Game Thirty-Seven, the New York Rangers at the Los Angeles Kings
Nick Mercadante's Analytics Preview linked HERE
I didn't see last night coming, did you guys see it coming? Well, I did get my hopes up when Ilya Bryzgalov was in net... but even still, that was a great way for the Blueshirts to start this road trip. Beating the Ducks 4-1 is something that should give this team even more swagger than they already have.
I always wince when I watch NHLN and how they keep repeating that the Rangers are the "hottest team in hockey" because I know that no team can stay hot forever. However, it is beginning to look like the Rangers aren't just a good team that is playing great hockey. They may very well be a great team that is finally playing up to their potential. We'll have to see what they can do tonight against the Kings in their second game in two nights. Obviously, we'll be hearing more about the 2014 Cup Final until we lose our minds, but it is a major story line coming into tonight's game. No matter what happens tonight or what the score is by the end of the game this isn't for anything more than 2 points in the regular season. Unless, of course, the Rangers win, then it means we're the best ever.
The New York Rangers' January Schedule
1/3 Sabres at Rangers, 7:00(win.) 1/7 Rangers at Ducks, 10:30(win.)
1/8 Rangers at Kings, 10:30
1/10 Rangers at Sharks, 10:00
1/13 Islanders at Rangers, 7:00
1/15 Rangers at Bruins, 7:00
1/16 Rangers at Blue Jackets, 7:00
1/18 Rangers at Penguins, 12:30
1/20 Senators at Rangers, 7:00
1/27 Rangers at Islanders, 7:00
1/29 Canadiens at Rangers, 7:00
1/31 Hurricanes at Rangers, 7:00
Mike's Player to Watch: Rick Nash
How amazing was Rick Nash against the Ducks last night? He picked up yet another goal and created another by forcing the turnover that Mats Zuccarello cashed in on. At this point you simply can't say "Hart Trophy" without Rick Nash being in the discussion. He has been everything to this team this season. The last time the Rangers met the Kings there was a very different Rick Nash wearing Rangers' blue. Tonight will be a chance for the Rangers and Nash to send a message to the team that beat them in five games last spring to win the best trophy in all of professional sports (I have seen some badass pig-tossing trophies in my day). Hopefully Nash can continue to play like an absolute force of nature and create open ice for Derick Brassard and Zuccarello to work some magic.
Hope you guys enjoy tonight's game. Put on a pot of coffee.