This is a must win for the Rangers. They dropped the ball in Philly against what was more or less an AHL defense, and now they desperately need two points against the Panthers. They are still on pace to finish their final ten games at that 6-3-1 pace we determined would be enough to make the playoffs, but they sure are making us sweat for it.
On the forecheck, the Panthers play your traditional 1-2-2 hybrid trap, which sends one forechecker deep to harass the breakout, and clogs the neutral zone with two guys up high and two defenseman back by the defensive blue line. In the defensive zone, the Panthers are like the Rangers in that they play a low zone collapse. On special teams, the Panthers are like most NHL teams, in the sense that they use an umbrella powerplay and a hybrid diamond/box penalty kill. There’s nothing special here.
For more on Tortorella’s systems read here.
2012-2013 Records: Panther (13-23-6), Rangers (21-17-4)
NYR Leading Scorer: Rick Nash (17-18-35)
FLA Leading Scorer: Tomas Fleishmann (9-21-30)
NYR Goaltender: Henrik Lundqvist (37 GP, 2.09 GAA, .926 SV%)
FLA Goaltender: Scott Clemmensen (18 GP, 3.50 GAA, .880 SV%)
Rangers Lines (unconfirmed):
Broadcast Info: MSG, 7pm
Torts’ post-practice interview from Wednesday: