Thursday, January 24, 2013

Pregame Notes: Rangers vs. Flyers Tonight at 7 p.m.

After last night's thrilling overtime win thanks to Marian Gaborik's hat trick, the Rangers are right back at it tonight in Philly against the Flyers. The Rangers, who have won eight straight against Philadelphia dating back to last season, will look to move to 2-3-0 on the season. Henrik Lundqvist will be back in goal tonight coming off of his best performance of the young season last night against Boston.

Some quick notes:

- Chris Kreider, who played just 7:21 in last night's overtime win against the Bruins and has only one shot through the first three games of the season, will be a healthy scratch tonight in Philly. John Tortorella has clearly been frustrated with Kreider's play through training camp and the early part of the season, and he said after last night's game that the Rangers brass will have to meet to discuss whether the best course of action is to have Kreider remain with the team or to send him down to the Connecticut Whale. I would think they're leaning towards sending him down, but time will tell. Kreider committed a penalty last night and never really saw the ice again after that.

- The Rangers recalled forward Kris Newbury from the Connecticut Whale after last night's game, and he will dress tonight in Kreider's spot in the lineup.

-  Arron Asham skated at practice today, but will miss his second consecutive game with a strained groin. That means Stu Bickel, who played just 3:00 last night, will once again dress as a forward on the fourth line while Steve Eminger will remain in the lineup and be paired on the third d-pairing with Anton Stralman.

- The third and fourth lines are up in the air, but we definitely know what the top two lines will look like tonight. Rick Nash-Brad Richards-Marian Gaborik will be the first line, while Taylor Pyatt-Derek Stepan-Ryan Callahan will be the second. Beyond that, I would have to guess the third line will be Hagelin-Boyle-Newbury and the fourth line of Rupp-Halpern-Bickel will remain the same as last night.

- As mentioned above, Henrik Lundqvist will be in goal once again this evening. I originally thought we might see Marty Biron in goal tonight with four games in the first six games of the season, but that's not the case. Lundqvist still looked a little shaky in goal in last night's win, so I'm sure he wants to continue to work through his struggles until he finds his game and get his rhythm back.

- The Rangers made a trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins today, swapping minor league right wing Chad Kolarik for center Ben Ferriero. Ferriero, 25, has skated in 92 career NHL games (all with the San Jose Sharks) and has posted 14 goals and eight assists for 22 points. Playing for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the AHL this year, he has racked up four goals and 14 assists for 18 points and 14 penalty minutes in 34 games. Kolarik, who missed all of last season with a knee injury, has 16 goals and 19 assists for 35 points in 41 games with the Connecticut Whale this season, and was named to the AHL All-Star team as the Whale's lone representative. Seems a little bit of a strange that the Rangers would trade Kolarik, who I always liked and felt could be a decent 13th forward option for the Rangers, for a guy who's essentially an AHL grinder, but who knows. I guess it's possible Kolarik asked for a trade. I did think it was odd that the Rangers didn't even invite him to camp this year before the season started considering the year he's having in the AHL, but either way - a minor trade like this is nothing to get up in arms about.