The New York Rangers continue their road trip with a matchup against the Anaheim Ducks. The Ducks are coming off a beat down from the Sharks as the Rangers are coming off a terrible loss vs the Kings. The last time these two met was December 19, 2017, except this was on the Rangers home ice and the score was 4-1. A lot has changed since then for both teams, the Ducks were banged up, missing a ton of weapons and now the Rangers are in the same spot the Ducks were in.
The Rangers come into this game with a record of 24-19-5, 52 points, the second wild-card spot and on a two-game losing streak. The Rangers are 4-6-0 in their last ten and post a 7-11-2 road record. Meanwhile, the Ducks come into this game with a 22-17-9 record, 53 points, and four points away from a wild-card spot. The Ducks are 6-3-1 and 12-9-3 on home ice.
If I were to assume anything it would have to be that the starters are most likely going to be Henrik Lundqvist(21-13-4) and John Gibson(16-14-5), these two goalies are coming off enough rest to start this game and I believe Gibson did not even start last game for the Ducks. The game airs at 10:00 PM (EST), all action can be caught on MSG+, a major test for the Rangers as their back is against the walls.
A look at the Rangers…
The Rangers rank up as a middle of the pack team right now, not performing well and doing just enough to get by. On the season the Rangers are within the top 15 for most team statistics. They are ranked 15th for power play percentage(19.6), 12th for penalty kill(82.1), 15th for faceoff percentage(50.5), 13th for goals for per game(2.94) and 17th for goals against per game(2.83). The harrowing statistic though over the course of this season though is how terrible the Rangers play five-on-five, after last games 23 shot attempts, the Rangers are now the worst team in the NHL when it comes to shot attempts per 60 minutes during the five-on-five action. This just shines a light on the Rangers lack of forwarding depth and lack of depth scoring. A team that was once averaging three-plus goals per game and had little trouble scoring. The odd thing about the Rangers awful shot attempts per 60 minutes is that they still rank within the top 15 for goals on the year(141).
A look at Anaheim…
Anaheim, now they are a team that has been just barely getting by and a playoff spot does not look hopeful for them. They went a majority of the season battling some major injuries, Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Kesler, Jakub Silfverberg, Rickard Rakell, Corey Perry all these players were injured at some point and at one point the Ducks were missing three to four of their top six forwards. So, for a team that has battled these many injuries and still posting an above .500 record, kudos to them. The Ducks have struggled on the power play this season ranking 23rd among all NHL teams(17.1), have a rather successful penalty kill at 82.6 percent(9th), rank 10th for faceoff percentage(51.2), 25th for goals for per game(2.69) and 12th for goals against per game(2.71). Therefore the Ducks do not score an awful lot but they also do not let up a ton of goals either as they have allowed 130 goals on the season.
The Rangers will be most likely getting back Kevin Hayes as he did join the Rangers on their road trip, Hayes has sat out the last two games with a lower-body injury. Hayes has been among the more consistent forwards for the Rangers this season posting 10 goals, 8 assists and 97 shots on goal this season and has played just about any position they need him too. The Rangers will also have Marc Staal back as he did play against L.A. the other night and collected 16 minutes of ice time, with Shattenkirk out all Rangers defenseman that are healthy are good enough. They need as many defensemen as they can get. Another takeaway is that with Marc Staal back Anthony DeAngelo is the 7th defenseman as Steve Kampfer is the healthy scratch. De’Angelo has played a total of 10 games in the NHL this season collecting two assists both on the power play. His last assist came the last game vs L.A. The 22-year-old defenseman is definitely more so offensive minded, but he adds the spark to the Rangers back end that I believe is needed right now. He is playing power play two alongside Brady Skeji and seeing around 17 minutes the last two games.
No injuries to be reported out of Anaheim as they will have a healthy lineup tonight, which means their top-six consists of Rakell-Getzlaf-Perry, Cogliano-Kesler-Silfverberg. When healthy the Ducks are dangerous, not a team the Rangers can take lightly.
No game can be taken lightly from here on out. Because as the Rangers play tonight so do the Flyers, Penguins, and Devils. A Rangers loss, a Penguins win pushes the Ranges out of a wild-card spot and climbing their way back in. The Rangers are only separated by three points for a top-three Metropolitan spot. They trail the Flyers by one point and are tied with Pittsburgh and the Islanders with 53 points. The Rangers need a huge win tonight, a confidence-boosting win, a win before they hit the break because their next game is vs San Jose and it won’t get any easier after tonight.