The Rangers have been surging up the Eastern Conference standings over the past few weeks. With another win on Thursday, New York improved to 7-3-1 over their last 11 games and they are suddenly in the thick of the Wild Card race. Following a slow start to the year, the Rangers now have 35 points and a 16-12-3 record in 31 contests this season. Meanwhile, Anaheim is trying to battle its way out of the cellar in the Pacific Division after getting out to a disappointing start. The Ducks are tied for the second-fewest points in the Western Conference standings with just 30 through their first 32 games. Can New York close out its road swing with a victory on the road in Anaheim on Saturday afternoon?
Rangers hope to close out successful road trip vs. DucksNew York got back on the winning track on Thursday night with a 6-3 road win against the San Jose Sharks. Artemi Panarin scored a hat trick and finished with four points on the night while Mika Zibnejad also lit the lamp twice for the Rangers, who scored four unanswered goals in the third period to close out the game. Andrew Georgiev was asked to make just 15 saves as the Rangers dominated play, outshooting the Sharks 30 to 18 on the night.
Decent shot. pic.twitter.com/mOyb8AwnES— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) December 13, 2019
Panarin continues to pay immediate dividends in his first season in New York. The 28-year-old is in the midst of a breakout campaign after tallying at least 74 points in each of his first four NHL seasons. After a pair of campaigns in which he averaged better than a point per game with the Columbus Blue Jackets, Panarin has taken another leap forward at the ripe age of 28, posting 41 points through his first 31 games in New York. He leads the team with 23 assists and 18 goals, including six on the power play and his 13 power-play points lead all Rangers’ skaters. Panarin has been a major reason why the Rangers rank eighth in goals per game (3.23) and 10th on the power play with a 20.9 percent conversion rate.
Veteran Henrik Lundqvist is scheduled to patrol the crease for the Rangers at the Honda Center on Saturday. The 37-year-old is 7-7-2 with a 3.15 GAA and .911 save percentage in 18 games (17 starts) this season. He has allowed three goals or less in four of his last five starts and is coming off a month of November in which he went 5-2-2 with a .916 save percentage. He hasn’t squared off against the Ducks since the 2017-18 season.
Ducks fall short once again vs. KingsAnaheim lost a one-goal game in regulation for the third time in four contests on Thursday night, falling to the Los Angeles Kings at home 2-1. Anaheim outshot Los Angeles 37 to 37 and John Gibson made 25 saves but it wasn’t enough for the Ducks, who didn’t score until Derek Grant’s power-play goal midway through the third period. The Ducks have not won back-to-back games since the calendar turned to November and they are just 4-9-4 since Nov. 1.
Getting consistent offensive production is still a problem in Anaheim. A year after ranking dead-last in goals per game, the Ducks are 27th in the league at 2.56 goals per game and they rank 30th on the power play at just 12.2 percent. In fact, they’ve scored only 10 power-play goals in 82 opportunities while allowing five shorthanded goals during that span. Jakob Silfverberg leads the team with 11 goals while captain Ryan Getzlaf leads the team in points (25) and assists (15) through 32 games.
Ryan Miller is scheduled to guard the cage for the Ducks on Saturday night. The 39-year-old is 4-2-2 with a 3.00 GAA and .908 save percentage in nine games (eight starts) this season. The Ducks’ backup goaltender has allowed three goals or less in seven of his nine appearances and he’s posted a .931 save percentage over his last two starts.
- Rangers are 4-1 in their last 5 road games.
- Rangers are 6-2 in their last 8 Saturday games.
- Ducks are 4-13 in their last 17 overall.
- Ducks are 1-4 in their last 5 games playing on 1 days rest.
- Ducks are 2-8 in their last 10 home games.