Game Day Preview: The Apple Awaits

 

New York Rangers Marc Staal (18) and Brandon Dubinsky congratulate teammate Ryan Callahan (L) on his game-winning goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins in overtime of their NHL hockey game in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, November 15, 2010. REUTERS/Jason Cohn (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT ICE HOCKEY)

After last night’s unfortunate turn of events, the Flames have no time to sulk, as they head to Manhattan for a shot at the Rangers this evening. They’ll meet a team that is beginning their transition to becoming a bit younger, especially on the blueline.

The Rags are 11-9-1 this year, with a 5-2 win against the Wild on Saturday evening in their back pocket. Up front, New York has gotten a very good start from Brandon Dubinsky in terms of goals, but he’s in the Corsi red. Shooting north of 23% will cover a lot of ills, of course, and the Rangers have been fortunate enough to have some good shooting at EV cover pretty meh possession numbers to this point. 

Dubinsky, Anisimov and and Ryan Callahan are doing the heavy QCcomp lifting thus far, with UFA bargain Ruslan Fedotenko and Erik Christensen taking on the seconds. Christensen has a smooth 110.1 PDO at the moment, which might possibly not reflect his actual talent, and he’s spending a pile of time in his own zone, so a correction could be in the offing for him. So far though, it hasn’t happened, leaving guys like Frolov and Avery a shot at easier comp, which they’ve handled pretty well to this juncture. Marian Gaborik has returned from injury in the last few days, which should add to a pretty fair Ranger attack, and if nothing else, might add a bit of menace to a PP running at 15%

 

NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 01: Tomas Kopecky  of the Chicago Blackhawks is tripped by Dan Girardi  of the New York Rangers as Henrik Lundqvist  defends the net at Madison Square Garden on November 1, 2010 in New York City. The Rangers defeated the Blackhawks 3-2. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Rangers have embraced the youngsters on defense, with Marc Staal the main cog. He, Dan Girardi and Michal Rosival shuffle around the toughs most nights, with Del Zotto, Eminger, Gilroy and Mike Sauer working the bottom sixers.

Those last four guys are, to be kind, no screaming hell at the moment, and if the Rangers look to add to their roster via trade this season, it should be for a top 4 defender that has been shaving for more than a few years. Rosival has a bum shoulder, making him questionable for this one.

Henrik Lundqvist has some pretty nice EV numbers so far, batting .927. His PP numbers aren’t quite as good, but he’s still a quality keeper. Martin Biron has the reverse set of results, killing it when New York is short a man while managing sub .900 work at EV.

Early days and all that, of course. I suspect that John Tortorella still trusts his backup more than Brent Sutter at this point, but given that Biron played Saturday, Lundqvist will certainly go against the Flames.

 

 

Game wise, the Flames aren’t facing the Red Wings this evening, so I’ll go out on a limb and predict that they won’t spend all night on the PK. If the losing streak is to end at one, Calgary really needs to get on the Rangers’ 4th-6th defensemen, because that’s the spot where New York looks as if they could be had.