The New York Rangers vs The Calgary Flames
The puck drops at 7:00pm in Madison Square Garden
Entering tonight’s game the Rangers are 15-17-1, sixth in the Metropolitan Division with 31 points and more than one game away from .500 for the season. The only team behind in the standings are the Islanders. Brad Richards is still leading the team in points, goals, and assists with 25, 9, 16 respectively. Close behind is Mats Zuccarello with 21 points and 15 assists despite having played one game less than Richards. Another notable points production to mention is Rick Nash. Although being fairly quiet recently, registering only two points int the last five games, Nash has posted six goals for 11 points in 16 games this season. On the side of defense, Ryan McDonagh leads in points with six goals for 19 points in 33 games. McDonagh also has a perfect 15 points in 15 wins this season and the only short-handed goal for the season. Brian Boyle has the only short-handed assist for the team this season. Not far behind McDonagh are 2 players with the same points break downs. Dan Girardi and Micheal Del Zotto each have two goals for seven points though Girardi has 33 games to Del Zotto’s 25 games. Derek Stepan leads the team in power play points with one goal for 10 points. The team has several players who are currently playing at the half a point per game pace, including Carl Hagelin and Derick Brassard, the latter of whom rejoins the team for tonight’s affair after his bruised tail bone kept him out of the lineup for the last game. Henrik Lundqvist gets the start tonight after being relived by Cam Talbot against the Columbus Blue Jackets. It seems as though lines will be given late in the day after being switched up quite a bit in the team’s last practice. Lundqvist has one win in his last five games, against Buffalo, and one overtime loss, against New Jersey. Lundqvist’s save percentage is now .910, below his career average of .920, and his 2.71 goals against average is a bit above his 2.27 career posting. After the last game against Columbus, Lundqvist admitted he is lacking confidence at this point. Ryan Callahan and Marc Staal remain out for the Rangers, nothing has been announced for any of the other players to this point.
Calgary enters tonight’s match with a 13-15-4 record giving them 30 points and sixth place in the Pacific Division, which has 3 of the top 5 teams in the league. The Flames will see the return of rookie Sean Monahan tonight after being out since November 28th with a hairline fracture in his foot. The rookie has contributed nine goals for 15 points in 24 games. That’s the second highest points total for the team, shared by Mike Cammalleri and Kris Russell. Leading the team in points is Jiri Hudler with nine goals for 28 points in 31 games. Cammalleri leads the team in goals with 10 and Russell leads the defense in points combined. Closely following Russell are Mike Giordano and Dennis Wideman with 12 points each. Giordano with three goals in 14 games and Wideman with two goals in 24 games. Leading the team with hits are David Jones (57) and Lance Bouma (52). Though having only 29 PIM, Brian McGratten is the team tough guy; look for him to be the one to get things going for his team. Shane O’Brien is the team leader in PIM with 42. Exploiting O’Brien could be the key in getting power play chances for the Rangers. Kari Ramo is the team leader for goalie statistics, though if the Flames have paid any attention the Rangers, they will play Reto Berra; their rookie backup. Berra is 4-7-2 this season with 3.18 goals against average and .896 save percentage. Ramo is also due to take a break after his last two games going into overtime and ending in wins (maybe they decide to play the hot glove). In the event Ramo starts, he is 6-5-1 this season with 2.67 goals against average and a .907 save percentage.