The fans followed Kevin through another lost season, marching toward another draft where they could once again be the center of attention for all the wrong reasons. Kevin didn't want anyone to complain and so he spoke to them saying, "A great leader will be delivered to the fans, and they will kill him. He will be killed after delivering three first overall picks, but then he will rise again!" The fans didn't fully understand what he was saying, but they were afraid to ask him, thinking that it might be about Tambellini.
Madison Square Garden, 5:00 p.m. MST
The Race to the Bottom (It's Happening Again):
Visiting Team Scouting Report: At the beginning of the season, I thought that the Rangers would be a pretty good team, but they started the year horribly, and at Christmas the club was just 18-18-2. Since then, the Rangers have gone 13-5-1, and have been playing much better hockey. That said, the team's fortunes have mainly turned on the improved play of Henrik Lundqvist who has a .940 overall save percentage since Christmas. Happily for the Oilers, he won't even be in net!
Edmonton Oilers (19-33-6):
Hall - Nugent-Hopkins - Yakupov
Perron - Gagner - Eberle
Hendricks - Gordon - Hemsky
Gazdic - Smyth - Jones
Marincin - Petry
N Schultz - J Schultz
Fraser - Ference
New York Rangers (31-23-3):
Kreider - Stepan - Nash
Hagelin - Richards - Callahan
Pouliot - Brassard - Zuccarello
Boyle - Moore - Carcillo
McDonagh - Girardi
Staal - Stralman
Moore - Klein
By The Numbers:
- Nail Yakupov has seen his ice time cut pretty drastically over the last several games. He has played more than his season average of 14:07 in just one of his last ten games. He'll start tonight on a featured line, but that could easily change as the game goes on, and given recent history, I pretty much expect that it will.
- The Rangers recently acquired Kevin Klein from the Nashville Predators for Michael Del Zotto, but they haven't played him a whole lot. Klein is averaging just 16:15 per game since the trade and hasn't played more than 19:01 in any of this first five games with New York. It's the kind of stat that makes you wonder if they might be regretting the deal.
- Sticking with the ice time theme, Matt Hendricks is another former Predator who has seen his ice time shift since leaving Nashville, but in his case, the ice time is going up. Hendricks has averaged about two minutes more per game with Oilers and four of the seven games that have seen him play 15:00 or more this year have been with the Oilers. This despite the fact that he's played just nine games in Edmonton and had forty-four in Nashville.