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Preview, Game Day #54: Kings @ Rangers

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I live in this city and I ain't going to this game, because capitalism sucks. Vote for Bernie.

i can guarantee this won't happen again, actually
i can guarantee this won't happen again, actually
Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles KingsNew York Rangers

Time: 4:00 Pacific

TV: Fox Sports West, MSG, NHL Network US

Enemy Reading: Blueshirt Banter

Los Angeles Kings

Lucic-Kopitar-Brown
Pearson-Carter-Toffoli
Gaborik-Lecavalier-Lewis
King-Shore-Nolan

McNabb-Doughty
Muzzin-Martinez
Gravel-Schenn

Budaj
(Schenn)

Injured: Quick Scratched: Clifford, Andreoff, McBain

New York Rangers

Kreider-Stepan-Zuccarello
Miller-Brassard-Fast
Lindberg-Hayes-Stalberg
Glass-Moore-Paille

Yandle-Girardi
Staal-Klein
Boyle-Mcilrath

Raanta
(Lundqvist)

Injured: McDonagh, Nash

Stats & Such
(Fancy stats courtesy War on Ice)

Team Kings Rangers
Record 32-18-3 31-18-5
Points 67
67
Division Rank 1st 2nd
Streak Lost 1
Won 4
Goals For/Game 2.79 2.89
Goals Against/Game 2.38
2.54
ES Goal % 51.5
58.3
ES Shot %
54.3 49.3
ES PDO 99.2
102.8
ES Corsi % 56.2 48.2
ES Fenwick % 55.7 49.1
ES Scoring Chance % 55.1 47.1
ES High-Danger SC % 53.9 45.9
Power Play % (Rank) 22.9 (4th)
15.8 (28th)
Penalty Kill % (Rank) 82.3 (10th)
78.4 (25th)
Starting Goalie (today) Budaj Raanta
Goalie Record 0-0-0 4-4-1
Save % n/a .909
ES Save % n/a .910

Notes:

  • So hey, last night sucked huh? Imagine being there live. Did I mention this was what my view looked like? Yeah. Not a fun time. Let's just not talk about it ever again.
  • The Kings continue their trek through the greater New York metropolitan area tonight with a date with the Rangers, as they try to continue their success this season in back-to-backs (really after that effort last night they certainly can't claim to be fatigued and oh crap I'm breaking my own promise already let's move on). The lines will be shuffled around a little bit, as you get a sense of which lines Darryl had more of an issue with from the Brooklyn debacle; the first and third lines stay intact, but Dwight King comes off the 2nd and moves down to the 4th. Tanner Pearson draws back into the lineup after missing two games, as he'll get another shot on the 2nd line with Carter & Toffoli. Meanwhile, the 4th line is totally flipped as Shore comes back in for Andreoff (sorry husbando but thank god) and King replaces Clifford, who also sits. The defensive pairings look to be the same as last night.
  • In net will be Peter Budaj, making his first NHL start of the season. As you may have heard by now, his AHL numbers with the Ontario Reign are very nice (.935 sv%!!!) and he's definitely earned this shot, Quick injury or not. Per the NY Daily News, Budaj has faced the Rangers twice before: he shut them out with 27 saves on 10/28/13, which is good! But he also gave up 5 goals on 8 shots when he came in relief during Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals in 2014, which is....less good, imo. Anyway! Peter Budaj! Everyone get hyped!
  • Our opponents tonight are the New York Rangers, who have the same number of points as the Kings, have won 4 straight, and oh my god look at that even strength PDO wow. Okay so yeah, the Rangers' fancy stats aren't exactly lighting the world on fire this season. The one thing to keep in mind though is that their puck possession metrics have both been trending upward for the last little while; since January 1st, the Rangers have a 53.1% Fenwick & 51.4% Corsi in 16 games, a huge improvement on what they were doing in the season up until that point (47.2% Fenwick/46.8% Corsi in 38 games). Their play so far in 2016 has at least moved them out of the bottom tenth of the league in the possession metrics and more toward the middle of the pack, so that's certainly a good thing if you're a Ranger fan. They've gotten better at scoring chance % since then too- 45.4 scoring chance/44.7 high danger % through 12/31, 51.0 scoring chance/48.7 high danger % since 1/1- which is nice for them too, I guess. Maybe they'll have to change the name of that DVD if this keeps up (that's one of my favorite tweets of the season, btw)!
  • On the other hand, the Rangers are facing some big injury problems: namely Ryan McDonagh's concussion (ex-King Wayne Simmonds gave him a sucker punch during a Rangers-Flyers game last weekend and despite the punch not looking like much, it ultimately concussed him) and Rick Nash's deep bone bruise. McDonagh skated for ten minutes this morning so he looks to be progressing, but he won't be in the lineup tonight. Nash on the other hand hasn't even been skating of late, so who knows when he'll be back.
  • I would like to take this time to note I live in this city and am not going to this game, because Rangers tickets have gone from their previous level of "super expensive" to "only the Monopoly man can afford them" over the past two seasons. This is somehow Obama's fault, I bet. Need a job creator to holla at me and get me something that pays better than this (this pays nothing). Oh well, I'm going to the Devils game on Sunday at least, because Devils tickets are about as difficult to get as tickets to an All Japan Korakuen show at this point.
  • PREDICTION: I'm not there so probably 5-0 Kings win. Bonus prediction for Sunday's game: Kings lose 7-0 and I get hit in the face with a puck.