Opening Faceoff: Rangers vs. Blues 10/10/17

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On Saturday, the Rangers almost completed a fairy-tale comeback scoring four straight goals to tie the game at five a piece in the second period, before eventually falling to the Toronto Maple Leafs. The storyline of that game was defensive collapses. Three of the five goals scored in the first period came on poor defensive plays. The Rangers and their coaching staff knew that they had to improve. For the matchup against the Canadiens, the Rangers opted to play seven defensemen and eleven forwards; scratching Filip Chytil, who has seen little ice-time thus far throughout the season, and Brendan Smith, who had played a poor game against the Leafs. In place of Smith and Chytil, Alain Vigneault decided to play defensemen, Nick Holden and Steven Kampfer. In that game, The Rangers made less defensive mistakes and allowed Lundqvist to see the puck which ultimately led to a Rangers victory.

The St. Louis Blues are 3-0-0. On Monday afternoon at Barclays Center, the Blues edged the Islanders 3-2 in a shootout. Vladimir Tarasenko continued his excellent play notching both Blues goals in regulation, and goalie Jake Allen made 40 stops to secure the Blues victory. Jake Allen will receive a break as Carter Hutton will step into the blue paint for the Blues.

Keys to a Rangers victory:

1. If the Rangers want to beat the Blues they must stay disciplined defensively. Against Toronto, the Rangers fell victim to the Leafs’ talented young forward group. With highly skilled veterans like Vladimir Tarasenko and Alexander Steen, the Rangers cannot make the same mistakes against the Blues. If I’m Alain Vigneault, I keep the same defensive group intact that played well against Montreal.

2. Jake Allen has performed exceptionally well in all three of his games this season. Carter Hutton will be making his 2017-18 regular season debut against the Rangers. The Blueshirts need to make Hutton feel uncomfortable and expose his rust and throw everything to the net; because good things happen when you throw the puck to the net. Against Montreal, Rangers defenseman Brady Skjei shot the puck through the crease. The puck deflected off of defenseman Shea Weber and into the net. The Rangers cannot allow Carter Hutton to see shots from over the hash-marks otherwise he will stop them.

Other notes:

St. Louis’ Robert Bortuzzo has been fined 3,091.40, the maximum fine allowable under the CBA, for cross-checking New York Islanders forward Brock Nelson.

Tuesday, the Rangers claimed Adam Cracknell of waivers from Dallas. He will likely play on the fourth line with Paul Carey and David Desharnais. Cracknell will be wearing number 25 for the Blueshirts.

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