes was absent. The creativity of Miller and Hayes coupled with the speed and pure goal scoring of Grabner is a deadly combination. Miller leads the team with 40 points (16-24-40) through 52 games and leads the team with five game winning goals.
  • Skjei picked up an assist in the last game on Michael Grabner’s goal, a gorgeous pass that led to an easy tap in for Grabner. Skjei’s offensive game continues to grow and develop and he’s been much better than anticipated, with 22 points (2-20-22) already. That’s tied for second among all rookie defenseman. Despite usually not getting a lot of minutes, Skjei has made the most of the chances he has gotten.

The Rangers and the Ducks will faceoff at Madison Square Garden at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcasted on MSG Network.

EXPECTED LINEUP

Chris Kreider-Mika Zibanejad-Mats Zuccarello

Jimmy Vesey-Derek Stepan-Rick Nash

JT Miller-Kevin Hayes-Michael Grabner

Pavel Buchnevich-Matt Puempel-Jesper Fast

Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi

Marc Staal-Nick Holden

Brady Skjei-Kevin Klein

Henrik Lundqvist

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Posted on February 7, 2017, in Game Previews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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