Game Thread

Game 77: Eric Staal returns to Carolina


The Rangers are in Carolina tonight with a chance to clinch a playoff spot, but the focus of the pregame will be on Eric Staal and his return to Raleigh. There will be big things planned, as the Hurricanes put up a #ThankYouEric wall for Staal to walk past on his way to practice. His teammates also tricked him into taking the ice by himself for practice.

Aside from the Staal fanfare, the Rangers can clinch a playoff spot with a win in regulation or overtime. At this point, a playoff spot is virtually guaranteed, and the Rangers are just jockeying for position. A win gives them a bit of breathing room for home ice against the Penguins, their likely first round opponent.

Canes Systems

Under Bill Peters, the Canes play a passive 1-2-2 on the forecheck and look to trap up the neutral zone. In their own end they run your standard low zone collapse. Not the most exciting of systems. On special teams, they run an umbrella powerplay, and a diamond/box hybrid PK. For more on the systems, click here.

Canes Lines

Joakim Nordstrom-Jordan Staal-Elias Lindholm
Jeff Skinner-Viktor Rask-Chris Terry
Nathan Gerbe-Jay McClement-Brad Malone
Sergey Tolchinsky-Derek Ryan-Patrick Brown

Jacob Slavin-Ron Hainsey
Noah Hanifin-Brett Pesce
Ryan Murphy-Justin Faulk

PP1: Staal-Rask-Lindholm-Hanifin-Faulk
PP2: Terry-Gerbe-Skinner-Pesce-Slavin

PK: Staal, Nordstrom, Lindholm, McClement, Gerbe, Malone, Hainsey, Slavin, Pesce, Faulk

Cam Ward gets the start.

Rangers Lines

Chris KreiderDerick BrassardRick Nash
JT MillerDerek StepanMats Zuccarello
Kevin HayesEric StaalJesper Fast
Tanner GlassDominic MooreViktor Stalberg

Ryan McDonaghDan Girardi
Keith YandleKevin Klein
Marc StaalDan Boyle

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

PK: Stepan, Moore, Nash, Fast, Glass, McDonagh, Staal, Klein, Girardi

Henrik Lundqvist gets the start.

Scratches/Injuries: Oscar Lindberg (healthy), Dylan McIlrath (healthy)

Crazy Prediction: No tears from any of the Staals, including parents.

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

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  • Need to be careful here – the Canes are a much better team this year than most give them credit for. They have had an absurd amount of 1-goal + overtime losses. I expect E Staal to bring his A game tonight in front of his old fans.

  • A joke on me from the universe today: after my lukewarm remarks on hockey statistics in our 197th discussion of the role or lack thereof of Tanner Glass (see yesterday’s blog by Pat), I came upon a new metric being developed by the Western Statistics Practicum. Their analysis, entitled Statistical Nexus of Agression & Fenwick Uncovered (where do they get these names?!?!) can be viewed at this link:


    I think this will answer many questions!

    • I have no idea who or what Pat and his stats are or do, but I will continue to say that anyone who thinks TG does not play a checking role on this team is a tennis, ping pong, darts or soccer fan and not a hockey fan. EVERY NHL RECORDED HIT, MEANS THAT THE OPPOSING PLAYER WAS HIT/CHECKED AND, AND, I REPEAT, AND THE PUCK WAS RECOVERED BY THE TEAM THAT MADE THE HIT. TG is now in 16 th place in the NHL in hits with most of those above him having played 20 games more than him. He is top 5 in hits per game. Enough already, you folks need to watch the games and enjoy the wins, goals and take your … well, lets just say that when I played, stats were for losers. and cups and rings for winners … sadly in most pro sports, the CFL excepted, most teams can go an awful long time with out a cup … why, there are lots of teams after the same thing, they all have enough good players to make a run if they get a few bounces, their players play a tad above their potential, actually care about “TEAM” more than self and contract, are not hit by injuries, and so on .. and so on …

      • That’s just blatantly inaccurate.

        Recorded hits do not mean puck possession changed. Hell, half of the recorded hits nowadays are on players that don’t even have the puck anymore.

        • dave, my understanding of a hit is as blue defines it…if that’s not accurate can you tell me if there is a standard definition of a hit?

          I have tried to remain optimistic about our chances this year for a number of reasons, mostly hoping we were laying in the weeds until playoff time. but last night…well I’m sort of hanging on a thread now.

  • Great goal by Nash and great play by Kreider on the boards for that first goal. Now we’re cooking with onions!

  • Just a pathetic display, by a team that really has no REAL reason to believe they are going any where. Please, lets not dismiss this as just another case of “these things happen.” At this point of the schedule—there is NO excuse for this kind of effort. They basically tried to win a game by playing most of one period. And even then, they could only manage a tie in that period! It comes down to this—Hank has to be perfect—-or they have NO real chance to win anything. Just pathetic! I was excited when they got Staal—that ended pretty quickly. The coach can’t even figure out how to use him. Pathetic. Now lets give this bunch of all-stars two more days off to rest up for that EPIC match against Buffalo on Saturday. Again—PATHETIC!!!!!

    • Enexcusable performance tonight. Absolutely no sense of ugency, no fire in the belly, Islanders and Pittsburgh would have found a way to beat the Canes tonight, But not US. AV needs to be held accountable.

  • the tribute was classy but the boys didn’t come ready to play you can’t clinch if you play one period hopefully tomorrow night they will be focused on what they have to do

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