Who Wins the 2014 Stanley Cup?

New York Rangers

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Game Day: High-Powered Capitals Visit The Rangers
The Rangers take on another streaking team in the Capitals, winners of four in a row...


The Rangers will need to give a sure-to-be-busy Lundqvist help tomorrow night


The Rangers will need to give a sure-to-be-busy Lundqvist help tomorrow night

Capitals @ Rangers

Madison Square Garden, 7:00 p.m. Tuesday

Rangers record: 7-6-1

Capitals record: 10-4-0

 

The Rangers will face a slightly less-hot team on Tuesday night when they host the Washington Capitals, who have won only four in a row in comparison to St. Louis’s streak of six straight wins entering the Rangers’ last match.

But this game will be quite different from yesterday’s tilt against St. Louis.  The Blues played a very tight defensive game on Sunday night whereas the high-flying Capitals are unmatched in terms of offensive firepower.  Washington is currently ranked second in goals per game, eighth in goals against, 10th on the power play, and seventh on the penalty kill.  In other words, this isn’t going to be an easy one.  And of course, playing Washington means playing against Ranger-killer Alex Ovechkin (although he does dominate against pretty much everyone).  AO is off to a typical start for him with eight goals and 10 assists in 14 games, but he’s not even the Capitals’ leading scorer.  That honor currently belongs to Alexander Semin, the lesser-known sidekick to Ovechkin that scores at a very similar pace.  The duo is also on a line with one of the premier playmakers in the National Hockey League in Nicklas Backstrom.  If that weren’t enough, the Capitals have very solid secondary scoring in Eric Fehr, Brooks Laich, Tomas Fleischmann and Mike Knuble.  They also boast talented young offensive defensemen in Mike Green and John Carlson.  But perhaps the most pleasant surprise for the Capitals has been the play of rookie goalie Michal Neuvirth who has filled in admirably for the injured Semyon Varlamov.  Rangers fans will remember Varlamov from their first round playoff series two years ago when Varlamov was thrust into NHL action and was brilliant in eliminating the Rangers.  But the Capitals were also simultaneously grooming Neuvirth, 22, and he’s been very strong thus far this season with an 8-3-0 record, 2.41 GAA, and .914 Sv%. 

The Rangers are close to getting Marian Gaborik back but will have to wait at least one more game before their offense is rescued.  Coach John Tortorella has emphasized that other players on the team needs to generate offense outside of the top line.  Recently its been Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Callahan and Artem Anisimov generating offense or the Rangers don’t score.  Against a team like Washington, that won’t be enough.  Evgeny Grachev has been returned to Hartford meaning Todd White will most likely play.  Though Grachev didn’t look completely out of place during his stint on Broadway, White will be more useful to the Rangers right now around the net, in the faceoff dot, and on the power play.

For the Rangers to have any hope of winning tomorrow night, they must contain Washington’s top line.  It’s difficult to stop the Capitals’ attack completely, but the key is to keep the first line relatively at bay or else you have no chance.  Obviously, taking too many penalties is always a problem, but never more so than against a team with as many skill players as Washington.  The Rangers will have a very difficult time outscoring the Capitals, so their best hope is to play to their recent strengths of employing a strong fore-check, blocking shots and shooting lanes, and playing very smart team hockey.  The Rangers have had reasonable success against Washington in recent years because Henrik Lundqvist is always up for these types of games, but they’ll have to help him out especially in the wake of so many key injuries.  The power play has been going reasonably well lately and is five for its last 21, so if Capitals take some penalties (and they do frequent the box) the Rangers could keep it close.  But if they don’t bring their A-game, another opponent will extend its winning streak against the Blueshirts.  

Posted by Kevin Baumer | November 8, 2010 at 09:25 pm
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New York Rangers VS Minnesota Wild
Tuesday, October 28, 2014

  1 2 3 OT F
Rangers 0 0 5 - 5
Wild 0 3 1 - 4








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