Rangers vs. Senators -7:00 PM MSG
I hope you all had a great weekend. Tonight is the first time Derick Brassard comes back to MSG since being traded over the summer (together with a seventh round pick) for Mika Zibanejad and a 2nd round pick. Zibanejad, of course, remains out with a broken fibula. Taking his place in the lineup as facing the Senator’s for the first time is Matt Puempel, who the Rangers claimed off of waivers from the Senators last week. Puempel scored on Friday in his first game as a Ranger.
Starting off our work week with tomorrow morning’s review will be James G. Thanks for he help, James! Clearly, this is an HAV.
Tonight’s probable lineup for the Rangers (15-6-1), via Steve Zipay (@stevezipay):
Chris Kreider-Derek Stepan-Jesper Fast
Michael Grabner-Kevin Hayes-Brandon Pirri
Mats Zuccarello-J.T. Miller- Rick Nash
Matt Puempel-Josh Jooris-Jimmy Vesey
Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi
Marc Staal-Nick Holden
Brady Skjei-Kevin Klein
The big news, of course, is that JT Miller will start this game at center after playing on the wing all year. This is just the first of many line changes, including definitive top six forward, Jesper Fast, playing on the first line. BDL must be thrilled. No longer playing center is Brandon Pirri. Wicky must be thrilled.
Honestly, I’m not sure what to make of these lines. I’ve disagreed with AV in the past and been proven both right and wrong. In this situation, my biggest gripe would be that Rick Nash has been coming on lately, so I don’t understand the logic in breaking up what was working for him. That said, after being grossly out possessed and outchanced in the last 40 minutes against the Flyers, not to mention the beat down against Pittsburgh on Wednesday, it is probably time for a change.
Raanta gets the start in goal. Lundqvist gets rested tonight after dragging the team to a win against the Flyers. I still find all of the Raanta clamoring hysterical. Everyone always loves the backup. I wonder if these people were begging for Healy in 94.
The defense remains unchanged, so Clendening remains Prucha’d for a fourth straight game. I still disagree with this arrangement. Skjei should be playing more often, not less. Although, I’ll say Nick Holden has has a good stretch here. Kevin Klein has struggled mightily this season.
For the Senators (13-7-1), the story of the season is goaltender Craig Anderson’s wife’s courageous fight against cancer. Anderson has rejoined the team and been sensational. He will get the start in goal tonight. Mike Hoffman has returned to the lineup for the Senators and has had some chemistry with Brassard.
Don’t forget to tell everyone you know and to follow me on Twitter @rangersreport2. And don’t forget to vote for your three stars after the game!