By: David Kolb | @DavidKolbMSG
DETROIT RED WINGS (1-2-0) @ NEW YORK RANGERS (2-1-0)
The Rangers host the Detroit Red Wings at Madison Square Garden tonight for the first of three games the clubs will play this season. The Rangers will begin play with a 2-1-0 record following a 7-4 win over the San Jose Sharks, while the Red Wings begin the night 1-2-0 after dominating the Ottawa Senators, 5-1, Monday.
SPEED IS THE NAME OF THE GAME FOR RANGERS
Nine different Rangers have scored goals and the Blueshirts’ 4.67 goals per game lead the NHL through the first week of the season. Led by Chris Kreider’s 18 shots on net, the Rangers’ up-tempo style of play has found success. It should be on display again tonight against the Red Wings.
WINNING AT THE FACEOFF DOT
The Rangers have been successful in the faceoff circle, winning 55.6 percent of all faceoffs, ranking them fifth in the NHL. The faceoff wins have translated into puck possession and the Blueshirts hope to utilize their strength up the middle to gain a territorial edge over Detroit.
STOP THE VANEK LINE
Thomas Vanek seems very comfortable in Detroit after signing with the Red Wings in the offseason. Through three games, the Austrian forward has five points (two goals, three assists) and three power-play points (one goal, two assists). The Blueshirts will need to pay special attention tonight to the Gustav Nyquist-Darren Helm-Vanek line, as they have combined for 12 points in their three initial contests this season.
MAKE SURE IT’S NOT GREEN’S DAY
Veteran defenseman Mike Green showed that he could still fire the puck after recording a hat trick against the Ottawa Senators. Green is currently tied for the team lead in points, making it necessary for the Ranger wingers to pay special attention to the former 31-goal scoring backliner.
Look for Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill to try and match up their first pair of defenders of Green and Dan DeKeyser against the Kreider-Mika Zibanejad–Rick Nash line as often as possible. The duo has each averaged over 23 minutes per game through three tilts.