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Category: Game Thread

Game 29: Build on the winning streak in Calgary

Photo: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images North America

Photo: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images North America

The Rangers are in Calgary tonight to take on the Flames and potentially expand their winning streak to four in a row, including a three game sweep against the Western Canadian teams. After a hot start, with equally hot goaltending from Jonas Hiller, the Flames have crashed back down to Earth, losers of six in a row. That said, the Flames possess one of the best top defensive pairings in hockey with Mark Giordano and T.J. Brodie, and have solid young talent. They lack depth, and should continue to slide out of the playoff hunt. Of course, this means trap game for the Rangers.

Bob Hartley has the Flames running a 1-2-2 forecheck that can be used aggressively or conservatively depending on the game situation (time left in period, score, puck location, etc.).  In the DZ, Calgary uses a low zone collapse, taking out shooting lanes and keeping things in tight. On special teams, they run a 1-3-1 and a diamond penalty kill.

Makes you wonder: Considering the Rangers have gotten Dan Bylsma and Dallas Eakins fired, if Calgary loses, does Hartley get fired?

Rangers lineup:

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Game 28: Build momentum in Edmonton

Photo by Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images

Photo by Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images

After a convincing 5-1 win last night in Vancouver, the Rangers are in Edmonton to take on the woeful Oilers. The Oilers are 1-8-1 in their last ten, but somehow managed to beat our Rangers at MSG last month. So despite their terrible record and the fact that they hemorrhage goals, they have enough talent to put together good games. Considering the offensive outburst last night, it’s expected that there won’t be any lineup changes.

On the forecheck the Oilers run an aggressive spread 2-1-2. The Oilers also play a man-on-man, zone defense hybrid depending on puck location. On special teams, they run a 1-3-1 power play and rotate between a box and diamond penalty kill depending on puck location.

Rangers lineup:

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Game 27: Lines shaken up in Vancouver

alain-vigneault-canucks

The New York Rangers have shaken up their lines for tonight’s late night extravaganza against the Vancouver Canucks. Tanner Glass is out, Chris Kreider is on the fourth line, and J.T. Miller will be on the second line with Martin St. Louis and Derek Stepan. We’ve been calling for Glass to sit for a while, so let’s hope it pays immediate dividends.

On the forecheck, the Canucks employ an overload 1-2-2, which is what the Rangers run. They also play a man-on-man defense depending on puck location. On special teams, they run a 1-3-1 power play and rotate between a box and diamond penalty kill depending on puck location.The Sedin twins have really clicked with Radim Vrbata for a very potent top line, and Nick Bonino –acquired in the Ryan Kesler trade– is slotting in nicely on the second line. Ex-Ranger Derek Dorsett has a line of 4-6-10, not bad.

Rangers lineup:

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Game 26: Home whites against depleted Penguins

The New York Rangers will be wearing their home whites tonight when the Pittsburgh Penguins come to town, and it will be a heavily depleted Penguins team that comes to town. The Pens will be without three of their top five scorers (Hornqvist, Kunitz, Letang), another top-four defenseman (Maata), and another top-six winger (Dupuis). If there was ever a time to beat down on a division leader, now’s the time. This is a big game for the Rangers, who need points.

The Penguins are playing a slightly different system under Mike Johnston than it did under Bylsma. Johnston has Pittsburgh running a stacked 1-2-2 forecheck, which is what AV runs. Everyone attacks and breaks-out in packs. Short, quick passes and attacking the blueline with speed is preferred over dump and chase hockey and home run passes. Pretty much everyone is playing this way now. Not much has changed in the DZ. They still run a basic zone defense, a 1-3-1 power play and a hybrid penalty kill depending on puck location. It’s a copy cat league kids.

Rangers lineup:

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Game 25: Talbot looks for third straight in Detroit

Photo: AP

Photo: AP

Cam Talbot will be in net tonight, looking for his third straight win and third straight shutout in Detroit, as the New York Rangers take on the Red Wings. The Rangers are fresh off a 6-3 loss to Tampa Bay, their third in a month, but are 6-0-1 in games where they haven’t played the Lightning, so that’s always a positive. These two teams met a month ago in New York, with the Rangers winning in overtime on a Derick Brassard powerplay goal. Hopefully their non-Tampa Bay roll will continue tonight.

Mike Babcock has his boys playing a 2-1-2 forecheck, but mix in a LW lock depending on game situation. In their own zone, Detroit plays a straight up zone defense. On the PP, the Wings employ an umbrella and a 1-3-1 formation, but will use Zetterberg as a rover. He’s all over the zone. On the penalty kill they change up their strategy depending on the opposition’s setup.

