Ranger Raphael Diaz will play against his former team tonight when the Flames take on the Rangers.
Diaz spoke this morning and said (Flames) :
- “they are a really fast team and don’t give you a lot of room on the ice. We nee to play our game and not give them room, we need to skate and play our game and the defense join the rush and play them tight.”
- On Rick Nash, “he is one of the best players in the NHL, big, fast, can score and always need to be aware of him when he is on the ice.”
- On Henrik Lundqvist, “he is unbelievable. Last year in the playoffs he was unbelievable and a big part of this group and….it’s a lot of traffic is important, traffic in front of and getting rebounds.”
The Rangers had interest in bringing Diaz back over the summer but he didn’t want to be a seventh defenseman.
This season for Calgary, Diaz has played in 13 games, is a minus 3, has zero points and is averaging 11:18 per game.
Matt Hunwick returns to the Rangers lineup tonight and will replace John Moore on the Rangers third pair with Kevin Klein. (NYR)
Hunwick last played on December 6th against the Red Wings and saw 11:20 of ice time, his lowest since October 27th.
Moore has played in three straight games, has zero points, a minus one rating, 5 shots on goal and ice time of 10:45, 15:22 and 12:06.
Alain Vigneault said that he doesn’t want Hunwick sitting too long. (Brooks)
4:30PM: Joe Colborne of the Flames said today (Flames)
- “no goalie likes traffic so we need bodies to the net and get an early one and our mojo and carry it from there.”
- On Lundqvist laughing the other night when asked about the easy game against the Oilers, “he is one of the top goalies in the world for a reason and we can’t give him easy shots, we need guys in his face, guys driving the net hard and you can get to any goalie that way.”
12/16/14 | 2:24PM: Henrik Lundqvist will start in net for the Rangers tonight against the Flames. (Zipay)
Over the weekend against the Canucks and Oilers, Lundqvist stopped 45 of 46 shots to pick up two wins and his fifth shutout of the season.
Lundqvist is 3-3 in his career against Calgary.
At the morning skate in Calgary today, the Rangers are using the same lines that they did on Sunday against Edmonton (NYR):
- Rick Nash, JT Miller, Mats Zuccarello
- Chris Kreider, Derek Stepan, Marty St. Louis
- Carl Hagelin, Kevin Hayes, Lee Stempniak
- Tanner Glass, Dom Moore, Jesper Fast
Matt Hunwick is alternating with John Moore on the pair with Kevin Klein. (Zipay)
12/16/14 | 1:30PM: Duclair was skating with Reinhart and Domi again today. (Rusic)
12/14/14 | 2:39PM: Alain Vigneault said yesterday that he told Anthony Duclair not to read into his future based on the team allowing him to play for Canada at the World Juniors. (Newsday)
If the Rangers send Duclair back to Quebec he would be guaranteed to play for the Remparts in the Memorial Cup.
Duclair said that the Memorial Cup is also important to him but he just wants to play hockey. He said that he would be happy to stay with the Rangers but also happy to go back to Quebec. (La Presse)
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The Rangers have had at least one defenseman score in four straight games and those goals have come from Kevin Klein, Marc Staal, Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh.
Staal and McDonagh scored their first goals of the season while Girardi picked up his second and first since mid-November.
Girardi said on Sunday that the team puts a big emphasis on the defense getting involved in the scoring and right now they are all “trying to follow Kleiner’s lead.” (MSG)
Klein leads the Rangers with six goals, Girardi and Dan Boyle have two each and McDonagh and Staal both have one.
JT Miller was moved to center on Sunday against Edmonton because Derick Brassard was sent back to New York to deal with the mumps.
Miller said that moving to center changes his mind set a bit as playing in the middle requires more thinking while playing on the wing is more instinctive. (NY Post)
He said that center is a more demanding position to play in the defensive zone so he needs to focus on getting back into the zone and being defensive minded. (Daily News)
Miller said while the responsibilities of being in the middle are different, he sees it as an opportunity to play with “great players.” He said that the situation isn’t ideal but it’s another chance for him to “prove his value.” (NY Post)
On his performance on Sunday, Miller said that he felt he played “okay” and didn’t do anything great or anything “too bad.” (Daily News)
Miller was sent to Hartford earlier in the season to focus on playing center.