New York Rangers @ Nashville Predators: Game Day Preview

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The Nashville Predators welcome the New York Rangers to town tonight at Bridgestone Arena, just a day after getting blown out on the road by the Minnesota Wild. The Rangers beat the Panthers 3-0 yesterday, so both teams will be coming off short rest.

After the jump, lineups and your pregame thoughts.

Lineups

Nashville

Rinne played yesterday, but Anders Lindback played the final two periods, so this is really anyone's guess.


Pekka Rinne

#35 / Goalie / Nashville Predators

6-5

207

Nov 03, 1982


GP MIN W L EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2010 - Pekka Rinne 15 877 6 6 36 2.46 430 394 .916 2

David Legwand is, as of publishing time, on injured reserve, so I'll assume he's still out tonight. Matthew Lombardi, obviously, remains out with a concussion.

Forwards
Sullivan (A) - O'Reilly - Hornqvist
Tootoo - Smithson - Ward
Dumont - Goc - Erat
Wilson - Spaling - Kostitsyn
Defense
 Suter (A) - Weber (C)
Klein - Bouillon
Franson - O'Brien

New York Rangers

Henrik Lundqvist started last night against the Panthers, so don't be surprised to see backup Martin Biron tonight.


Martin Biron

#43 / Goalie / New York Rangers

6-2

180

Aug 15, 1977


GP MIN W L EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2010 - Martin Biron 8 447 5 2 16 2.15 193 177 .917 0

When you consider that the Rangers are actually missing captain Chris Drury and last year's 2nd best point scorer Vinny Prospal, this is actually a pretty deep squad.

Forwards
Dubinsky (A) - Stepan - Gaborik
Fedotenko - Boyle - Callahan (A)
Frolov - Anisimov - Prust
Avery - Christensen - White
Defense
 Staal - Girardi
Del Zotto - Eminger
Sauer - Gilroy

Before tonight's game, I was able to chat with one of the more prominent Rangers' bloggers, Scotty Hockey. Here's what he had to say on the Rangers and their season to date: 

 

The best way to sum up the Ranger season to date is to call it
inconsistent. It is quite maddening to watch a team look so good on
some nights and so horrible on others but it makes sense. Despite
management's claims that the team is not rebuilding, this is indeed a
rebuilding season in New York. The franchise is trying to put together
a team that will contend for the Cup when the renovations are finished
in MSG - about two, three years from now. The first generation of the
rebuilding Rangers is getting important minutes and are acquitting
themselves well while most of the next generation is gestating in the
AHL (Evgeny Grachev, Ryan McDonagh and Pavel Valentenko), juniors
(Dylan McIlrath, Christian Thomas and Ryan Bourque) and the NCAA (Carl
Hagelin).

The current kids have had to be alright as many of the vets have been
hurt with Gaborik, Drury, Prospal and Rozsival all missing numerous
games. Callahan, Dubinsky, Staal and Girardi have become the leaders
and the crutch that carries the team night after night. Brian Boyle
has learned to skate and play within his limitations, keeping things
simple and just shooting when he gets a chance - a change that has
paid off in goal after goal. Perhaps the biggest issue with the team
is the netminding - odd to say when you have someone like Henrik
Lundqvist but true. When Hank is in net the team all-but-abandons him;
they don't block shots, they don't get into passing lanes, they aren't
as physical and they take more stupid penalties. But when the backup
Marty Biron is in, they tighten up faster than Bettman's sphincter
when Sean Avery steps to a microphone. Hank has allowed more soft
goals and has not dominated the way he used to so, while there is
little chance that the journeyman will supplant the Swede (as you
Nashville folks are used to), Biron is getting increased action as
Hank tries to regain his magic. Once he does and the guys in front of
him play the same smart, tough way they do with Biron in back, then
the team will be very dangerous.

 

Thoughts

  • While I'll be the first to tell you things need to be fixed, and now, the Predators' situation just isn't as dire as it seems. With sixty one games left to play, they are just six points off the conference lead. The sky isn't falling, people. If the team still can't win consistently when David Legwand and Matthew Lombardi return, then lets talk. Until then, wait it out.
  • As I mentioned, the Rangers are a deep and competitive squad, and one I think could be a dark horse in the East. They have 25 points, and have done much of the work without Marian Gaborik, Chris Drury, and Vinny Prospal. Brandon Dubinsky leads the way with 19 points, but surprise contributor Brian Boyle has 10 goals. Much like Nashville, the Rangers get scoring from all over the lineup.
  • The power play burst to life against Minnesota, scoring twice. They failed to notch one on the man advantage, but hopefully it was a sign of things to come. Martin Erat finally scored, and you hope that that too will be the beginning of great things. You can't put much stock in hope, though, so the Preds need to do like the state of Missouri would and show us.
  • New York averages almost 3 goals per game. Nashville has to have a defensive performance completely opposite from the one yesterday afternoon, where everyone from Shea Weber to Alexander Sulzer played the puck instead of the body.
  • Please win.
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