By Michael Walters
The Anaheim Ducks(40-23-11) face the New York Rangers(46-25-4). The Ducks are 0-1-0 against the Rangers this season.
The Ducks are riding a three-game winning streak and currently find themselves in a three-way tie for first place in the Pacific Division. Both San Jose and Edmonton are tied with Anaheim, but the Ducks do control their own destiny as they have a game in hand over both teams. Winning the division hasn’t translated into much come playoff time, but the Ducks are getting hot at the right time. Rickard Rakell leads the Ducks with his career-high 32 goals. Jakob Silfverberg has 21 goals and Ryan Kesler has 20.
Keys To The Game
The Ducks are going to be tested tonight as they go against a Rangers team that averages 3.13 goals per game, which is 4th best in the league. The last time the Ducks played the Rangers they dropped 44 shots on them but were only able to score once. The Ducks are going to need to do a better job of creating traffic in front of the net in hopes of getting some rebounds or deflections. The Rangers penalty kill is suspect at 79.6% efficiency, so the Ducks need to stay on the forecheck and draw penalties to create power play chances. The Ducks power play is the one area that is lacking as the playoffs approach.
Anaheim’s Projected Lineup
Jonathan Bernier, 17-7-3, GAA 2.45, SV% .918 (Probable)
New York Rangers Outlook:
The Rangers have the 4th best record in the Eastern Conference, but the three teams ahead of them are all in the season division as them. The Rangers will likely be the Metropolitan wild-card team with Washington, Columbus, and Pittsburgh battling it out for the top three spots. The Rangers played last night and beat the Kings 3-0 further damaging their playoff hopes. Michael Grabner leads the team with 27 goals. Chris Kreider has 26 goals and Rick Nash has 21 goals.
Keys To The Game
The Rangers only managed 20 shots on the Ducks in their first meeting but were able to pull out a 4-1 win. New York averages 31 shots on goal and will likely try to pepper the Ducks net. They do also give up 31 shots per game so this could be a wide open affair. The Rangers did play last night so they will look to get a lead early in this contest. As the playoffs approach the Rangers need to work on their special teams. Their power play is 19.3% efficient which is 16th in the league and their penalty kill is 79.6% efficient which is 23rd in the league.
New York Rangers’ Projected Lineup
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March 26th, 2017