Opening Faceoff – Rangers vs Hurricanes 12/1/2017
The Rangers are looking to bounce back to the win column after a heartbreaking defeat against the Panthers as they face the Carolina Hurricanes at MSG.
These two teams previously matched up on November 22nd in Raleigh, where the Rangers dominated the contest and won 6-1. Chris Kreider and Jesper Fast each scored two goals and Henrik Lundqvist made 32 saves for the Rangers in a game where everything seemed to go right for New York. The Rangers need to tap into what worked for them in Raleigh and carry it into MSG for Friday night’s contest.
Keys To Victory
Fast Start – Slow starts have plagued the Rangers in many contests this season. After going down 3-0 versus Florida on Tuesday night, the Rangers were able to come back and tie the game in the third period. With that being said, there’s only so many times a team can fight back from a deficit and the Rangers need to find a way to prevent that from happening again Friday night. The playoff race, while early, is still a close battle and the Rangers need to come out of the gates strong in order stay afloat.
Goaltending – Whether Lundqvist or Pavelec gets the call in net for the Rangers, the goaltending needs to step up for this one. Nobody expected Lundqvist to give up three goals on six shots versus the Panthers on Tuesday night. Ondrej Pavelec performed admirably in his place by stopping 19 out of the 21 shots he faced. Whichever goalie is between the pipes tonight, they will need to bring their A-game to give the Rangers a chance to win.
Defense – Turnovers and poor defensive coverage burned Lundqvist and the Rangers into a hole, and ultimately into a loss Tuesday night. Nick Holden and Brendan Smith struggled mightily against the Panthers in their own zones costing the Rangers a point, and possibly a win. For their match against Carolina, the Rangers defense will need to cut down on turnovers in their own zone and find ways to get the puck out of their zone and into Carolina’s end without repercussions.
Players To Watch
New York Rangers
Ryan McDonagh – The Rangers captain has missed the last four games with an abdominal injury and his absence was felt on Tuesday night. His usual partner, Nick Holden, looked lost as he contributed to the game-winning goal with a turnover in his own zone. McDonagh will be looking to stabilize the Rangers defensive woes from Tuesday night. McDonagh said on his condition: “starting to feel stronger on the ice and do the things I need to do,” McDonagh said. “Been a while there, we were trying to work through it, and it started to get worse and affect some other things. Just try to be smart here with the time we have at this point in the season.” New York Post
David Desharnais – From healthy scratch to first line center in a matter of a few hours, David Desharnais will be looked upon to continue to help anchor the middle of the ice between Chris Kreider and Pavel Buchnevich in place of injured Mika Zibanejad. Diagnosed with a concussion, Zibanejad is out indefinitely, which means a larger role for Desharnais. The “KDB” line put up three of the four Rangers goals Tuesday night that helped sparked the comeback after being down 4-1. Desharnais will fill those same shoes Friday night in hopes of anchoring the Rangers offense to victory.
Jeff Skinner – If you’ve ever seen any game that involves the Rangers and the Hurricanes, it’s more than likely you’ve seen Jeff Skinner light up the Rangers. In 27 career games versus the Rangers, Skinner has 20 points (11 goals and 9 assists). In 23 games played this season, Skinner has nine goals and seven assists with a plus/minus rating of -7. Always known as an offensive catalyst, the Rangers will need to find ways to contain Skinner from hitting the score sheet.
Puck drops at 7!
LETS GO RANGERS!!