The New York Rangers head to Nashville with the hopes of a road victory. It won’t come easy for the Rangers as they are 3-7-0 in their last ten games, coming off a terrible loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs. The atmosphere in New York is fragile, to say the least, a lot of trade rumors going on and a ton of media critics jumping down Ranger players throats. For a professional, as much as we think it may not affect them, the constant pressure and criticism from the media get to one’s head. And now the Rangers have to try and put the critics behind them and pull off an important road win.
The way the season is looking right now, the Rangers will be either doing two things in a month, battling for a wild-card spot, or selling their rosters top players. The question that has been a looming question for quite some time now, well the past two weeks. Anyways, the Rangers are on the verge of a major roster shakeup and if it does not happen before the deadline, we can expect the Rangers to be very active come August.
By the numbers…
Onto tonight’s game, the Rangers have not been playing their best hockey that is well known and nothing we need to harp on any further. This year though the Rangers rank 17th in powerplay percentage(19.8) to the Predators 2nd(24.6), 13th in penalty kill percentage(81.8) to the Predators sixth(83.1). Fourteenth in goals for per game(2.94) to the Predators, tenth(3.00), twenty-first in goals against per game(2.96) to the Predators second(2.47).
The Rangers top point scorers this year are Mats Zuccarello with 37 points, Michael Grabner with 21 goals, Predators top guy is PK Subban with 38 points and have three players tied at 16 goals. The Rangers offense ranks fairly well against any team in the NHL, but over the last month, they have struggled to score. They are averaging 2.75 goals for per game while allowing 3.70 goals against. Anytime the number of goals against creeps up towards four there is a problem. Henrik Lundqvist has been pulled in two games over the last month. The Predators have seen their fair share of success this season and over the last ten games picking up a point in nine of their last ten games. On top of their 67 points and top five spot in the NHL the Predators post a 17-5-3 record at home compared to the Rangers 8-12-2 record on the road. The Predators lost their five home games this season over the last two months though so perhaps that is a good sign.
Either way with the way the Rangers offense has been producing, their struggles on the backend and all the turmoil in the locker room and outside of it does not help a team be successful. The reasons I believe teams play well is because of the environment they are in when it is a winning environment with the right leadership, positive attitudes and everyone doing their job and buying then that is when teams are successful. Take a look at Vegas, Winnipeg, Tampa, Boston, Washington. All those teams have something in common, great leaders and a positive environment.
Starters for tonight:
- 25-8-3 / 2.29 GAA / .928 save percentage / 5 SO
- Last month of play 6 wins, 1.48 GAA, .947 SV%, 2 SO
- Last two weeks of play, 3 wins, 1.00 GAA, .965 SV%, 2 SO
Henrik Lundqvist (PROBABLE)
- 21-14-4 / 2.68 GAA / .919 SV% / 2 SO
- Last month of play, 3 wins 3.18 GAA, .908 SV%
- Last two weeks of play, 0 wins, 4.61 GAA, .859 SV%
Lineups for tonight
New York Rangers
Nash – Zibanejad – Buchnevich
Miller – Hayes – Zuccarello
Grabner – Holland – Fast
McLeod – Desharnais – Vesey
McDonagh – Holden
Skjei – Staal
Smith – De’Angelo
Forsberg – Johansen – Arvidsson
Fiala – Turris – Smith
Hartnell – Bonino- Jarnkrok
Salomaki – Sissons – Watson
Josi – Ellis
Emelin – Subban
Ekholm – Irwin