The New York Rangers are on the road to face the Ottawa Senators in an afternoon matchup.
Game time is set for 2:00pm
Remember last year when Ben Bishop was a Senator? Well we don’t have that problem this year. The Rangers have won six of their last eight games and are looking to keep the wins coming. With a record of 25-21-3 and 53 points, the Rangers are in third place of the Metropolitan Division; despite being tied for points with Philadelphia. Cam Talbot was confirmed as the starting goalie yesterday by coach Alain Vigneault. Talbot has a 9-3 record this season with 1.66 goals against average and a .938 save percentage. In the close race for points leader on the team; Brad Richards narrowly hangs on with 12 goals for 35 points. Mats Zuccarello has 12 goals for 34 points. Zuccarello has proven to be more of a power play asset with four goals and 11 assists on the power play compared to Richards’ two goals and nine assists. Richards is also out shooting Zuccarello 158 to 103. Chris Kreider has bumped Derek Stepan to fourth in points despite the two being tied with 27. Kreider has played only 42 games and has 12 goals compared to Stepan’s seven goals in 49 games. Derick Brassard and Ryan McDonagh are in the rush with 26 points each. Brassard with eight goals and McDonagh with seven. Dan Girardi increased his hits to 116 while Kreider has 107. Brian Boyle and Ryan Callahan are trailing with 96 and 95 respectively. Girardi and McDonagh deserve and award for having 87 and 83 blocked shots respectively. They don’t wear the same padding as the goalies so they feel every one of those shots. With Derek Dorsett out of the line-up, the fourth line is still producing and eating up a lot of valuable minutes of ice time. Look for that to continue today.
The Ottawa Senators enter today’s contest with a 21-18-9 record and their 51 points place them fifth in the Atlantic Division. The Senators have confirmed Craig Anderson as their goalie for today’s contest. With a 15-9-6 record, Anderson has 3.16 goals against average and a .903 save percentage. Reportedly returning to the Senator’s lineup, today is Chris Neal; who suffered a hamstring injury and has been out since December 30, 2013. Neal also leads his team in penalties in minutes with 99. The Senators are lead by Erik Karlsson‘s 11 goals for 46 points. Another deadly asset on the Senators’ is Bobby Ryan; the Team USA Olympic snub of the year. Ryan’s 19 goals for 38 points are nothing to scoff at. He’s a sniper and a good one. Defenseman Patrick Wiercioch was rumored to be in play for a Michael Del Zotto trade. His three goals for 14 points is not a huge improvement over Del Zotto, but you can watch his game closely today. Jason Spezza has had a notably difficult year; he has 12 goals for 32 points and is skating at a -16. The Senators are going to bring a physical game to the ice with five players who have eclipsed the mark of 100 hits.Those five are Colin Greening (155), Chris Neal (146), Jared Cowan (135), Marc Methot (115) and Zach Smith (113). They also have guys willing to sacrifice their body to block shots; Jared Cowan has 70 blocks while Chris Philips has 68. Following closely are Methot and Karlsson with 65 and 52 blocks respectively.
This will be a big physical game with a lot of hitting. Look for the Senators to try and pull penalties as they try to stay out of the box themselves. These are two fairly evenly matched teams and this has the potential to be a tight game like our last against Detroit; with more goals being scored.