Tonight the New York Rangers drop the puck against the Calgary Flames at 9pm ET. Thank you time zones for such a late night on the east coast, at least it’s Friday.
The Rangers hit the road after a huge win against the Philadelphia Flyers, solidifying them in second place of the Metropolitan Division with a 41-29-4 record and 86 points. The Rangers are three points ahead of the Flyers, who have two games in hand over the Rangers, and are 11 points behind the first place Pittsburgh Penguins, who have one game in hand over the Rangers. Henrik Lundqvist will most likely get the start tonight. He’s been the hot glove and Alain Vigneault said he expects Lundqvist in net through the remainder of the season. With a 30-22-4 record Lundqvist is on a five game win streak and has eight wins in his last 10 games. His save percentage has gone up to .919 and his goals against average has been reduced to 2.41, both noticeable adjustments for the better. Mats Zuccarello and Derek Stepan remain tied for the team lead in points with 15 goals and 50 points each. Zuccarello is a +11 and Stepan is a +7. Brad Richards remains three points behind with 17 goals for 47 points. The biggest changes in points are not the top-tier players on the team. With Derek Dorset and Dominic Moore netting huge goals against the Flyers. Ryan McDonagh has chipped in seven points in the last five games.
The most outstanding defensemen recently have been McDonagh, Dan Girardi, Raphael Diaz, and Kevin Klein. Diaz has been a great addition to the team in John Moore‘s absence. Moore continues to be out of the line-up with a concussion. Daniel Carcillo missed the last game with the flu but is expected to be ready to play. Whether or not he is in the line-up remains to be seen.
The last meeting of these teams ended in a shoot out. The Flames aren’t really a playoff contender but they are still playing for pride and have really given top western teams a run for their money lately. Tonight won’t be and easy game, most likely, but the Rangers need a challenge to keep them in the right mode for the rest of the season.