Two games in and the Rangers have given up 11 goals and struggled to find both defensive and goaltending stability. The club heads back home to Madison Square Garden hosting the Montreal Canadians who are coming off a 6-1 loss to the Washington Capitals yesterday.
Despite the Rangers’ struggles yesterday it is clear there is no concerns for their offensive capabilities as the team put up five goals — led by Mats Zuccarello’s four-point night. Defensively, the Rangers often looked lost and careless with the puck and Henrik Lundqvist struggled to find any rhythm through the first 20 minutes and was pulled to start the second.
In an incredibly similar fashion, Montreal’s struggles yesterday led to the same situation with their star goaltender Carey Price being pulled after allowing four goals in the first period. Montreal has looked shaky thus far in 2017/2018. The team just barely squeaked out a victory against the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday, and struggled heavily in much the same areas that maligned the Rangers yesterday.
Both teams are looking for defensive stability, so expect a close, physical match. Alain Vigneault has given preference to the veteran Marc Staal as he is being bumped up to the first defensive pairing with Ryan McDonagh.
Players to watch
Henrik Lundqvist’s struggles are becoming a notable early-season concern, and through the 10-year cornerstone of the New York Rangers franchise has regularly struggled in October, these struggles are reminiscent of his season-long issues from last season. Henrik is one of the most poised goaltenders in the game and if there is anyone that can rectify these early-season issues he would be the one to do it.
He’ll get the chance tonight as he is back in net.
Carey Price struggled yesterday after Alex Ovechkin lit the lamp three times in the first period against him. Price has the opportunity to step up and lead his team in spite of their defensive lapses. He has had the Rangers’ number for years with a 15-5-1 record all time against them.
Shea Weber and co will need to also rebound from their defensive gaffes against Washington to support their star goaltender much in the same way that Ryan McDonagh and co will need to for Lundqvist.
Kreider – Zibanejad – Buchnevich
Nash – Miller – Zuccarello
Vesey – Hayes – Grabner
X – Carey – Desharnais
McDonagh – Staal
Skjei – Shattenkirk
Holden – DeAngelo