Pregame Analysis

Rangers Look To End Two Game Skid On Hockey Fights Cancer Night

After losing back-to-back games against the Flyers and Capitals, the Rangers will look to snap their two game skid against the Senators (7:00 P.M. E.T, MSG).

Things were looking good for the Rangers midway through the second period. They had a two-goal lead courtesy of Jimmy Vesey and Brady Skjei. Just 31 seconds after Skjei doubled the lead, Nic Dowd scored for the Capitals and stole all the momentum the Blueshirts had. Things only got worse as, Jakub Vrana and Alex Ovechkin each got late goals in the second period and the Blueshirts found themselves trailing going into the third.

“I thought the second period we just didn’t do the two things you have to do in this game that have to be in your hockey DNA,” said head coach David Quinn. “You have to skate, and you have to hit people.”

In the third, Ryan Strome got his first career goal as a Ranger on a wrap-a-round. With just over six to go, Brett Connolly would one time the game winning goal past Georgiev. Tom Wilson would add an empty net goal and sealing a 5-3 Capitals win.

“It takes a 60-minute effort to beat the Caps,” Quinn said. “If we’re going to have a chance to beat them, you’ve got to stay on them for 60 minutes. You’re going to have lapses where you don’t play well, but they can’t be 20-minute lapses. And I thought that’s what happened tonight.”

Tonight, the Blueshirts take on a poor Ottawa Senators team. The Senators are currently a bottom five team in the league. Erik Karlsson was traded by Ottawa this past offseason making them that much worse.

Surprisingly, Ottawa has not had any trouble putting the puck in the net this season. They come into the game with the fourth most goals scored in the league. Two forwards who are having fantastic years are Mark Stone and Matt Duchene. On Defense, the offensive play of 21-year-old Thomas Chabot has been greater than anyone could have expected. All three players enter the game at over a point a game pace.

In addition, the Senators have 19-year-old Brady Tkachuk the fourth overall selection in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. Tkachuk has 11 points in 12 games, and he happens to be the cousin of Kevin Hayes. Tkachuk was also Quinn’s freshman superstar at Boston University prior to taking the coaching job in New York.

“It’s going to be strange, it’s always strange (opposing) people that you coached in college, especially your first year in the NHL and you see your former players,”said Quinn. “College coaching isn’t like any other – the relationships are so deep. He’s a great player, he’s a great kid, he’s going to be a big-time player in our league,” 

The weakness of the Senators has been their inability to keep the puck out of the net.

“We’re giving up too many goals right now,” said Ottawa head coach Guy Boucher, whose team has allowed 19 goals on their current three game losing streak. “We’ve got to be better. It’s not with complicated things, they’re simple things but they’ve got to become habits.”

Craig Anderson has started 20 games and he has a below .900 save percentage and nearly averages four goals against a game. Ottawa is the first team this year to allow 100 goals. They give up the second most scoring chances against and the third most high-danger scoring chances against. Anderson will start tonight opposite of Henrik Lundqvist.

The Rangers will once again be without Mats Zuccarello. After initially sending down Tim Gettinger following Saturday afternoon’s game against the Capitals, Gettinger was recalled less than 24 hours later. The Norwegian will miss his eighth game in the past ten.

“It just didn’t respond the way we had anticipated, so we talked to the trainers and we feel it’s better if we just hold him out,” said Quinn. “Dealing with this type of injury, it’s unpredictable, maybe the most unpredictable of any type of injury you could have. Good news is, we don’t think it’s serious.”

Mika Zibanejad will look to keep scoring against his former team. In the three games he has played against Ottawa, Zibanejad has had a goal in each game. The Rangers offense will have a great opportunity to light up the lamp after managing just three goals in the past two games.

Freddy Claesson will be a healthy scratch for the Blueshirts as Tony DeAngelo returns to the lineup. Claesson was a minus three against the Capitals. The Rangers will travel to Ottawa in their next contest on Thursday. The Senators will play at Philadelphia tomorrow night before hosting the Blueshirts.

Projected Lineup:

Namestnikov-Zibanejad-Fast

Kreider-Hayes-Chytil

Vesey-Howden-Strome

Gettinger-Andersson-Fogarty

Staal-Pionk

Skjei-DeAngelo

Smith-Shattenkirk

Tonight’s Hockey Fights Cancer Night at Madison Square Garden. On this night, the hockey community unites in support of cancer patients and their families. It is a night where cancer patients and their loved ones should feel love and inspiration. Whether someone has had cancer, currently live with it or have beaten it, this night is for you as we all fight for a cure.

“It means an awful lot to me,” said Quinn. “I lost my father in 2010 to cancer, and everybody in this room has been touched by it…I’m sure it’ll be emotional for me and everybody in the building tonight.”

“We wish you the best. Hopefully you know how much we support you and hopefully we inspire you as much as you inspire us,” said Rangers top goal scorer Chris Kreider.

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