It the latest installment of “The Week Ahead”, we take a look at what the New York Rangers are in store for this week before they embark on another lengthy road trip. This time it is only five games. The Rangers didn’t have that great of weeks going 1-2. The Rangers saw their modest three-game win streak snapped by the hands of the New Jersey Devils. Devils downed the Rangers 3-2 last Tuesday night. With plenty of rest on their side, the Rangers didn’t take to the ice until Saturday night when they played host to the Montreal Canadiens. With back-to-back games staring them in the face, Cam Talbot got the nod in goal and responded. Talbot and the Rangers shutout the Habs 1-0. The week ended on a sour note as the Rangers got shutout by the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday by a score of 1-0. The Rangers are currently 10-10-0 and in third place in the Metropolitan Division.
Tuesday November 19 vs Boston Bruins (13-6-1, 27pts, 3rd in Atlantic Division)
The Boston Bruins saw their four-game win streak snapped on Friday against the Ottawa Senators. They returned to their winning ways on Monday night when they defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 4-1. The Bruins are enjoying some early success this season because of their goaltending. Tuuka Rask (11-5-1) has done a tremendous job so far for the Bruins. Boston leads the league in goals against average with an outstanding 1.84. Rask is tied for 5th in wins amongst all NHL goaltenders. If the Bruins want to remain in the hunt, Rask has to continue shutting teams down.
Milan Lucic (9g – 7a) is tied with David Krejci (3g – 13a) on the team in points with 16. This is the first of three meetings between these two teams this season. The Rangers are going to have their work cut out for them bringing one of the worst scoring offenses in the league against the league’s best goaltending. The Rangers are going to have to be creative if they want to win before hitting the road.
Thursday November 21st @ Dallas Stars (11-7-2, 24pts, 5th in Central Division)
The Lindy Ruff led Dallas Stars have been playing well recently by winning their last three games and six out of their last seven. The Stars have registered a point in seven of their last eight games. The 24pts that the Stars have is good for only fifth in the Western Conference’s Central Division. The Western Conference is playing some good hockey so far this year. Good thing for the Rangers is they only have to face two from the west this road trip.
If Dallas wants to have success against the Rangers, they are going to have to do a better job on special teams. The Stars are 28th in the league on the powerplay and they will be facing the Rangers who have made a steady rise in the league on the penalty kill. The Stars have two players leading the team in points with 23. Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin are leading the way for the Stars. Seguin is leading the team in goals with 12. Kari Lehtonen has been great in netso far this season for the Stars posting a 10-3-2 record with a 2.01 goals against. Again the Rangers will have their hands full with another team that has strong goaltending. New York will need to crash the nets and be a bit more creative to get their offense going in the right direction.
Saturday November 21st @ Nashville Predators (9-9-2l 20 points, 7th in Central Division)
One of the hardest things to do in the NHL is be successful when your #1 goalie goes down with an injury. That is what the Preds have had to do while Pekka Rinne is out with a hip injury. The Predators snapped a four-game losing streak on Saturday as they had a convincing win over the defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks 7-2. The seven goals the Predators scored against Chicago was more then they scored during their losing streak.
David Legwand is leading the team in points with 17, while Patric Hornqvist leads the team in goals with 6. Nashville has used four goalies this year. Carter Hutton is tied for the team lead in goals with Pekka Rinne each having four. Hutton’s goals against average is 3.39 which is 28th in the league with a minimum of 10 starts. This could be a perfect opportunity for the Rangers to score some goals and build momentum for the rest of the road trip.
This isn’t going to be an easy week for the Rangers by any means. Starting the week against the Bruins is a tall order. They will need to come out sharp and ready to work because you know the other teams will be ready.
John Is a contributor with The Hockey Writers covering the Buffalo Sabres. He is also a Senior Writer and Editor at MetsMerizedOnline.