NHL Preview – NY Rangers vs La Kings

NHL Preview – NY Rangers vs La Kings


This evening, Madison Square Garden hosts a highly anticipated Stanley Cup finalists rematch. The World champions, the Los Angeles Kings, make the cross country journey to New York to take on the very team they beat in the finals last year, and the current league leaders, the New York Rangers.

Rangers on the rise

Wow, the New York Rangers have just ascended to the top of the league out of nowhere! Since starting elite goaltender, Henrik Lundqvist, went out injured, these guys have been rolling, despite being consistent all season, and finally they have secured the top spot. This can be contributed to their performance at home, being the fifth best home team in the league, earning 23 wins from 36 games at the garden. The even more impressive thing about the Rangers sitting first in the league, the East and the Metropolitan is that they still sit two games in hand to most of the teams in the top ten, they’ve built a brick wall around them which is looking ever more likely hard to break down. The Rangers are without Kevin Klein and Martin St. Louis tonight, but this shouldn’t pose many problems seeing as the depth of this team is probably the most impressive in the league. As expected, Cam Talbot gets the start between the pegs who has been one of the most imposing goaltenders in the league since taking over from Lundqvist. Talbot has gone 9-1-3 at home this season, posting an impressive 1.64 GAA and .943 SV% which are the numbers of an elite tendie. He stopped 36 out of 38 shots in his last start in the 7-2 win against the Anaheim Ducks. The Rangers have amassed an incredible 11-0-2 record against Pacific opposition this season, and although both losses came at home, it took a shootout for the other team to win it.

Stanley Cup winners slipping

It’s hard to criticise the Kings after achieving, excuse the pun, Hockey royalty last season by winning the Stanley Cup. They are, as has to be expected, a slick Hockey team who produce results. That being said, they’ve been suffering a Stanley Cup hangover somewhat this season. Part of this is down to their record on the road, which even though it has been improved dramatically as of late, it was absolutely awful at the start of 2015. They now own a 13-14-7 road record which is the 8th worst in the league. The poor results on the road translates into their place in the standings, currently sitting 17th in the league, 9th in the West, and 4th in the Pacific. They’re currently fighting a losing battle to not become the first team since the 06/07 Carolina Hurricanes to miss the playoffs a season after winning the Stanley Cup. They’ll be without forwards Tanner Pearson and Jarrett Stoll for this tilt which isn’t ideal when facing a surging Rangers team. It’s probable that the current William Jennings trophy holder, and elite tendie Jonathan Quick will get the start between the sticks tonight who has pieced together good numbers this season, with a 2.27 GAA and .917 SV%, it’s debatable how he’ll play on the road though. The Kings have gone 5-6-3 against Metropolitan opposition this season, two of those wins coming on the road against the Blue Jackets, and in their most recent game against the Devils, two of the weakest home sides in the league.

When you get a Stanley Cup Final rematch the season after, it’s always going to be intense. I was sold on how good the Rangers looked at the start of the season, but they’ve really come into their own this side of the season, and they’re looking like one of the most tooled-up and dangerous sides in the league. Cam Talbot is playing some great goalie right now, and with the depth of forwards who put a massive seven goals up on the Ducks just the other night, I think the Rangers get another win against a team who’ve struggled on the road all season. With nine wins in their last ten games and a much more well-rounded team, I see the Rangers getting a convincing victory tonight, motivated still by their loss in the Final to the same team.


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