The Flames make their second stop on this five-game road trip as they visit the New York Rangers tonight at MSG (5PM MT, Sportsnet West) in what will be the lone meeting between the two clubs this season. If the visiting team has one thing going for them tonight, it's that they've had some success against the Blueshirts recently, earning the 'W' against the New Yorkers last season and the year before that at the Garden.
New York currently sits at 11-9-1, good for seventh in the East, and are a perfectly average 5-5-0 in their past ten games--although that still looks a hell of a lot better than the Flames' paltry 2-7-1 record. Surprisingly, the Rangers are two games under .500 at home, so the Flames would be best advised to try and get an early jump on them to take the notoriously rowdy MSG crowd out of the game, although that might be easier said than done on the second night of a back-to-back.
The Ranger' leading point-getters 21-games in are the second line trio of Ryan Callahan, Artem Anisimov, and Brandon Dubinsky who have scored a combined 24 goals and 51 points so far this season. They are also a combined -12, but with veterans Chris Drury and Vaclav Prospal out, they're seeing more of the opposition's best, leaving easier pickings for Marian Gaborik and Alex Frolov. Brandon Prust will play his former team for the first time tonight since being traded for the second time back in February.
New York doesn't exactly boast the league's best powerplay, but the Flames penalty killers will need to be a lot better than they were when they allowed three powerplay goals in yesterday's loss. Of course staying out the box and some fairer officiating would help too, but that's no excuse for getting beaten on special teams. Miikka Kiprusoff was a miserable 2-5 on the PK last night, and while there's no doubt the team in front of him has to be better, so does he. There's only so much you can expect from your goaltender when your team allows nearly 40 shots on him, but a couple pucks found their way past him last night that shouldn't have. Hopefully he'll be getting some rest after tonight, as Henrik Karlsson is scheduled to make his first start since that barn-burner against Colorado Wednesday in New Jersey.
Olli Jokinen will miss the chance to play against the team he suited up for briefly last season as he serves the third and final game of his three-game suspension tonight before rejoining the team for Wednesday's contest in New Jersey, while Robyn Regehr will be a game-time decision for the Flames after appearing to injure himself in the third period of last night's game.
Lines and Pairings:
Martin Biron will counter in net for the Rangers.
Enjoy the game everyone, and relish Olli Jokinen's final game in the press box (for now) in the comments. Go Flames.