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Preview: Rangers at Flames

Calgary looks for offense, end to three-game losing streak; New York shuffles lines

by Aaron Vickers / NHL.com Correspondent

RANGERS (10-4-0) at FLAMES (5-9-1)

10 p.m. ET; CBC, SN1, MSG+, NHL.TV

 

Rangers team scope

Coach Alain Vigneault will shuffle the lines when the New York Rangers open a four-game road trip. "The last couple of games have not been up to our standards," Vigneault said. "We've talked within our group about it. We know we need to play the right way with and without the puck. That's what we're going to try to do tonight against a real good opponent." Derek Stepan will center Chris Kreider and Rick Nash, and Mika Zibanejad will play on a line with Mats Zuccarello and Pavel Buchnevich. Kevin Hayes and J.T. Miller will skate with Jimmy Vesey, and Brandon Pirri will play between Jesper Fast and Michael Grabner. "I think everyone's happy to play with each other," Hayes said. "We've got 12 offensive guys here. No matter who you play with you're going to have some good looks." Nash has seven goals in 14 games this season after scoring 15 in 60 games last season. He scored his 400th NHL goal in a 5-3 loss against the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday. "He knows what he's doing out there," Hayes said. "He's an impressive player to watch. He kind of has that low-key mentality to him. On the ice he's working hard and he knows how to score. It's why he scored his 400th the other day. He prepares himself well. I like to emulate what he does on and off the ice. It's impressive stuff."

 

Flames team scope

The Calgary Flames are on a three-game losing streak and have lost five of their past six games. "Things can be frustrating at times," forward Sean Monahan said. "Things don't always go your way. It's a long season. As a group we have to work harder and make those opportunities for ourselves." The Flames have scored eight goals in their past six games. Johnny Gaudreau, who had one goal in his previous nine games, scored twice in a 4-2 loss against the Dallas Stars on Thursday. Monahan, who centers Gaudreau, hasn't scored in his past six games. "I know I've got to be better," Monahan said. "I'm not happy with my game right now. I've just got to continue to work hard and find ways to figure out my game." Calgary's power play is 30th in the NHL (8.0 percent) and they are the only team in the League without a power-play goal on home ice this season (0-for-26). "If you're not getting it done on the power play, not scoring goals, it can be frustrating," Monahan said.

 

Rangers projected lineup

Chris Kreider -- Derek Stepan -- Rick Nash

Pavel Buchnevich -- Mika Zibanejad -- Mats Zuccarello

Jimmy Vesey -- Kevin Hayes -- J.T. Miller

Michael Grabner -- Brandon Pirri -- Jesper Fast

Ryan McDonagh -- Dan Girardi

Marc Staal -- Brady Skjei

Nick Holden -- Kevin Klein

Henrik Lundqvist

Antti Raanta

Scratched: Adam Clendening, Oscar Lindberg

Injured: Josh Jooris (shoulder)

 

Flames projected lineup

Johnny Gaudreau -- Sean Monahan -- Alex Chiasson

Hunter Shinkaruk -- Sam Bennett -- Troy Brouwer

Micheal Ferland -- Mikael Backlund -- Michael Frolik

Matt Stajan -- Linden Vey -- Freddie Hamilton

Mark Giordano -- TJ Brodie

Brett Kulak -- Deryk Engelland

Dennis Wideman -- Dougie Hamilton

Brian Elliott

Chad Johnson

Scratched: Jyrki Jokipakka, Garnet Hathaway

Injured: Ladislav Smid (neck), Kris Versteeg (groin), Lance Bouma (upper body), Matthew Tkachuk (wrist)

 

Status report

The Rangers and Flames each held optional skates Saturday. Lundqvist is expected to start after taking the loss in a relief appearance against the Canucks. … Elliott will start for the Flames. Wideman, who has been scratched in four straight games, could play in place of Jokipakka. Tkachuk will miss his second straight game because of a cut on his wrist sustained in practice Wednesday. He is day to day. ... Flames coach Glen Gulutzan could make changes to boost the power play. "We are looking at a few things here," he said. "A lot is based on our specialty teams. That's what I'll say with the lineup.". ... Calgary recalled Garnet Hathaway from Stockton of the American Hockey League on Saturday.

 

Who's hot

Hayes has four goals and 10 points during a six-game point streak. ... Skjei has seven assists during a six-game point streak. He is the first Rangers rookie defenseman to have a six-game point streak since Brian Leetch (Feb. 17-Mar. 1, 1989). … Gaudreau has two goals and an assist in his past two games.

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