Game Day #3: Kings-Rangers Preview

henrik lundqvist: not a king - Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sp

The Kings welcome the Rangers in their first game of the season at Staples.

Los Angeles Kings v New York Rangers (Staples Center)

Time: 7.30 PM

TV: Fox Sports West

Enemy reading: Blueshirt Banter

Rangers (projected) lineup:

Richards-Stepan-Nash
Pouliot-Brassard-Zuccarello
Pyatt-Boyle-Callahan
Asham-Moore-Dorsett

McDonagh-Girardi
Staal-Del Zotto
Moore-Stralman

Lundqvist

Kings (projected) lineup:

Brown-Kopitar-Williams
Frattin-Richards-Carter
King-Stoll-Lewis
Clifford-Fraser-Nolan

Regehr-Doughty
Mitchell-Voynov
Muzzin-Greene

Quick

Game notes:
  • Due to ongoing construction at MSG, the Rangers open their season on the road until November. They've only played one game so far, though, a 4-1 thumping from the Phoenix Coyotes (including a hat trick from our old friend, Radim Vrbata).
  • With Glenn Sather, who is totally out of his mind always open to make big changes, at the helm of the ship, the Rangers are usually an active off-season team. Given the upheaval of the past two seasons, however, the Rangers were uncharacteristically quiet this summer, focusing instead on re-signing guys like Derek Stepan and for some reason not buying out Brad Richards.
  • If Marc Staal is able to return to pre-concussion form, I think the Rangers are one of the best teams in the east. They have high-end veterans as well as youngsters with the potential to become elite, and the most reliable goaltender in the league. Of course, Marc Staal has been pretty rubbish since his concussion, and I don't see how having to recover from a gruesome eye injury helps him get any better, but now he's on the Rangers' first power play unit, so what do I even know.
  • Rangers captain Ryan Callahan, who had summer shoulder surgery (say that three times fast) is back in the lineup for tonight. Really excited to see all of his #grit and #heart tonight.
  • Benoit Pouliot, who is not particularly good, but who I will forever cherish for having the most hilarious frosted tips at the 2005 NHL entry draft, is a top-six forward for the Rangers while Carl Hagelin recovers from his own summer shoulder surgery. Woof.
  • While the Kings lost a bit of a bummer to the Jets, they won the underlying numbers battle, and were understandably fatigued on the second half of a road back-to-back. There were definitely some things to be heartened by, including: improvement from the top line, a solid first half by the second line, and an encouraging outing by the bottom line.
  • Some troubling things to keep an eye on for tonight are the third line's complete inability to play hockey (they've gotten completely killed so far), the defence's struggle to actually defend (it's been a mess in the Kings' own zone), and Darryl Sutter's management of his goaltenders
  • Jonathan Quick's recovery from back surgery and generally terrible regular season performance forced Sutter to turn to Jonathan Bernier regularly last season, which ended up being best for everyone. This season, with Ben Scrivens as a relatively unknown quantity for Sutter, I worry that things could get hairy. As Nick mentioned in the game grades, Quick shouldn't have started that game in Winnipeg, and Sutter has a history of riding his starters into the ground.
  • Prediction: Kings win 3-1, and potential Olympian Trevor Lewis gets his act together.
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