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Category: Game Thread

Game 11: Preseason lineups against the Blues

Photo by Scott Rovak/NHLI via Getty Images

Photo by Scott Rovak/NHLI via Getty Images

The New York Rangers and St. Louis Blues are at it again tonight for the second and final time this season, but it sure won’t look like it on the ice. The Rangers are missing 66% of their starting blue line, and the Blues have all come down with a bacterial infection that has half the lineup out. It will be a battle of the preseason rosters for teams that have issues scoring tonight, so naturally there are going to be 11 goals scored tonight.

On the ice, Ken Hitchcock has the Blues running an aggressive 2-1-2 overload forecheck, but tend to switch to a 1-2-2 with a lead late in the period, though the way the Rangers are playing there’s probably no point on sitting back. They are fairly aggressive when it comes to defensive zone schemes, playing an overload style and collapsing down when the puck is down low. Their power play strategy is a 1-3-1, and their penalty kill formation is a hybrid.

Rangers lineup (Zucc is a game time decision):

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Game 10: Winnipeg gonna Winnipeg

JOHN WOODS / THE CANADIAN PRESS

JOHN WOODS / THE CANADIAN PRESS

The Winnipeg Jets are in town tonight, and the Rangers are “fresh” off a five goal third period that led to a win over a good Minnesota Wild team. Four days after that, Ondrej Pavelec will try to keep the Rangers at bay. Naturally, since it’s the Jets before the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday, this has the potential to be a trap game. The Jets aren’t good, the Leafs are a conference opponent.

Suit’s system preview:

The Jets play a 1-2-2 forecheck which can be used aggressively or conservatively depending on game situation (e.g., puck location, matchup, time left on the clock, score, etc.). In the defensive zone, the Jets play a zone defense, with five skaters getting sticks and bodies in lanes.

On special teams, the Jets play an umbrella PP and will look to crash the net after a shot. On the PK, the Jets play a rotating box and look to defend homeplate. For more on the systems, click here.

Rangers lineup:

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Game 9: Rebound against the Wild

I felt like finding the most dated picture I could.

Well this is awkward.  (Jim McIsaac/Getty Images North America).

The Minnesota Wild are in town tonight to take on our New York Rangers. These aren’t the Wild you’re used to though, this club has allowed just nine goals (22.2 shots against/game) this season. Darcy Kuemper already has three shutouts (and an unsustainable .967 SV%), and the team plays incredible defense. The good news: Even the Rangers score more than them (16 goals so far). I’m expecting this to be a low scoring affair, so this game will wind up being 7-6 or something.

Under Mike Yeo, the Wild run a 1-2-2 forecheck which they use aggressively or conservatively depending on game situation. In the defensive zone they play a zone D pretty much exclusively. The Wild prefer to attack the blue line with speed so the Rangers are going to have to be good defending the rush tonight and not leaving Hank on an island. On special teams, the Wild run an umbrella power play and a diamond force penalty kill.

Rangers lineup (unconfirmed):

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Game 8: Keep the streak going in Montreal

Photo: AP

Photo: AP

The Rangers are in Montreal tonight, looking to make it four wins in a row after dropping three straight. The Canadiens say they have moved on from their playoff defeat at the hands of the Rangers, but I’m sure there will be some guys looking for some form of revenge against infamous goalie-runner Chris Kreider. Henrik Lundqvist gets the start, after seemingly conquering his demons in that playoff run.

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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Game 7: Start a winning streak vs NJ

Photo: LoHud

Photo: LoHud

After a three game losing streak, the Rangers have won two in a row, with one coming against a powerhouse team in the San Jose Sharks. Tonight, the suddenly-able-to-score New Jersey Devils are hosting our New York Rangers. The Devs have scored 17 goals in their first five games this year, but have allowed 16 goals. Cory Schneider is a rock in net, but the defense in front of him is suspect at best. Exploiting the defense will be the key to success tonight.

Pete DeBoer has the Devils playing a 1-2-2 forecheck which they’ll use aggressively in the offensive zone or passively in the neutral zone as a trap depending on game situation. In the defensive zone, Deboer employs a hybrid overload/zone defensive system depending on whether the puck is along the boards or at mid-ice. On special teams, the Devils employ an umbrella/1-3-1 power playOn the penalty kill, the Devs rotate between a box and a diamond depending on puck location and the setup of the opposition.

