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Rangers Prospects Watch: Nov. 27-Dec. 3

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers
· Prospects Weekly Review

Here's a look at some of the upcoming games involving Rangers prospects from Nov. 27-Dec. 3:

Games of Nov. 28

Marc Staal, who is playing his best hockey on both ends of the ice, leads the Sudbury Wolves as they host the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in a battle of two very evenly matched teams. While Sudbury ranks second in the Central Division with 30 points, the Greyhounds sit in third place in the West with 31 points. The Wolves have scored 98 goals on the season and have allowed 95 against, while their opponent has scored 95 and let in 97. Still, the key to this game could very well be the Sudbury captain. Staal notched his first goal of the season against Sault Ste. Marie on Oct. 11, and is bringing in a two-game point-scoring streak. In his last three games the Rangers' 2005 No. 1 draft pick has notched one goal and two assists since returning from the OHL All-Star/Team Russia challenge.

Games of Nov. 29

The lone match tonight features Ryan Hillier and the Halifax Mooseheads hosting the Moncton Wildcats. Hillier has always been successful vs. the Wildcats. Last season, he assisted on both of Halifax's goals in a 5-2 loss on Oct. 28, and in the first meeting between these clubs this season, the Rangers' 2006 third-round draft choice scored a second-period goal to put the game away for a 5-1 Mooseheads victory. Hillier has been on a roll lately, capped off by a goal for the QMJHL All-Stars against Team Russia in the ADT Canada-Russia Challenge on Nov. 20. Halifax will need a strong effort from him if they are to snap out of a 3-6-1 funk against a Moncton team that has gone 7-3 in its last 10 games.

Games of Nov. 30

Tom Pyatt, Tomas Zaborsky and the rest of the Saginaw Spirit face off against the Kitchener Rangers in the teams' first meeting this season. The Spirit rest atop the West Division with a league-best 39 points, while Kitchener ranks second in the Midwest Division with 32 points. Last season, Pyatt tallied a goal and two assists in four meetings with Kitchener, and he will look to repeat those performances as he remains in the hunt for the goals title in the OHL. His 20 tallies are currently three behind John Tavares of the Oshawa Generals.

Games of Dec. 1

The most intriguing game this evening involves the Rangers seventh-round draft choice this past June, Lukas Zeliska, as the Prince Albert Raiders travel to Regina to square off against the Pats. After a relatively slow star, Zeliska has had a solid rookie campaign, and has really turned on the jets as of late. He recorded 11 assists in November, and he kicks off December looking to add to the three goals and 14 assists he currently boasts. The playmaking center is riding a season high four game point scoring streaks, notching five assists in that span. The last time these two squads met, Zeliska added an assist on the power play midway through the third period to tie the game in a game that Regina eventually won in overtime.

Games of Dec. 2

Calgary is the site of a pivotal match between the Central Division leading Medicine Hat Tigers and Calgary Hitmen, who trail their rivals by 12 points heading into this week. The Hitmen need a win if they are to threaten Medicine Hat for the crown, and they will rely on Brodie Dupont to lead them to victory. In the three meetings between the two teams, Dupont has notched one goal and two assists as Calgary won two of three with their only loss coming via a shoot-out. In that shootout loss, the power forward tallied a power play goal with just 3:02 remaining in the third to earn a point for the Hitmen. With a victory in this meeting, Calgary won't only close the game on Medicine Hat, they might be able to leapfrog the Kootenay Ice for second place in the division.

Games of Dec. 3

With Evgeni Malkin playing with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Rangers prospect Jan Marek has done more than pick up the slack by taking over as the leader of Magnitogorsk in the Russia Superleague. Marek, an eighth-round selection in the in the 2003 NHL entry draft, is averaging over a point-per-game for Magnitogorsk, tallying 16 goals and 13 assists for 29 points in 26 games. His 38 penalty minutes are also a fine reflection on his overall gritty nature. Marek will seek to pad stats against a very solid Soviet Wings team.
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