Alright, let’s get this out of the way now. Rick Nash did, in fact, submit the 12-teams the Rangers could trade him to earlier today. Nash does, in fact, have a no-move clause, so either he waivers that or the Rangers find one of those 12-teams to take him. Yes, this means ultimately Nash is on the move as the trade deadline creeps up. More to come about this topic later today.
Some other news out of New York is that Marc Staal is dealing with a possible career-ending injury, after taking a brutal hit to the head by Nashville’s Alexi Emelin. Jimmy Vesey is dealing with concussion protocol after taking a late/unnecessary from Nashville’s Filip Forsberg. As things could not get worse for the Rangers they now battle injuries on top of all the trade rumor turmoil.
A Look at the Dallas Stars
To the action now, the Rangers continue their Texas road trip with another top ten team in the NHL, the Dallas Stars. The Stars have found themselves in a wild card spot and three points away from the Blues for a top three divisional spot. Over the last ten, the Stars are 6-3-1 and are currently on a two-game win streak, after a 5-1 win over Minnesota Saturday night. The Stars glaring advantage here is their offense, with an offensive consisting of Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn and Alexander Radulov they see their fair share of goal scoring, throw in the mix Norris favorite John Klingberg the Stars are not a team to overlook nor take lightly. Not saying the Rangers are, looking at how much they have struggled over the last month and a half they should not take any team lightly, not even a peewee hockey team. Anyways, I feel as if many fans do overlook the Stars.
The Stars rank eighth in goals for(162), eight in goals for per game(3.06), fifteenth in powerplay percentage(20.6) and 16th in shots for per game(31.7). They see much of their offense from four players, the four I mentioned above, Radulov(50 points), Klingberg(50 points), Benn(49 points) Seguin(47 points), when a team has four players that are almost a point per game, wins should not come hard. The Stars taper off a ton after those four as Mattias Janmark has 29 points as the next top point scorer. The key to the Rangers victory is quite obvious slow these four down and they have a good chance of winning.
A Look at the New York Rangers…
The Rangers line up looks a little different tonight as Vesey is out and Staal is out as well, that means Steve Kampfer draws in as the 7th defenseman, Vinni Lettieri draws back in the line up, Grabner moves up to the second line, Miller moves up to first line and the Rangers defense is even more of a concern now. Unlike the Stars, the Rangers do not have a group of players that do their heavy lifting, all Ranger players do their “fair share” and contribute about the same. The Rangers top four point scorers consist of Zuccarello(39), Miller(34), Buchnevich(32), Zibanejad(29), and after that, there are seven players with 20 plus points. The Rangers have slowly fallen out of the top 15 over the last few weeks due to their little to no production on the front and backend and attempting to fight off these trade rumors.
The Rangers last faced off against Dallas on December 11, in which they lost in a shootout 2-1. Many Ranger fans at the moment would be happy with a shootout loss, but unfortunately with the way things have gone that may be a bit difficult.
What can we expect tonight? 3 Predictions…
At this point who knows, I have lost a lot of confidence in this Rangers team and as the injuries build and the trade talk continues I am not too sure we will see a solid performance from this group until the trade talks stop or something actually happens. The Stars are a solid team on home ice, posting an 18-8-1 record, while the Rangers are 8-13-2 on the road.
- Stars capitalize on the power play and give the Rangers a hard time on special teams. We can expect Tyler Seguin, Benn and Radulov to record at least one point each tonight.
- Rangers play a slow game and catch for the majority of the game. Can expect to see the Rangers come out slow in the first and pick it up when it is too late. Typical Rangers stuff.
- We may see a fight tonight, the Rangers are frustrated, to say the least, and something may just occur that we don’t see occur too often.
Starters for tonight…
Henrik Lundqvist: 21-15-4 / 2/72 GAA / .918 SV% / 2 SO
Ben Bishop: 21-14-3 / 2.47 GAA / .917 SV% / 4 SO
Let’s see how this one turns out tonight…
Trade alert article coming ASAP, be on the lookout!