If the New York Rangers want to beat another tough team from the Western Conference, they'll need to continue their second and third period play from Friday's game against the Los Angeles Kings, and they won't be able to come out as flat as they did early on.
Saturday's game in Stockholm, Sweden is almost a worst-case scenario for New York. Their opponent, the Anaheim Ducks, is coming off a 4-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Friday, so they'll very much be out looking for revenge. Goaltender Jonas Hiller gave up four goal on 25 shots. He's talented, but the Rangers need to test him early and hope to get a quick one to keep his confidence down. The Ducks finished with 99 points last year, one more than the Kings and six more than New York.
The Ducks also possess one of the most potent first line's in all of hockey with last year's leading goal-scorer Corey Perry, Ryan Getlaf and Bobby Ryan. Expect to see a lot of Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh against these dangerous players. The ageless Teemu Selenne packs the punch on the second line, so it's not like the other D-pairings will have it any easier.
Rangers coach John Tortorella already warned his players about "taking a period off" as they did Friday.
"We just want to hopefully start our game tonight as we played the second and third period (last night)," John Tortorella said two hours before game time at the Ericsson Globe according to New York Daily News' Pat Leonard. "If we take a period off against this team, we’re in trouble … They’ll be ready to play. If a line like that is shut down, you know they’re ready - they’re gonna answer tonight. So that’s a huge part of our situation, is that top line."
Suffice to say, that this is another tough test for an inexperienced defensive core. They just can't get beat out of position against this team. New York needs to also learn from the too many penalties it took against the Kings and not be in the box all the time. Against any team, especially the elite ones, you're not going to survive always killing off man advantages.
It goes without saying that the Brad Richards-Marian Gaborik (along with Brandon Dubinsky) combination will be watched closely.
Erik Christensen takes the place of Wojtek Wolski, who has a sore groin.