Rangers lineup:

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Game 6: The Sharks, one of the West’s best

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

After a much-needed win against the woeful Carolina Hurricanes, the San Jose Sharks –one of the Western Conference’s best– is coming to town for an afternoon showdown with the New York Rangers. The Sharks are 4-0-1 to start the season, riding hot goaltending and absurd scoring (20 goals so far). The Sharks, particularly Tomas Hertl, gained fame last year among Rangers fans by deking Martin Biron into retirement. That won’t happen today (he can’t retire again), but the Rangers need to avoid that same kind of embarrassment, preferably with a big W.

On the ice, coach Todd McLellan has his Sharks mostly running an aggressive 2-1-2 forecheck, but will mix in some 1-2-2 depending on game situation. In the defensive zone schemes they overload the boards and play zone defense when the puck is at the points or down low. The power play is a 1-3-1 and their penalty kill formations are hybrid (depends on puck location/opposition setup).

Rangers lineup:

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Game 5: Needing to beat a bad Carolina team

stepan-5-on-3-goal-vs.-car-594x360

Courtesy of LoHud

It’s too early in the season to call a game a must win, but the Rangers could really use a dominant showing against the woeful Carolina Hurricanes tonight. The Canes are without brothers Staal, Jeff Skinner, and Andrej Sekera. Considering the team really wasn’t that good to begin with, missing four of their top players means these are two points the Rangers should grab.

I haven’t watched a Canes game since Bill Peters was hired as their head coach, so I don’t know much about what they do on the ice. However, they are missing four top guys, so it may even be tough to get a gauge on them tonight too. On the bright side, since Eric and Jordan are out, we may not be subjected to countless Staal’s are brothers references.

Rangers lineup:

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Game 4: Halt the skid against the Fishsticks

Been a while since a game between these two meant something.

Oh hey, a meaningful game in this rivalry. Novel concept.

The Rangers were pretty bad in the last two games, blowing defensive assignments like they were getting paid to. Now, the Islanders, off to a good start, are in town to renew a rivalry that should see both teams in the playoffs in April. Alain Vigneault has switched up the lines a bit in response to the poor performance, as Mats Zuccarello will return to the lineup and Ryan Malone will make his Rangers debut. J.T. Miller and Jesper Fast will be the healthy scratches.

The Isles run a 1-2-2 forecheck, which they use to counter other teams mistakes. In the defensive zone, the Isles like to pressure the point, playing man-on-man up high. Look for blown coverages as the young Isles team still learns to play without the puck. On special teams, the Isles run an umbrella powerplay and a diamond penalty kill.

Rangers lineup:

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Game 3: The home opener vs Toronto

Photo by Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images

Photo by Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images

After a strong start in St. Louis, the Rangers followed suit with a poor showing in Columbus, and now come home for their home opener against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Leafs made #fancystats headlines when they hired Kyle Dubas, Darryl Metcalf (ExtraSkater) and two others to head up their new analytics department. They are off to a slow start though, getting outscored 9-5 in two home losses.

On the ice, the Leafs mostly rotate between an aggressive 1-2-2 forecheck  and a passive 1-2-2. However, they’ll also mix in a 2-1-2 forecheck on occassion depending on game situation. In the defensive zone, the Leafs generally play a collapsing box, which will leave the point men open for opportunities. Their powerplay (umbrella) is fairly standard. On the kill, the Leafs will rotate between PK strategies depending on opposition setup.

Rangers lineup:

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Game 2: Make it 2-0 to start the season against shorthanded Blue Jackets

Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

The Rangers are in Columbus tonight to take on the Blue Jackets, who are without a lot of players. Nathan Horton, Brandon Dubinsky, and Boone Jenner are all on IR for the Jackets, and Ryan Johansen didn’t participate in camp or preseason. This is a depleted Blue Jackets squad that, regardless, should make the playoffs. Now is the time to get points against them.

Under Todd Richards, the Blue Jackets run a 2-1-2 forecheck, but with less active defensemen and a lot of dump and chase. In the DZ, CBJ uses a low zone collapse, taking out shooting lanes and protecting the house. On special teams, they run a 1-3-1 power play, and a box penalty kill.

Rangers lineup:

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