After two days off, the New York Rangers will hit the ice at Madison Square Garden tonight as they are seeking their first win of the 2013 season. They'll do so while facing off against the Boston Bruins who defeated them 3-1 on opening night. Henrik Lundqvist is expected to start his third straight game in net, while Arron Asham will sit out of tonight's game with a mild groin strain.
Boston Bruins (2-0-0) at New York Rangers (0-2-0)
Madison Square Garden - New York, NY - 7:30 PM
Television: NBC Sports Network | Radio: ESPN NY 98.7
Opponent's Blog: Stanley Cup of Chowder
The Rangers will head into this game with a slightly altered lineup as Marian Gaborik was moved up to the top line with Brad Richards, and Rick Nash. Chris Kreider was promoted up to the second line to play with Derek Stepan and Ryan Callahan. While Carl Hagelin will start the game alongside Brian Boyle and Taylor Pyatt.
It's nice to see a change in lines for this game, but as always, don't expect them to stick more than a couple of shifts if they don't generate much. I'm interested to see what Kreider can do tonight with Stepan and Callahan. They have had some tremendous chemistry throughout the playoffs as Kreider was bounced around all three lines.
One thing that still scares me is that the Rangers have zero forward depth aside from their four lines. Since Asham will have to sit tonight, they're forced to move Stu Bickel up and insert Steve Eminger into the lineup. They really need to be on the lookout for a depth forward, or at least carry along an extra throughout the season. I mean, they do carry eight defensemen on a nightly basis, why not drop one and carry a forward?
Some Quick Thoughts:
*** Even though the Rangers had two tough periods at Madison Square Garden on Sunday, I thought the came together very well in the third period. They started to put pressure on the Penguins, and they wound up scoring twice in a matter of minutes. Even though they were already down 5-3, they put together a good sequence there in the third. Hopefully they carry that momentum over to tonight's game.
*** The Rangers are still very sloppy in their own end, and it's allowing the opposition to generate tons of chances. The problem I've noticed over the last two games is that the forwards are dropping down way to low in the defensive end. By doing that there is always one point man open for the pass, and when the Rangers do gain possession of the puck, there is zero outlet passes since everyone is bunched up. They need to spread out and stick to their positions because as of lately, every five man unit has looked absolutely lost in their own end.
*** Henrik Lundqvist did get the yank in the second period of last game, but the blame can't really be put all on him. As I mentioned above, the Rangers have been atrocious in their own end, and haven't been helping out The King in the least bit. I really hope they get it together tonight, otherwise we're in some big trouble.
Rick Nash - Brad Richards - Marian Gaborik
Chris Kreider - Derek Stepan - Ryan Callahan
Carl Hagelin - Brian Boyle - Taylor Pyatt
Mike Rupp - Jeff Halpern - Stu Bickel
Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi
Marc Staal - Anton Stralman
Michael Del Zotto - Steve Eminger
Scratches: Matt Gilroy, Arron Asham