Game Thread

Game 62: Getting back to the right process in Dallas

Photo Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Photo Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Rangers are in Dallas tonight to take on the explosive Stars, one of the top teams in the NHL. Dallas is loaded up and down the lineup, but their achilles heel is their goaltending and overall team defense. They control the play, but backchecking, positioning, and actually stopping pucks seems to be a challenge. Regardless, they are the cream of the crop in the West, along with LA and Chicago.

The Rangers squeaked by St. Louis on Thursday because Henrik Lundqvist stood on his head. If the Blueshirts play like that today, they will get annihilated. This is a Dallas team that looks primed to make a deep run, assuming they can continually outscore their opponents. Their weakness is defense and goaltending, so getting shots –as in not passing 800 times and passing up good shots– is critical. They beat Dallas once, they can do it again.

Stars Systems

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.

Stars Lines

Jamie Benn-Tyler Seguin-Valeri Nichushkin
Mattias Janmark-Jason Spezza-Ales Hemsky
Antoine Roussel-Cody Eakin-Patrick Sharp
Vernon Fiddler-Radek Faksa-Colton Sceviour

Alex Goligoski-John Klingberg
Johnny Oduya-Jason Demers
Jyrki Jokipakka-Patrick Nemeth

PP1: Sharp-Spezza-Seguin-Benn-Klingberg
PP2: Nichuskin-Janmark-Hemsky-Demers-Goligoski

PK: Sceviour, Fiddler, Eakin, Benn, Faksa, Demers, Oduya, Benn, Goligoski, Jokipakka

Kari Lehtonen gets the start.

Rangers Lines

Chris KreiderDerek StepanMats Zuccarello
JT MillerDerick BrassardJesper Fast
Oscar LindbergKevin HayesViktor Stalberg
Tanner GlassDominic MooreMarek Hrivik

Ryan McDonaghDan Girardi
Marc StaalKevin Klein
Keith YandleDan Boyle

PP1: Yandle-Klein-Miller-Hayes-Fast
PP2: Zucc-Boyle-Kreider-Stepan-Brassard

PK: Stepan, Moore, Lindberg, Fast, Boyle, Staal, Yandle, Girardi

Henrik Lundqvist gets the start.

Scratches/Injuries: Rick Nash (leg), Dylan McIlrath (healthy)

Crazy Prediction: The Rangers “accidentally” take Nichuskin back with them to NY, leaving Staal behind.

Be sure to check out our ticket link if you’re looking for tickets to the game. Game time is 4pm on MSG. All gifs will be on

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  • Very much looking forward to watching this match. Both teams have great skaters and move the puck quickly. Lundqvist has found his groove which should give the Rangers the advantage.

  • I appreciate where you buried the trade rumor, Dave.

    A quick once-over of that D-corps tells you Dallas remains outside the serious contender discussion in the Western Conference.

    That said, you have a hunch Jim Nill and Lindy would accept a fading Marc Staal for a promising Nichuskin, who seems to have stalled himself this season?

    • Actually a Nichuskin for Staal does make sense for both teams. Staal in spite of all the criticises by the Bloggers, is still a premier shutdown defenceman (ask any elite eastern conference forward and they will agree). He is just the type of player the Stars could use.

      The Rangers in return would receive an inconsistent yet promising forward in Nichuskin and the moving Marc’s contact will give them the cap space to sign Yandle. I see it as a good hockey trade.

      • Understand, I’m in no hurry to dump Marc Staal. Nor Dan Girardi, for that matter; both homegrown and solid, stay-at-home D-men.

        Not to hate on him, but there’s no comparing today’s Marc Staal–statistically or otherwise–to the noticeably more physical, impact player he was before being concussed by his own brother. Then suffering the serious eye injury.

        If the timeline below your name said Feb 27, 2011 rather than 2K16 I’d concur with the “premier shutdown” tag. No mas, man.

        The Staal clan are all in decline, but a few seasons from joining The Plager’s and Sutter’s.

  • Someone please smack Domenic Moore for me, what the hell is with his refusal to shoot at a 90% open net. Boggles the mind.

  • And Stepan to open the Second. Both should’ve been in the back of the net. I’m so tried of Stepan and what 5 more years of this guy.

  • Kreider is coming on again, he should not be traded. Yandle is vital for the offense, no doubt abt it. Yandle can dangle alright.

  • The Rangers absolute refusal to shoot the puck when they have great opportunities can very well cost them this game. I just don’t understand.

  • Wow!!! Is Lindy Ruff a whiner or not? Yeah, it was a goal, you didn’t get the call. Move on. You tied the damn game, anyway. Don’t cry because your team couldn’t get a point. They’re not gonna’ erase the Brett Hull goal, no matter how many tears you shed!!!! Its embarrassing to watch. We win!!!!!!! (;

  • Don’t trade for E. Staal… would be another disaster and setback. Why would we want another center?

  • Great game! Fabulous win! Hank is red hot. Defense getting better and better.

    But, we continue to be the no margin for error Rangers and every game seemingly is a nail biter. We desperately need to upgrade at forward if we hope to make a deep run. Great to see Kreider coming on. Hopefully he’s getting it together, but with him, and his inconsistencies, who knows?

    Last game before the deadline. Who will stay or who will go?

