New York Rangers (36-29-4, tied for 3rd in the Metropolitan Division) versus Ottawa Senators (28-26-13, 6th in the Atlantic Division)
Puck Drop: Tuesday, March 18 at 7:30 pm EST
Venue: Canadian Tire Centre, Ottawa, Ontario
The New York Rangers look to shake off their loss from Sunday against the Ottawa Senators. The start after the Olympic break has resembled the early part of the season for the Rangers. After beating the defending Stanley Cup Champions Chicago Blackhawks 2-1, the team has struggled to find their game. Consistently, inconsistent. As of now, the Rangers are 4-5-1 in their last 10 games, 76 points, and tied for third in the Metropolitan division. However, they have a winning record away from Madison Square Garden of 20-13-0.
Spearheading the Rangers is goalie Henrik Lundqvist. Coming off his 301st victory in Winnipeg, he looks to continue his winning form this evening. He brings a record of 25-22-4 with a 2.47 goals against average to tonight’s contest. In the past four out of five games, Lundqvist has allowed two or fewer goals, while posting a .947 save percentage. In Sunday’s game against the San Jose Sharks, Lundqvist faced 29 shots on goal, giving up a lone goal to Logan Couture. To Rangers fans, he has not played up to what he has shown us in the past. However, he keeps the team in games and an opportunity to win.
Recently, Derek Stepan has started to apply his scoring touch with two goals and six points in the past 10 days. Since the Olympic break, he has 11 points in the past 10 games. For the season, he has 12 goals and leads the team in assists. Carl Hagelin has started getting into his groove again. After his hat trick in Winnipeg, he has four goals in the last 10 days. Despite being shutout of the goal column in the loss to the San Jose Sharks, he did have five shots on goal. With each passing game, he seems to feel more and more comfortable with his role. Ryan McDonagh is maintaining his offensive play, while patrolling the blue line. In the past 10 days, he has 1 goal and 4 points. For the season, McDonagh has 11 goals and 25 assists, and a +/- rating of +6.
On offense, the team needs to get back to what they do best, sustained pressure in the offensive zone. Also, the power play units needs to capitalize on opportunities. They are 0-10 in opportunities, dating back to their loss in Minnesota. Key players have been struggling. In the past 5 games, Rick Nash has 0 goals and 1 point. Brad Richards, the point man on the power play, also has 0 goals and 1 point. The recently acquired Martin St. Louis has 0 goals and one point. However, much of the team is the same way. Mats Zuccarello and Derick Brassard are struggling. Combined they have one point for the month of March. These players will need to step up their games in order for the Rangers to win and make a push to the playoffs.