New York Rangers Game Thread: 2/8, Stars at Rangers

Just over 24 hours after the puck dropped in Nashville, the Rangers are back at the Garden and looking to pick up two points against one of the league's worst defenses.

Game Fifty-One, the Dallas Stars at the New York Rangers
Record: 30-16-4

Stars vs Rangers coverage | NYR roster | Defending Big D

The Rangers will get their skates back on the Garden ice early tonight after losing a one goal game to the Predators just over 24 hours ago in Nashville. There were some good signs from the Rangers yesterday afternoon, including a wonderful Ryan McDonagh goal and a rare Rick Nash power play goal, but the Rangers were simply unable to beat the Predators. In case you missed yesterday's game here is a LINK to Bryan's recap of the Rangers' losing effort. Each coming game, especially those games that are one goal decisions, will feel a little bit more desperate and important with Henrik Lundqvist out of the picture for almost a month. If nothing else it will remind us all, once again, just how important to the team Hank is.

The last time the Rangers played the Stars it was a noteworthy game because Dallas was the team that finally managed to halt the Rangers unbelievable unbeaten streak. The Stars, thanks largely to Tyler Seguin, have plenty of offense and ways to get the puck into the net, but they continue to be irredeemably bad at keeping goals out of their own net. Dallas remains among the very worst teams in the league in regards to the goals they allow per game which has seriously hindered their efforts to be involved in the playoff hunt despite several splashy moves in the offseason and at the trade deadline last season. If the Rangers want to pick up two points in their last home game until February 19th they are going to have to beat the Stars at even strength and try to find some offense that doesn't directly come from the herculean efforts of Rick Nash. The Seguin line will have to be shut down and the Rangers will have to do their best to rely on their bottom six to take pressure off of what must be a very tired group considering the travel the team just had to make.

The New York Rangers' February Schedule

2/2 Panthers at the Rangers, 7:00 PM (win.)
2/4 Bruins at the Rangers, 8:00 PM (win.)
2/7 Rangers at the Predators, 3:00 PM (loss.)
2/8 Stars at the Rangers, 5:00 PM
2/10 Rangers at the Leafs, 7:00 PM
2/12 Rangers at Avalanche, 9:00 PM
2/14 Rangers at Coyotes, 8:00 PM
2/16 Rangers at Islanders, 7:00 PM
2/19 Canucks at Rangers, 7:00 PM
2/20 Rangers at Sabres, 7:00 PM
2/22 Blue Jackets at Rangers, 7:30 PM
2/24 Flames at Rangers, 7:00 PM
2/26 Coyotes at Rangers, 7:00 PM
2/28 Rangers at Flyers, 8:00 PM

Mike's Player to Watch: Chris Kreider

Kreider had 4 shots on net and 3 hits in yesterday's loss to the Predators. In other words, Kreider was once again noticeable on the ice and a big factor in the game for the Blueshirts. There were plenty of Rangers fans who were grumbling about where Kreider's play was and whether or not he deserved to be in the top six early in the season, but since the halfway point of the season Kreider has looked like a different player most nights. It's true that the numbers still aren't where we all desperately want them to be and that he has a lot of work in regards to what goes on between his ears when he doesn't have the puck, but Kreider has the tools to contribute in a big way to the Rangers' offense. Kreider's speed and strength should cause some nightmares for the back line of the Dallas Stars this evening. Will this be a game where we notice Kreider early and often or will it be one of those games where he simply isn't a factor? We all know what an effective Chris Kreider looks like. He's attacking the net with the puck on his stick or in front of the net raising hell and looking for ugly goals. Go use your size and your speed, Kreids, we need these points tonight.

Let's go Rangers! Drop the puck.