Thursday, October 10, 2013
W2W4: Rangers at Ducks
By Katie Strang
At a glance: It’s hard to imagine any team wanting to get back on the ice more than the Rangers right now, as the humiliation of Tuesday night’s 9-2 loss to San Jose continues to fester.
Though it’s early, the shameful debacle had to provoke a lot of uncomfortable questions. Among them -- what type of team is this going to be under Alain Vigneault? And can they replicate the success they had under John Tortorella?
A poor preseason performance has already bled into the team’s season-opening road trip and the Rangers have to correct things quickly before pressure mounts. They face a Ducks team ready for its home-opener and on a two-game winning streak.
Nash out: The Rangers will have to get back on track without Rick Nash, who returned to New York on Thursday with what is likely a head injury. Nash was forced from Tuesday’s game after taking a hit from San Jose’s Brad Stuart, who earned a three-game suspension for the illegal check to the head. Nash, who missed time with a concussion last season, also is not likely to play Saturday in St. Louis.
Back in the middle: After two games at left wing, veteran Brad Richards has been moved back to center, according to reporters in Anaheim. The 33-year-old is slated to center Benoit Pouliot and Ryan Callahan as Vigneault shakes up the lines in Nash’s absence. Derek Stepan appears to have been relegated to the third line.
Fast times in Anaheim: Without Nash, Swedish rookie Jesper Fast draws into the lineup. The 21-year-old winger, who played 10 minutes, 13 seconds in the season opener, was a healthy scratch the past two games.