NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, October 12th (All times Eastern)
New York Rangers (1-3-0) at St. Louis Blues (3-0-0), 8 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The New York Rangers have appeared lost in the early part of the season. A stop Saturday night in St. Louis to face the unbeaten Blues at Scottrade Center is unlikely to make things any easier.
The Rangers fired head coach John Tortorella in the offseason and replaced him with Alain Vigneault, but the transition has been anything besides smooth. New York is off to a 1-3-0 start under Vigneault and the Blueshirts have been outscored by a combined total of 20-6 during those four outings.
A slow start under a fresh head coach and a new system wasn't completely unexpected, especially with the Rangers opening the season on a nine-game road trip. Still, consecutive losses of 9-2 and 6-0 to San Jose and Anaheim, respectively, have shaken the club's confidence.
"It's just an awful feeling out there right now," said Rangers star goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. "We're not getting it done. I don't have an explanation for it. We're just so far from where we need to be."
After losing by seven goals to the Sharks on Tuesday, the Rangers were expected to give a better effort in Thursday's game against the Ducks. Instead, New York was outshot 17-3 in the first period and trailed 3-0 by the end of 20 minutes.
Lundqvist, who gave up four goals on Tuesday before being pulled, allowed all six goals on 37 shots against Anaheim.
"We're obviously trying new things here, a different look. But hockey is about all the small details in the game and if you don't do that right, it's going to be a tough game. Especially when you play fast teams," said Lundqvist.
Thanks to the renovations being done to Madison Square Garden, New York is on a nine-game trip to begin this season. The good news for the Rangers is that after opening with four games out west, they will be back on the East Coast to finish up their road trip, beginning with Wednesday's game in Washington. However, the bad news is they are still over two weeks away from their home opener at the new-look MSG on Oct. 28.
Making matters even worse the Rangers will be without Rick Nash for the time being, as the club's top offensive weapon suffered a head injury in Tuesday's loss to San Jose. Nash, who led the Blueshirts with 21 goals last season, left the team to return to New York and he'll be out until at least Wednesday's game in D.C.
Meanwhile, the Blues are not only 3-0 this season, but also enter Saturday's game having won five of their last six meetings with the Rangers. New York also has dropped three of four and six of its past eight games in St. Louis.
St. Louis last played on Wednesday when it posted a 3-2 regulation win against the visiting Chicago Blackhawks. Alex Steen netted the game winner with 21.1 seconds remaining in regulation, helping the Blues down the defending Stanley Cup champions.
Vladimir Tarasenko and David Backes also tallied and Alex Pietrangelo chipped in a pair of assists for the Blues, who have opened a season 3-0-0 for the first time since 1993-94. St. Louis has never won four straight to begin a campaign.
One game after setting a new franchise record for career shutouts with his 17th white-washing with the Blues, Jaroslav Halak stopped 26 shots.
Saturday's contest is the fourth tilt on a season-opening five-game homestand for the Blues. The club went 15-8-1 as the home team during the shortened 2013 season.
St. Louis will complete the homestand on Tuesday against San Jose before visiting Chicago for its first road game of the season on Thursday.
10/12 10:42:08 ET