    Let’s stay away from fantasyland shall we? Staal and Girardi will NOT be traded. NMCs make it virtually impossible, and even without that, I’d gamble on veterans on the blue line who know how to win any day. And so will AV and Gorton.

    Of course, if some people out here had their way, we’d be the first team in NHL history on course for another 100+ point season to bail on the season and start the epic rebuild as we point to 2020 and the rebirth of the 2007 Rangers! How exciting that would be!!!! 🙂

    Fortunately, we have a GM that was integral to the game plan of the last few years. Carp in his live chat the other day said it was Gorton who was instrumental in both the Brassard and Yandle trades, so I expect the Rangers to be very aggressive, but hopefully not foolish.

    • I hope the Rangers don’t trade the next Doug Weight, Tony Amonte or Sergio Zubov for another failed attempted for the Stanley Cup.

      • Except that it was the trades of Weight and Amonte that, in large part, won the Rangers the Cup. You have to give to get.

        Now, I’m not advocating making a bad deal. Make a good deal, fortify the team…… the East, other than the Caps, is flawed, and our Rangers have proven these last two years they have the talent and character to make a deep run.

        Of course they will go for it.

        • And if they kept the players above they could of not just won one Stanley Cup but several. Instead the Ranger franchise floundered after 1994 and didn’t see the light of day for over a decade.

          • You can’t construct alternate timelines on these things. Without Tikkanen (acquired for Weight) and Matteau and Noonan (acquired for Amonte), it’s highly improbable that the Rangers win the Cup in ’94. Maybe they would have been strong contenders for a longer period of time with those kids, but to say they would have won several Cups is quite a stretch, especially since the two of them (Amonte and Weight) combined won one Cup in their lengthy careers…(Weight in ’06 with the Canes).

            And, if the Rangers had gone with your strategy your back then, there would have been no logic to hiring Mike Keenan (remember, it was Keenan that wanted Amonte out to get his boys from Chicago). That roster, that coach, that GM were all geared to “win now”. Hanging onto futures doesn’t deliver you the Cup in that scenario.

          • Win now then lose forever. Yeah it was great watching Zubov making slick passes for Dallas and Amonte lighting up the lamp for Chicago while the Rangers sucked for over a decade.

            Hockey is a team sport and good chemistry is important, thus when you are on a roll going into the playoffs you stick with the guys that got you there.

          • So teams that are on a roll should not ever make trades to fortify their chances? Tell that to Chicago, who just made a whole bunch of moves to fortify their Cup hopes.

            I hated the Zubov trade. Hated it then and still hate it. It was another in a long line of attempts to sacrifice skill for toughness and it made the team worse.

            The other trades resulted in a Cup. When that happens, there is no other way to look at it except to say it was a success.

            (Note…the Weight for Tikkanen trade happened the prior season when the team was struggling so the Rangers were not on a roll at that time)

      • Weight and Amonte were trades done at the deadline to bolster our Cup chances.
        Zubov was traded for completely different reasons at a different time in Ranger history.

        So…. How many cups did Weight and Amonte win anyway?

    • Could have had Schultz from the Oilers, for a third round pick. Now that I believe is a steal for the Pens!!!!!!!!

      • If you’ve seen Schultz play lately I’m surprised they gave up a 3rd.

        Someone on twitter had it best: Pens coach “I was unaware we were acquiring a DEF today.” someone replied “you’re not, you’re getting Justin Schultz…

        • The Pens get a puck moving, third pair d-man that they need, and the Oilers retain half the cost, so it’s not that bad a deal. He skates well, went to school with McD, and Step, and is no worse that Boyle. So for a third round pick, I believe the Pens get the better of it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          I’m not saying we should have gone after him at this time, but maybe with a sound team, and protected minutes, he could be an asset for any team, we ve done worse…………

  • As much as i love the Rangers, they are not an elite team. Teams that win the cup like Chicago, LA, etc. have a great power play and penalty kill.. We have neither. No more desperate trades like Duclair….please!! We need to get some prospects. Caps much much better than the Rangers right now sorry to say,

    • I couldn’t agree with yo more. They only went in to St Louis and beat them, and then went in to Dallas a beat the team with the 2nd best record in the NHL. They should dump the season and regroup with as many prospects as possible to build a cup contender in 2021.

      • 2021? I was at least being optimistic and thinking 2020 would be our year, Spozo. But hey, it’s worth it…..lets make history and be the first team ever on course for a 103 point season to throw in the towel and regroup. What a fantastic thing that would be to see!!!!!

    • Then I guess every team in the East should be sellers, since the Caps, right now, are much better than everybody. I mean, we all know that in the NHL, if a team dominates the regular season, it means it’s a virtual certainty that they will also dominate in the playoffs. We never, ever see playoff upsets in the NHL..right?

    • You DO know that teams that have had terrible power plays have won Cups very recently right? Like LA just recently!

  • Kredier probably played one his best games as a Ranger today, but its just one game. He has not shown he can motivate himself Cally style for every game. He needs to go. i am so over this guy.

  • Was listening to the game on radio yesterday and Dave Maloney was screaming his head off at Kreider for a couple of his bonehead plays.

    Now as I read Daves article and posts on here, everyones saying how great he played lol.

    I gotta watch this game lol.

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