Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Game Day: LA Kings

Sitting atop the Eastern Conference, tied for first with the Stanley Cup Champ Pittsburgh Penguins, your New York Rangers face off tonight at MSG against the Los Angeles Kings.

LA has finished out of the playoffs for six straight years (we did seven straight just a few years ago) but they narrowly missed last year and have a young team on the rise. This year they're hot out of the box with a 4-1 record.

Goaltender Jonathan Quick, who had an invite to the US Olympic camp, has a 3.00 Goals Against Average and a .898% save percentage. Our own Hank has a 2.41 GAA and a save percentage of .919%. [Editor's note - we are hearing that the King's goaltender will get a rest tonight and the back-up, Erik Ersberg, will get the start]

The Kings (not King Henrik) are led by the 10 points of center Anze Kopitar, and the 8 points of Left Winger Ryan Smith. The Rangers are led by Marian Gaborik's 9 points and 5 goals (and plus 7). Prospal and Dubinsky, Marian's linemates, have benefited from Gabby's extra attention. Dubi has 6 points and Prospal has seven.

On Special teams, the Kings have connected on a full third of their Power Plays, notching 7 of 21 and putting them in the league's top five in that regard. In comparison, our Rangers - after having the worst PP in the league last year, are thrilled to have reached the middle of the pack with a 22.6% success rate.

On the Penalty Kill the Kings are in the bottom 4 with a 63.2% success rate. The Rangers, on the other hand, boast an 86.7% kill rate, putting us in the top seven (plus we lead the league with 2 short handed goals.)

So on Specials, the Kings potent PP against the Ranger's skilled PK is the matchup to watch.

Our lines tonight figure to be: just like last time:

Prospal-Dubinsky-Gaborik - These guys score every game and had a goal on Monday

Higgins-Drury-Callahan - a goal for Cally on Monday

Lisin-Anisimov-Avery - two goals for Seanny

Brashear-Boyle-Kotalik - Kotalik and his cannon dropped to 4th line to get Avery on the 3rd line. Also - don't be surprised if Brashear sits one out and Voros gets a try here.

Puck drops at 7pm. Since the Yankees will be off - we can expect to get Nugman's attention this evening, and his on-the-fly, in-game posting is quickly becoming legendary. (Did you notice the great Steve Zipay has tried a little half hearted in-game post of his own? The more the merrier, but there's only one Nugman).

Leave the laptop running as you watch the game tonight - so you can check our frequent updates. I know I will.
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