Opponent: Ottawa Senators
Leading Scorer: Jason Spezza (5-8-13)
Goaltender: Craig Anderson (3.66 GAA, .880 SV%)
Preview: So the Rangers had a clunker on Thursday’s home opener against the Leafs, and Lundqvist had a bad game. They are forgiven. The Senators are not the Leafs. They are not off to a hot start (aside from Spezza), and the team is incredibly flawed. The goaltending is weak as well. Peppering Craig Anderson with shots is a good way for the Rangers to get up early and maintain the lead. The defense should be able to shut down Spezza, who has little help with him. Control the puck, control the play, and walk away with a W.
Suit’s Take: The Senators like to plug up the neutral zone in that 1-2-2 hybrid trap formation. Getting the puck deep and working the forecheck is going to be the key to generating offense. Since the Sens play a more conservative game, it will be very important to establishing an early lead. By doing so, it will force them to open up and get away from their game plan.
As far as the lines are concerned, Richards (via Larry Brooks) said he doesn’t feel his playing has been up to snuff yet. Richards and Torts both believe that grinding it out first will help him get going. This is why he’s on a line with Cally and Dubi to start the game. I think Brad and John know each other inside and out and are very comfortable with each other. To have your star and your coach on the same page will only pay dividends down the road.
As for our defense, the Blueshirts blueline had some issues with the Leafs speed the other night. If they want to avoid repeating those mistakes – the Sens boast some upfront speed as well – then the defense must maintain much better gap control.
Crazy Thought: Dubisnky doesn’t take a lazy stick penalty.
Opponent’s Blog: Silver Seven
Today’s game is on at 3:00pm on MSG, AM1050, and XM92.