Rangers lineup:

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Game 24: Stop treating Cally like royalty, show you can beat Tampa Bay

Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images

Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images

It seems like the New York Rangers have only played two teams over the past two weeks: the Flyers and the Tampa Bay Lightning. Tonight those Lightning are in town, and are 2-0 against the good guys. The second effort was much better than the tire fire that was the first game, and this will be the first time the Rangers have Ryan McDonagh back in the lineup (of course, Victor Hedman is back for the Lightning as well).

It would be nice if the Rangers started putting bodies on their old comrades, especially Ryan Callahan. I’m a Cally fan and all, but enough is enough. He’s been treated like royalty. Put a shoulder to his chest and knock him on his butt a few times please.

Jon Cooper has the Lightning playing a pretty similar system as the Rangers. They run an overload 1-2-2 forecheck, but will mix in a 2-1-2 as well. In the defensive zone, they mix zone and overload coverage depending on puck location. On special teams, they run a 1-3-1 power play and rotate between a diamond and box penalty kill depending on opposition setup.

Rangers lineup:

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Game 23: Aim for the home-and-home sweep vs. Philly

Photo: ESPN

Photo: ESPN

After their 3-0 blanking of the Flyers yesterday afternoon, the Rangers are back home hosting those same Flyers on the back-end of a home-and-home. It’s been a while since the Rangers have played a home-and-home on back-to-back nights (usually there’s a day off between), and the Rangers could really help themselves out with another win over a division opponent.

The Flyers play a 2-1-2 forecheck, and once they get a late lead, they switch to a more conservative 1-1-3 left wing lock. In their own zone, the Flyers play a mix of zone and man-on-man defense, depending on puck location.On special teams, the Flyers run a 1-3-1 and an umbrella power play and a diamond force penalty kill with the strong side forward looking to pressure the point.

Rangers lineup:

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Game 22: Thanksgiving showdown with Philly

Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Rangers are in Philadelphia this afternoon to take on the Flyers in NBC’s kickoff show for the NHL season. The last time these two teams squared off, Cam Talbot stopped 31 shots en route to a shutout, the first of two straight for the Rangers. The Flyers have been a team in disarray this year, with a shaky blue line affecting the play of their scoring forwards. Steve Mason has also been a giant question mark in net, being as inconsistent as the team in front of him.

The Flyers play a 2-1-2 forecheck, and once they get a late lead, they switch to a more conservative 1-1-3 left wing lock. In their own zone, the Flyers play a mix of zone and man-on-man defense, depending on puck location.On special teams, the Flyers run a 1-3-1 and an umbrella power play and a diamond force penalty kill with the strong side forward looking to pressure the point.

Rangers lineup:

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Game 21: Marty returns to Tampa Bay

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

One week ago, three former Rangers made their returns to MSG wearing Tampa Bay Lightning uniforms. Tonight, Martin St. Louis, the best player in Tampa Bay history, will make his return. It’s likely that the fans will boo him, and while you can understand why, it’s really undeserving. As for the game, the Rangers are going to look to avenge the utter embarrassment that the Lightning handed them last week with that 5-1 loss. Expect a different Rangers team tonight.

Jon Cooper has the Lightning playing a pretty similar system as the Rangers. They run an overload 1-2-2 forecheck, but will mix in a 2-1-2 as well. In the defensive zone, they mix zone and overload coverage depending on puck location. On special teams, they run a 1-3-1 power play and rotate between a diamond and box penalty kill depending on opposition setup.

Rangers lineup:

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Game 20: Building on a strong win with Montreal in town

Photo: AP

Photo: AP

The Montreal Canadiens are in town tonight, as the New York Rangers are going to look to build on their solid shutout of the Philadelphia Flyers earlier in the week. The Rangers are well rested, with their Friday night game in Buffalo postponed due to biblical amounts of snow. The Habs are a solid team this year, building on their run to the Eastern Conference Finals last season, sitting atop the Atlantic Division with a 16-5-1 record. One of those wins came against the Rangers in October by a score of 3-1.

Under Michel Therrien, the Canadiens play a 1-2-2 forecheck, but do use a 2-1-2 style from time to time based on the score and puck location. Though this team prefers to want to play passive and clog up the neutral zone. Like the Rangers, Montreal’s defensive zone system is to overload when the puck is along the boards and man-on-man when the puck is down low.

What’s interesting is that Therrien has said in the past that they overload the boards because of their team size and speed (note: small and fast). On special teams, the Habs play your standard umbrella powerplayOn the penalty kill, they rotate between a diamond force and a box depending on puck location. They really look to pressure the opposition all over the ice when shorthanded.

Rangers lineup:

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