Pregame Analysis

Rangers Travel to Calgary Against the Elite of the West

The Rangers are in Calgary where they will face a tough test against the Stanley Cup contending Flames (9:00 P.M. ET, MSG).

The Blueshirts are coming off a disappointing 4-1 defeat to the Vancouver Canucks. After a scoreless first period, both teams came out for a competitive second period. But things would take a turn for the worse when Chris Kreider would throw a hit on Elias Pettersson. Kreider was given a major penalty for elbowing and a game misconduct. Things would continue to get worse minutes later when Tyler Motte scored twice in an eleven second span.

However, as the third goal wasscored, Brendan Lemieux was given a very questionable major penalty and gamemisconduct for a hit on Antoine Roussel. Rangers personnel including head coachDavid Quinn were visibly now happy with the call on the play, let alone a gamemisconduct. Lemieux collided with an off-balanced Roussel resulting in Rousselgoing down awkwardly and getting injured on the play. After looking at thereplay, it was clear Lemieux did no wrong on the play.

“It gets real tiring talking about thesethings,” Quinn said. Mika Zibanejad was given a major and game misconduct justover a week ago against Dallas which was later rescinded by the NHL.

“We can sit here and talk about thepenalties all we want, but I’m going to focus on the things we can dobetter,” said Quinn. The Blueshirts finished the game with over 13 minutesin penalties.

Tonight, the Rangers will look to move past that as they face a tough test against the Calgary Flames. The Flames currently sit third place in NHL and could jump to second with a victory tonight.

“It’s going to be a good test for us,” said Ryan Strome. “Every timewe’ve played a top-end team, we’ve always risen to the occasion, so I expect usto do that tonight. There’s always something to take from a game like this forus.”

Calgary will finish a three gamehomestand tonight against Rangers. In the previous two games, the Flames put upa combined 15 goals including a 9-4 blow out win over the New Jersey Devils.New Jersey native, Johnny Gaudreau is fourth in the NHL in points with 90. Herecorded a hat trick against the Devils in their last game.

“Our identity when we’re playing our best is skating and staying ontop of guys, so we definitely need that against their top offensive guys,” saidJimmy Vesey.

Sean Monahan and Elias Lindholmmake up the rest of the first line with Gaudreau. Both players each have 76goals. Matthew Tkachuk also has 68 points on the Flames second line. On theback end, 35-year-old Mark Giordano is a plus 29 and has 65 points.

David Rittich will start for the Flames.Riitich made 44 saves in a 4-1 victory in Madison Square Garden this season. AlexGeorgiev will start for the Blueshirts. Georgiev is coming off a 3-2 overtimedefeat in Edmonton.

Boo Nieves and Freddy Claesson will be healthy scratches for the Rangers. In addition, the Rangers signed 20-year-old Jake Elmer. Elmer has 78 points in 66 games in the WHL. Elmer also had a 13-game goal streak during the course of the season.

Projected Lineup:

Namestnikov-Zibanejad-Chytil

Kreider-Strome-Fast

Lemieux-Howden-Buchnevich

Vesey-Andersson-Brickley

Staal-Pionk

Skjei-DeAngelo

Smith-Shattenkirk

Georgiev

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