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Rangers head to Rogers Place for the first time against Edmonton

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers-vs-oilers-11-3

Following a 4-1 win over Calgary to begin their road trip, the Rangers (11-4-0) will finish off their back-to-back series tonight against the Edmonton Oilers (9-5-1) when they head to the new Rogers Place for the first time.

The Rangers offense was back to normal again despite only managing 28 shots on goal, scoring four against Brian Elliot and the Flames and getting an outstanding performance from Henrik Lundqvist, who stopped 35 shots. Michael Grabner, Derek Stepan, Jimmy Vesey and Pavel Buchnevich scored for New York, and 10 players recorded a point.

The Oilers have lost their last two games, one goal defeats against the Penguins and the Stars, but still sit atop the Pacific Division with 19 points. Read the rest of this entry

Rangers welcome Talbot and McDavid to MSG to close out homestand

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers-vs-oilers-12-11

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

The Rangers (7-3-0) will look to sweep their three game homestand tonight when they take on the surprisingly good Edmonton Oilers (7-2-1) for the first time this season.

The Rangers have won the first two games of this homestand by a combined score of 11-1, recording the first shutout of the season Tuesday night against the Blues thanks to Henrik Lundqvist’s 35 save performance.

This is the first matchup between the Rangers and the Oilers this season, and the only one at Madison Square Garden. The teams split the season series last year, with the home team winning each game. The Rangers scored at least four goals in each of the games and a total of nine. Rick Nash led the team with five points (2-3-5) while Mats Zuccarello tallied a pair of goals and assists. Read the rest of this entry

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

Raanta starts in net for the first time in a month as the Ranger battle the Kings

Bobby Bevilacqua

Rangers vs Kings 3-24

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

The Rangers (31-18-5) are finally back on their feet and playing consistently, and they kick off a three game home stand tonight against the Los Angeles Kings (32-18-3).

Wednesday night’s game against the Penguins marked the fourth straight win for the Rangers, their longest win streak since they won nine games in a row back in October and November. Playing without Rick Nash and Ryan McDonagh has forced them to face the adversity and rise to the challenge, which they’ve done admirably.

This is the first of two matchups between these two teams and the only one that will take place at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers will travel to Los Angeles on March 16th for a game at the Staples Center. Last season, the teams split the season series, with the road team coming away with a 4-2 win both times. Read the rest of this entry