Saturday, October 22, 2011

Game Day: Rangers vs Oilers **UPDATE**

New York (2-1-2) vs Edmonton (2-2-2)
Time:     8:00pm
Where:   Rexall Place
Watch:   CBC
Listen:    630 Ched

Projected Line Combinations

Hall - Nugent-Hopkins - Eberle
Smyth - Horcoff - Jones
Paajarvi - Gagner - Omark
Petrell - Belanger - Eager

**UPDATE**Looks like Linus Omark will be sitting to make room for Sam Gagner and Anton Lander stays in the starting lineup. He will slide into Omark's spot on the wing with Paajarvi and Belanger.

**UPDATE**Smyth - Horcoff - Omark and Jones - Gagner - Paajarvi as the top three lines. That being said, that won't be happening. Not much should be expected from Gagner off the bat as he had little to no pre-season before injuring his ankle. It will take him time to get his game on track which is another reason that sitting Nugent-Hopkins makes little to no sense.

With all the buzz being the possibility of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins being scratched for tonight game, until I hear it confirmed, I will include him in the starting lineup. With Sam Gagner most likely returning to the lineup, I am guessing the lines will look something like the combinations listed above but I would much rather see Hall - Nugent-Hopkins - Eberle,

Defence Pairings

Gilbert - Smid
Whitney - Potter

Sutton - Barker

I know the staff would like to get Theo Peckham back into the lineup but at the moment, I can't see that happening. Of the six players currently starting, Barker has been the weakest of the bunch but taking out a puck moving defenceman in place of Peckham doesn't seem least not yet. Theo will have to bust his behind in practice and wait for an opportunity to get back in.



Looks like the rotation will end tonight as Khabibulin will get the nod in goal.

Look for the Oilers to continue with the goalie rotation and start Devan Dubnyk between the pipes. Both goalies have been great so far and Nikolai Khabibulin actually leads the league with a 0.95 GAA and is second in the league with a .960 save percentage. Not too shabby for a guy many felt was washed up and should have been thrown on the scrap heap.
  New York Notes 

  • After starting the season winless in their first three outings, the Rangers have taken the first two games on their swing out west, beating both Vancouver and Calgary.
  • Brad Richards has started off his time in New York on a five game point streak. He has a goal and four helpers on the season and is starting to find his way in the Big Apple. If healthy, Richards should push the 90 point for a second straight season.
  • The always dangerous Marian Gaborik is the early leader for the CY Young Award, with four goals to start the season and not a single assist to go with them. The talented Czech has scored in three straight for the Rangers and always seems to put points on the board against the Oilers. In 46 career games against Edmonton he has managed to put up 45 points. Gaborik is still one of the best pure goal scorers in the league and if he were to remain healthy and play the majority of the season with Brad Richards, a 50 goal season would not be out of the question.
  • Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist just keeps rolling right along. While the Rangers struggled to start the season, the Swede has been in top form from the drop of the first puck. Fresh off a 40 save shutout performance against the Canucks earlier in the week, the netminder comes into tonight's contest with a 1.72 GAA and .946 SV%...typical Lundqvist numbers.
  • New York have yet to play a game with defenceman Marc Staal in the lineup.Staal is still suffering from port concussion symptoms that date back to a hit he received from older brother Eric Staal in a game against the Carolina Hurricanes. He played sparingly after the hit last February and still is not fully recovered. He is a huge part of the Rangers blueline and is simply irreplaceable.

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