Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Game 15: Rangers vs Capitals Preview

Rangers (7-6-1) vs Washington (10-4)
Key Opposing Player: Alexander Ovechkin (8-10-18)

Staal - Rozsival
Del Zotto - Girardi


Tonight when the Rangers take on the Washington Capitals they will be looking to get back on the winning track both overall and especially at home.  For the entire offseason the Rangers have talked about needing to be better at home and so far they have put together a miserable start on home ice at 2-4-1.  This week they have 3 games, all at home, and there would be no better way to kick off a push to get some home ice advantage than to beat the talented Caps tonight.  In order to accomplish the Rangers will have to impose their best style of game on the Capitals in they will have to possess the puck, fore-check and work the cycle in the offensive zone while limiting odd man rushes and blocking lots of shots.  Obviously that is a lot easier said than done when facing a team with the number of talented individual players the Capitals possess, but as they say, that is why these guys are paid to be professionals. 

The Rangers will need the Dubinsky-Anisimov-Callahan line to get back to how they had been playing before the last game and they will also need other players and lines to start pitching in offense.  Ranger specialty teams will also be very important both in killing off any Capital chances and in converting better than they have the last few on their own chances.  The key on the Ranger pp is what always is when they struggle, a need to shoot the puck and get bodies to the front of the net.  Also do not be at all surprised if Tortorella goes back to Staal-Girardi tonight as he often does against the Capitals in an effort to slow down Ovechkin and Backstrom.

The Capitals have the big names in Ovechkin, Backstrom and Semin who are all playing to their reputations right now with huge starts to the year, but their depth is impressive when you consider guys like Laich, Fleischmann, Carlson get absolutely no credit for their talent on a large scale.  In goal the Rangers will be facing rookie Michal Neuvirth in all likelihood and he has played as a number one and with the offense he has behind him he only has to be good enough to win most nights.  Washington still has vulnerabilities on their own blue-line, which the Rangers will have to exploit in conjunction with a great night from Henrik if they look to pull it out.

Prediction: Stepan scores; Rangers lose 4-2