The New York Rangers played very well yesterday afternoon against one of the best teams in the entire league, but came away with a loss. Today, they will take on a Dallas Stars team that was the offseason winner, but it hasn’t translated on the ice. Poor goaltending has done them in, as they’ve allowed a whopping 170 goals this season, mostly due to Kari Lehtonen’s .904 SV% this year, which is horrible. The Rangers, by contrast, have allowed just 120 (in two fewer games). That’s a 50 (!!) goal difference.
What they lack in defense they more than make up for in offense though. They have the league leader in points (Tyler Seguin – 59) and another player (Jamie Benn) in the top-20. They have two defensemen that are putting up ridiculous goal totals, as John Klingberg has 10 goals and Trevor Daley has 13 goals. That said, they are a bit top-heavy, as the point totals drop significantly after Seguin and Benn. This is not a team to be trifled with, if you let your guard down, they will make you pay. This is the same team that ended the Rangers eleventy-billion game winning streak.
What have they done lately?
The Stars are 4-5-1 in their last ten, and have been a solid puck possession team through this stretch. In fact, they’ve been a solid possession team throughout the season, but it’s that darn goaltending that’s killing them. That’s what makes the Stars scary for next season, because if they fix their goaltending, they will be a solid team. Their possession numbers are significantly better than the Rangers, rolling ten game average below.
But as expected, their PDO –of which SV% is the major contributor– is far below league average.
Lehtonen has been killing them, but he’s still capable of putting in a great performance here and there. After all, he stopped 26 of 28 the last time these two met. But if the Rangers want to ensure they don’t lose the season series against a last place team, they will need to pepper Lehtonen with shots from all over.
Lindy 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.
Jamie Benn-Tyler Seguin-Patrick Eaves
Erik Cole-Jason Spezza-Ales Hemsky
Antoine Roussel-Cody Eakin-Ryan Garbutt
Shawn Horcoff-Vernon Fiddler-Colton Sceviour
Alex Goligoski-John Klingberg
Jyrki Jokipakka-Trevor Daley
Jordie Benn-Jason Demers
PP1: Eaves-Spezza-Seguin-Jamie Benn-Klingberg
PK: Roussel, Fiddler, Garbutt, Eakin, Benn2, Daley, Goligoski, Demers
Kari Lehtonen gets the start.
Rangers Lines (unconfirmed)
PK: Stepan, Nash, Girardi, Staal, Moore, Fast, Hunwick, Boyle, Hagelin, Klein, McDonagh, MSL
Cam Talbot is in net.
Be sure to check out our ticket link if you’re looking for tickets to the game. Game time is 3pm on MSG.