Game Thread

Game 62: Revamped Rangers begin push against Nashville

The stretch run for the New York Rangers begins tonight, as one of the league’s best in the Nashville Predators come to town. The Rangers were the biggest players at the trade deadline, acquiring Keith Yandle and James Sheppard, while shipping out Lee Stempniak. Both Yandle and Sheppard will have a positive effect on the Rangers lineup.

The Preds were busy too, albeit much earlier than the Rangers. Since the last time these two played, the Preds got much deeper, adding Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli, while shipping out Olli Jokinen. The Preds are for real folks, and they are a fantastic team. Cam Talbot played one of his best games of the year against the Preds, and the Rangers will need that effort again tonight.

What have they done lately?

The Preds have actually lost two in a row, and are “just” 6-3-1 in their last ten games. Of course, they are 41-15-7 for the season and are the frontrunners for the President’s Trophy, so there’s that.

The Preds are one of the top possession teams in the league, but interestingly enough the Rangers have actually been one of the best since December. The difference is that the Preds have been above 50% all year, while the Rangers have had ebbs and flows in their possession.

Rangers are blue, Nashville yellow/black.
Rangers are blue, Nashville yellow/black.

As for SPSV/PDO, the Preds have Pekka Rinne, so they, like the Rangers are going to be above the league average of 100 for the most part. They had a dip –much like the Rangers are experiencing now with Hank out– when Rinne was out, but they are getting back to normal for them.

Same line colors as above.
Same line colors as above.

This is a very good team folks.

Preds Systems

Laviolette likes to have his team throw two different forechecking looks at the opposition. The first look is the 2-1-2 forecheck, and once the they get a lead, they tend to switch to a more conservative 2-3 left wing lock. Both systems send two forecheckers into the zone, but the 2-3 leaves one forward high in the zone, while the 2-1-2 sends an additional forechecker  in deep. The 2-12 also allows defensemen to join the forecheck.

In the defensive zone, the Laviolette play a low zone collapse. This creates a logjam in the high-priced real estate, but gives some leeway at the point for puck movement. On special teams, the Preds play an umbrella powerplay and a hybrid penalty kill.

Preds Lines

James Neal-Mike Ribiero-Filip Forsberg
Craig Smith-Matt Cullen-Mike Fisher
Gabriel Bourque-Paul Gaustaud-Eric Nystrom
Colin Wilson-Mike Santorelli-Calle Jarnkrok

Shea Weber-Roman Josi
Mattias Ekholm-Cody Franson
Seth Jones-Viktor Bartley

PP1: Neal-Fisher-Forsberg-Weber-Josi
PP2: Forsberg-Ribiero-Fisher-Weber-Franson

PK: Fisher, Gaustaud, Nystrom, Jarnkrok, Cullen, Bourque, Josi, Weber, Jones, Ekholm

Pekka Rinne gets the start.

Rangers Lines (unconfirmed)

Rick NashDerick BrassardMats Zuccarello
Chris KreiderDerek StepanMartin St. Louis
Carl HagelinKevin HayesJ.T. Miller
James Sheppard-Dominic Moore-Jesper Fast

Ryan McDonaghDan Girardi
Marc StaalKevin Klein
Keith Yandle-Dan Boyle

PP1: Yandle, Stepan, Nash, Brassard, Zuccarello
PP2: Boyle, McDonagh, Kreider, Hayes, MSL

PK: Stepan, Nash, Girardi, Staal, Moore, Fast, Hunwick, Boyle, Hagelin, Klein, McDonagh, MSL

Cam Talbot is in net.

Scratches/Injuries: Henrik Lundqvist (throat), Tanner Glass (healthy), Matt Hunwick (healthy)

Be sure to check out our ticket link if you’re looking for tickets to the game. Game time is 7pm on MSG.

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  • I really like the moves the Rangers made yesterday but I’m concerned about a Yandle/Boyle 3rd D pairing. Who exactly will play “D”?

  • Yes, father Dave; Preds are a monster.

    Inasmuch, their centermen aren’t really as imposing or as talented as other frontrunners. Look at ours. Far deeper, more varied.

    Switching gears now… Though I, for one, appreciated John Moore, his gusto, the fact he was a dead man skating didn’t seem to shake him. He looked as solid as he has since last year’s playoff performance. Tossed the mitts, too.

    But Yandle’s an elite player: I live in the desert, he’s Zubov sans The Bluto Shadow. Reflexively Dan Boyle’s minutes/his exposure, thank Jehovah, get reduced.

    Look out Nashville. Retooled Rangers are gonna run all your a**.


  • Pre game AV said that Sheppard did too much traveling the last two days, and wouldn’t play tonight. After this game, bet your bottom dollar, TG sits on his duff, which will be callused for the remainder of the season!!!!!!!!!!

  • Just a great effort!!! From goaltender out. A shame it had to be wasted on the Regular Season. Zuke looked like he had the weight lifted off his shoulders. Yandle seemed to fit right in. And the best thing; JT Miller was still around! Not that I’m his biggest fan, not by a longshot. But its nice to see that Sather didn’t sacrifice him in any deals, just when he seems to have found his place in the lineup. Again, just a solid effort throughout. Give Hank a jersey, and lets start the playoffs now!

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