Three Keys to Tonight’s Rangers-Blues Game

By: David Kolb

@DavidKolbMSG

NEW YORK RANGERS (1-0-0) @ ST. LOUIS BLUES (2-0-0)

PREGAME COVERAGE: 7:30 PM, MSG

The Rangers will travel to St. Louis tonight to face off against the Blues at Scottrade Center. The Rangers hope to improve to 2-0 after defeating the Islanders, 5-3, on Thursday, while the Blues look to start the season with three straight wins, following their 3-2 win over the Minnesota Wild.

RANGERS KEY FOR SUCCESS

The Blues are a high-skill team, so the Blueshirts could get into an entertaining end-to-end game. That being said, the Rangers need to make the most of their opportunities – including hitting the net when the shot is there and thinking shoot before the pass.

Nine of the Ranger forwards recorded points against the Isles on Thursday, indicating what we already know; the Blueshirts are a deep team offensively. Pressure needs to come from all four lines against the Blues to keep their defense unbalanced and on their heels.

Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault is encouraged from what he's seen from Chris Kreider, Mika Zibanejad and Pavel Buchnevich and the chemistry they've formed together.

KEY TO STOPPING ST. LOUIS

New York has the depth offensively to play with top-flight teams, such as the Blues. All four lines need to be sure, however, to backcheck, and not allow Paul Stastny, Alex Steen, sniper Vladimir Tarasenko or any of the other skilled Blues forwards to spring odd-man rushes.

The Blues already have three power-play goals this season, signaling that the Blueshirts would be best served if they stay out of the penalty box. The Rangers were shorthanded three times against the Islanders on Thursday, killing all three penalties.

Dan Girardi

KEY MATCHUP

The Stastny-Steen-Robby Fabbri line has recorded eight points in two games for the Blues, and the Rangers will attempt to counter that trio with their top defensive pair of Captain, Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi — as often as possible.