Monday, October 7, 2013
W2W4: Rangers at Kings
By Katie Strang
At a glance: The Rangers had a full three days to mull the disappointment of their season-opening 4-1 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes Thursday night and now it's back to work as they face the L.A. Kings Monday night at 10:30 in their second game of the season. Amid a daunting nine-game road trip to start the year, the Blueshirts have a tough week of hockey ahead as they play four games in six nights beginning with the 2012 Stanley Cup Champions.
Captain’s back: The big news for the Rangers, of course, is the return of captainRyan Callahan, who is coming off shoulder surgery this summer. The 28-year-old winger, who missed Thursday’s game, is cleared to play and raring to go. His presence will provide the Rangers with some much needed grit and energy in the lineup; the team is already without one of their other top-six forwards in Carl Hagelin, who is also recovering from off-season shoulder surgery. Hagelin is on Long Term Injury Reserve.
Lineup change: Scratched for Thursday's game, rugged veteran Arron Asham returns to the lineup as it appears coach Alain Vigneault is opting for some more toughness. Making room for his return, the Rangers are expected to scratch Swedish rookie Jesper Fast. The 21-year-old swinger, who made the team out of training camp, was limited to 10:13 in Thursday's loss to the Yotes.
Killing time: Callahan's comeback will also be a significant coup for the team's penalty kill, which struggled on Thursday. The team gave up only one power-play goal but surrendered two goals soon after a penalty expired. Monday will be a tough test against the Kings, who are three for eight (37.5 percent) on the power-play in the first two games of the season.
Quick-sand: Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick did not have an ideal start to the season. The 2012 Conn Smythe Trophy winner was yanked from the team's 5-3 loss to Winnipeg Friday after giving up four goals on 27 shots, though coach Darryl Sutter said Quick was pulled because of "momentum."