The New York Rangers are now winners of eight in a row. Tonight they look to make it nine in a row in Dallas, taking on a very talented Stars team. Despite the obvious talent up front, Dallas has been undone by awful goaltending and a porous defense. Only two teams –Edmonton and Buffalo, both lottery teams– have allowed more goals than the Stars. They are dangerous up front though, and that always makes them a threat to steal a game here and there.
Lindy Ruff is in his second year coaching the Stars after being fired by the Sabres last year. Ruff has the Stars playing an overload 1-2-2 forecheck which can be deployed aggressively or conservatively depending on the game situation (e.g., time left in period, score, etc.).
In the defensive zone, Dallas tends to overload when the puck is along the boards, but they’ll switch to a zone defense when the puck is at the points. The Stars also run a variation of a 1-3-1 power play and diamond/box hybrid penalty kill. These are familiar styles of play that the Rangers should be used to at this point.
What have they done lately?
The Stars have been playing slightly above .500 hockey at 6-4-0 this month, but have allowed 3.2 G/G in that stretch. They are already ten points back of the fourth place Winnipeg Jets, and are not going to make the playoffs this season. Despite their atrocious defense, Dallas has solid possession numbers (rolling five game average below).
They also have an average PDO, meaning the Stars haven’t been the benefactors of good luck or been hurt by bad luck over the course of the season:
With Dallas, what you see is what you get: A very talented and offensively gifted team that has been destroyed by bad goaltending and defense. If the Rangers can exploit that, then they will come away with the W. However, this is the game I fear breaks their streak, because of that talent.
Henrik Lundqvist is in net tonight.
Be sure to check out our ticket link if you’re looking for tickets to the game.
Game time is 8:30pm on MSG.