Rangers hope change in net brings normalcy
Time: 3:00 pm EST
Location: Madison Square Garden-New York, NY
The Rangers will be looking to recover from yesterday’s loss 4-2 loss to the Boston Bruins. If the team wants any chance to go deep in the upcoming playoffs, then they will need to get off to a better start in games. Quick transitions and control of the puck are the hallmarks of the Rangers this year.
This afternoon, they welcome the Washington Capitals. The Capitals are coming off a 4-3 loss to the Nashville Predators yesterday at the Verizon Center.
The two teams are set to play their second meeting in a four-game season series. The Rangers won the two meetings, 4-2 and 3-1.
New York Rangers: 47-20-7 with 101 points, first place in the Metropolitan Division, clinched playoff spot
The Rangers can be their own worst enemy. In two of their past three games, the team has been guilty of bad puck possession, in the way of turnovers. The team committed 10 giveaways versus one takeaway against the Bruins. In their game against the Los Angeles Kings, the team had 12 giveaways to their four. You can’t win when you can’t take care of the puck.
New York Rangers
A glimmer of hope may have rested on Rick Nash and his scoring drought. Yesterday, he scored his 40th goal of the season. Previously, Nash had been goal less for his past eight games. Hopefully, yesterday helped kick-start the power forward’s scoring touch, leading into the playoffs.
This will be the Rangers second game, in a back-to-back weekend. Expect the team to come out the gate slow. However, they’ve proven us wrong all season. Why be any different?
Washington Capitals: 40-25-10 with 90 points, fourth place in the Metropolitan Division, occupy the first wild card spot
The Capitals are 19-13-5 playing on the road this season. In their last 10 games, the team is 5-5-0, including their loss yesterday. In that game, the Capitals crawled their way back after being down 3-0 in the first period.
The Capitals are ranked 7th in the NHL in scoring, averaging 2.43 goals per game this season. Their power play is the best in the league, converting 24.4% with the man-advantage. Since March 1st, the Capitals have scored nine power play goals. However, they have not registered a goal with the man-advantage, in their past three games.
Alex Ovechkin should be the main focus of the Rangers defense today. He is first in the race for the “Rocket” Richard trophy with 47 goals. He is almost a point-per-game player with 73 points in 74 games this season.
Also, Ovechkin leads in a power play goals (21), making a living with his one-timer from the left faceoff circle. So far, the Rangers have done a good job at bottling him up, allowing him to score one goal on the power play.
However, the team is playing back-to-back games, so it would make sense for head coach Alain Vigneault to switch out the goalies, as normal practice. Also, he may feel to give Lundqvist a break and slow-in between the pipes.
Talbot was in net when the last time the two teams met. That game, he stopped 28 of 29 shots faced for a save percentage of .966. That game included the absolutely larceny of Capitals forward Niklas Backstrom, with his outstretched glove. For his efforts, he earned the game’s first star.
For the Capitals, expect Braden Holtby to be in net. Holtby was pulled in yesterday’s game against the Predators after giving up three goals in the first period. However, the Capitals are trying to maintain a stranglehold on the first wild card spot. Until the team has clinched their playoff ticket, the Capitals may pin their hopes on Holtby.
For the season, Holtby is 36-19-9 with a goals against average of 2.21. In his past five games, he is 3-1 with wins over the New Jersey Devils, Minnesota Wild and Buffalo Sabres.
Holtby was the losing goalie versus the Rangers earlier this month. In that game, he stopped 28 of 31 shots faced with a save percentage of .903.
For the Rangers:
More from Blue Line Station
- Blake Wheeler’s Broadway Calling: Why He Chose the Rangers
- Rangers’ Playoff Redemption Recipe: Grit and Fresh Hopes
- Rangers’ Roster Chatter: Who’s Making the Cut and Who’s in the Penalty Box?
- Jacque Plante Trade Tree Between the Rangers and Canadiens
- These Rangers must learn Peter Laviolette’s ropes before they can fly