The New York Rangers host the San José Sharks at Madison Square Garden this after noon for a 4pm ET puck drop.
The New York Rangers are 38-26-4 and third in Metropolitan Division. The Rangers are tied in points at 76 with the Columbus Blue Jackets, who have a game in hand and two fewer regulation losses. Henrik Lundqvist gets the start in net this afternoon as he looks to add to his record-breaking 301 career regular season wins. With a 2.50 goals against average and a .916 save percentage Lundqvist is solid and looking for better number numbers. Brad Richards maintains the team lead in points with 46, coming from 16 goals and 30 assists, he also has the worth +/- rating with a -9 next to his name. Derek Stepan also has 46 points from 12 goals and 34 assists. This recent surge has dropped Mats Zuccarello to third on the team with 45 points from 15 goals and 30 points, in five fewer games. Hi new line mate, Martin St. Louis, may help push Zuccarello up the standings once again. Derick Brassard, 13 goals, and Ryan McDonagh, 11 goals, remain tied with 36 points. Rick Nash‘s 20 goals have boosted the team but he has also cooled off considerably with only five points in the last 10 games.
Defensively, Dan Girardi is still our top guy, there’s no surprise there. He’s averaging two to three hits and blocks per game for season totals of 166 and 150 respectively. Chris Kreider and Brian Boyle are also averaging about two hits per game for season totals of 134 and 130 respectively. Ryan McDonagh is credited with 113 blocked shots this season while Kevin Klein registered 120 between the Rangers and the Nashville Predators.
In order to be successful tonight the Rangers must stay out of the penalty box, this seems basic but against a deadly power play team like the Sharks, they will pay. Kreider cannot take his overly common silly penalties today and he has to play smart, just like he did in the last game. The newly formed St. Louis-Brassard-Zuccarello line looked sharp in the last game, now it’s time for them to take it up a notch. John Moore has had a quiet season thus far but has been playing well beyond his usual mark in the last couple of games, if he keeps this up he may lead Rangers’ brass to wonder why they pursued Raphael Diaz.