After a disappointing shootout loss to the Flyers, in which they gave up 48 shots, the Rangers will look to bounce back tonight as the Calgary Flames come into town. The Flames, led by second-year phenom Johnny Gaudreau, have had a rough start to their season, sporting a 2-5-0 record, good for second-to-last in the Pacific division.
Johnny Gaudreau leads his team in assists and points, 8 and 9 respectively, while David Jones and captain Mark Giordano are tied for the team lead in goals, with 3 each. In net will be Jonas Hiller, who owns a stat line of 2-2-0, 3.31 GAA, .882 SV%. Last season, the Flames practically made it a habit of winning with late third period pushes, and in both of their wins this season, they trailed entering the third period and proceeded to win in overtime. Their lineup is projected as follows:
Johnny Gaudreau - Sean Monahan - Jiri Hudler
Joe Colborne - Mikael Backlund - Michael Frolik
Derek Grant - Sam Bennett - Josh Jorris
Brandon Bollig - Matt Stajan - David Jones
Mark Giordano - Dennis Wideman
Kris Russel - Deryk Engelland
Ladislav Smid - Dougie Hamilton
The first line of the Flames will be the most dangerous, as they have produced 5 of the Flames' 8 even strength, regulation goals. Luckily the Rangers will have last change tonight, so they should be able to get the matchups they want. Here is the projected lineup for the Rangers:
Rick Nash - Derek Stepan - Mats Zuccarello
Chris Kreider - Derick Brassard - Jesper Fast
Oscar Lindberg - Kevin Hayes - J.T. Miller
Dominic Moore - Jarret Stoll - Emerson Etem
Ryan McDonagh - Kevin Klein
Keith Yandle - Dan Girardi
Marc Staal - Dan Boyle
Antti Raanta is getting his second start of the season, once again on the back end of a back-to-back. In Raanta's career against Calgary, he is 2-0-0 with a 2.80 GAA and .885 SV%. In addition to Raanta, Emerson Etem will be playing in his second game as a Ranger, due to the head injury sustained by Viktor Stalberg last night. In his one game this year, Etem registered no points, and logged 7:09 of ice time.
The key to this game, as I alluded to earlier, will be containing the first line (both forwards and defense) of the Flames. The combination of Gaudreau - Monahan - Hudler is very quick and very creative, combined with the offensive power of Girodano and (to a somewhat lesser degree) Wideman, make this a considerable challenge for the Rangers. Furthermore, even if the numbers may not reflect it, Hiller is no slouch in net, and can steal a game if he needs to. The Rangers will need to have a pristine defensive game, and maybe not allow 48 shots on net, if they want to win tonight.
Let's go Rangers.