@ New York Rangers
Sunday, Dec 15, 2013, 5:00 PM MST
Madison Square Garden
The Opposition: Blueshirt Banter
TV: Sportsnet Flames
Radio: The Fan 960
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It took extra time, but the Flames eventually disposed of the worst team in the league and escaped Buffalo with two points. Tonight, they will look to do the same to another New York team that is having a disappointing season. Alain Vigneault's New York Rangers are sitting at 13th in the Eastern Conference, and with 31 points are just one point ahead of the Flames in overall league standings.
The Rangers have lost four in a row and are just 5-9-1 at MSG this season, where they've scored just 72 goals in 33 games this season, 28th in the NHL. Goalie Henrik Lundqvist has played uncharacteristically poorly over the course of the Rangers' four game slide, allowing a total of 14 goals before being pulled in Thursday's 4-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets, where he allowed three goals on 13 shots.
Karri Ramo, on the other hand, has been the opposite of poor. Ramo has allowed just seven goals in his past five starts, and just one in each of his past two wins. He's set to get the start again tonight in what will be the second of back-to-back games for the Flames. Ramo's impressive performance of late has obviously earned him the confidence of Bob Hartley, and I'm glad to see him finally being handed the reigns after taking a back seat to a struggling Reto Berra for so long.
Here are the projected lines and pairings for tonight's contest:
Sean Monahan returned to the Flames' lineup yesterday after recovering from a hairline fracture in his foot. Monahan played 15:20 in his first game back yesterday versus the Sabres, including 3:20 on the powerplay. Blair Jones returns to the Flames' lineup tonight while TJ Galiardi will be a scratch for the second consecutive game. It appears David Jones could also be a scratch for the Flames. The forward played just 11:21 in Calgary's 2-1 overtime win over the Sabres yesterday afternoon.
The Rangers are still missing Ryan Callahan and Marc Staal, who suffered a concussion last Saturday. Centre Derick Brassard, however, is expected to make his return to the lineup tonight.