Madison Square Garden has seen some of the greatest performances on the planet since opening in 1879. Stones, Rangers, Knicks, Gretzky, Messier, the history of the place(s) is incredible. Amazing performances for home and away have been a hallmark of the sports franchises, with championships won for visiting teams, Knicks and Rangers. Cam Talbot has been successful in Madison Square Garden. In 37 games in the arena, his save percentage is .915 (693-757) playing mostly for the Rangers. Today, Talbot returns to MSG to face his former mentor Henrik Lundqvist at 11 our time.
Our man Nuge is bringing it in a big way this way. Early days (not that early) and we can see some really good trends. Consider some numbers so far compared to his year rates in previous seasons.
Nuge has good numbers across the board this season, but I chose these three categories to show just how good his early start to the season has been. November sometimes means injury or illness for RNH, but this season he’s delivered 5×5 offense, possession and faceoff success at a career best level. A lot of attention has been (rightly) focused on the McDavid line, but that second line with Nugent-Hopkins and Milan Lucic is delivering some solid 5×5 numbers.
ANOTHER NEW RW?
Milan Lucic and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins have been spending a lot of time together this season. In 175 minutes together, the two men have been on the ice for 10 5×5 goals for and eight against. RW has been a moving target, with Ryan Strome (66 minutes), Zack Kassian (38), Anton Slepyshev (34) and Kailer Yamamoto (33) all spending time with Nuge so far this season.
The two men probably get another new winger today, with the recall of Jesse Puljujarvi from Bakersfield yesterday. An interesting bit of trivia: Last season, Puljujarvi and RNH spent just 39 minutes together.
Note: All numbers via NaturalStatTrick.
THE OTHER SIDE
New York is on a roll, winning their last five games in a row, 7-2-1 in their last 10. The timing was perfect, as coach Alain Vigneault was being mentioned as a strong early candidate for first coach fired. The Rangers are a famous team, with a fairly recent SCF appearance (2014), but are in or approaching a period of transition.
The big stars for NYR in the last 10 games are Mike Zibanejad (10, 3-9-12), Pavel Buchnevich (10, 6-4-10), Kevin Shattenkirk (10, 3-7-10), Ryan McDonagh (10, 0-9-9) and Michael Grabner (10, 6-1-7). Chris Kreider has also contributed five goals in that span.
This guess just subs in Puljujarvi for Slepyshev. We’ll update the lineups as they come out.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
- Larry Brooks, NY Post: When (Henrik) Lundqvist is surrendering marginal/soft goals and is fighting it, as he was for the most part through the second period of the Oct. 31 match against the Golden Knights that seems to be dividing point between the Dreadful Rangers and the Hopeful Ones, his body language is bad enough that it can be contagious. Source
GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers shock fans back at home with a strong opening period. It’s tight checking and both goalies are brilliant, but Patrick Maroon scores midway through the frame and Edmonton wins the period 1-0.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The second period is marred by a parade of penalties, with both teams testing the officials time and again. Mike Zibanejad and Connor McDavid exchange power-play markers and it’s 2-1 Edmonton after two.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The third period sees the Rangers post 22 shots on Cam Talbot, scoring twice. Mark Letestu gets the tying goal with 1:11 left and it’s McDavid to Draisaitl in OT for the third time on the trip!
Take home a growler, a crowler, a sixer, a mixer, whatever. Sherbrooke Liquor. Where’s Your Beer?
Source: NHL.com, Official Game Page, 11/11/2017, 8:30am MST