Rangers Look To Dethrone Kings At MSG

AP

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The New York Rangers look to get back on track against the Los Angeles Kings tonight at Madison Square Garden. New York has dropped their last two contests, losing to Dallas in a shootout and to Ottawa in regulation. The Los Angeles Kings, on the other hand, have won five out of their last six games, including a big 4-1 win over the St.Louis Blues

Keys To The Game

Puck Management – The Senators took advantage of many of the Rangers defensive turnovers and was able to capitalize on those mistakes to edge them out in Ottawa. Kevin Shattenkirk’s early turnover resulted in Bobby Ryan’s first goal at 4:01 in the first period. Just eight seconds into the third, Zach Smith beat JT Miller to the front of the net and scored on Lundqvist to give Ottawa a 3-1 lead. Eerily reminiscent of the way they came out of the gate this season, the Rangers need to kick it into gear and tighten it up on the back end in order to give themselves a fighting chance; making better passes and sticking with their man, as well as winning the 1v1 battles in order to get the edge. Talented players like Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty, and Dustin Brown can take advantage of mistakes like this in an instant.

Adapting to their opponent – Alain Vigneault seemingly was unable to find a way to get around the 1-3-1 defensive scheme the Senators threw at them. Just like in last year’s playoff series, the coaching staff and players were unable to fully get around this system and adapt to their opponent. This same complacent attitude led to Ottawa taking advantage of many scoring chances and ultimately led the Sens to a 3-2 win over the Rangers. New York needs to find a way to adapt on the fly to an opponent, and they’ll need to figure out John Stevens’ Kings system, adapt and play accordingly to how the Kings play them on the ice.

Players To Watch

New York Rangers

Jim McIsaac

Henrik Lundqvist – The Rangers star goaltender had a decent game against Ottawa, making 27 saves on 30 shots. There were a few hiccups here and there including a goal from Bobby Ryan on just his third shot against him in the game. Although Henrik is showing signs of aging, he’s still putting in solid efforts night in and night out, keeping the Rangers in many of the contests they play in. Look for him to continue his solid play tonight versus the Kings.

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Michael Grabner – Still without a power play point, Michael Grabner keeps scoring goals. Grabner notched a tally on the scoresheet by scoring a goal in the last match against the Senators just 3:57 into the second period after a beautiful feed from Mats Zuccarello. Grabner currently leads the Rangers in goals with 15 and look for him to continue to make an impact, as he is on a torrid pace in the goal column this season.

Los Angeles Kings

Anze Kopitar – The Kings captain currently leads the team in goals (16) and assists (22), putting him with the Kings point lead with 38. Known for creative ability as a playmaker, soft hands and tremendous skating abilities, Kopitar is always a threat on the ice. In his last five games, Kopitar has three goals and seven assists. The Rangers will need to tighten up defensively in order to keep him off the score sheet.

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Drew Doughty – A skilled, offensively eager defenseman, Drew Doughty will be someone the Rangers will have to look out for on the ice tonight. Doughty currently boasts a plus/minus rating of +14 with 24 points on the season. An excellent offensive mind and incredibly aware in his own zone, Doughty is someone the Rangers will need to take note of in order to stay in the game tonight. Just like Erik Karlsson the night before for Ottawa, Doughty brings that extra dimension to an offense, making it tough for teams to defend against them.

Puck drops at 7!

LETS GO RANGERS!!