Preview: Flames vs. Rangers
RANGERS (1-1-2) at FLAMES (2-3-0)
TV: TSN, MSG
Season Series: First and only meeting. The Rangers emerged victorious in the only meeting last season, 2-1 at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 22.
Big Story: Both teams are off to uneven starts, but enter this game off stirring victories Tuesday. The Rangers played two scoreless periods with the Canucks in Vancouver before scoring four times in the third period to win 4-0. The Flames looked like they were going to fall at home to the Oilers before getting two quick goals in the final six minutes to win 2-1.
Rangers: If the rules allowed, Henrik Lundqvist would've been the first, second and third star of the Rangers' win in Vancouver. The Canucks fired 28 shots on Lundqvist during the first two periods while the Ranges could only muster nine. Lundqvist would stop 12 more in the third period as the Rangers finally found offense, getting goals from Michael Rupp, Ryan McDonagh, Brian Boyle and Marian Gaborik.
But that outburst wouldn't have been possible without Lundqvist's heroics.
"That was a performance for a lifetime," McDonagh said. "He held in there with all those penalties that we had (the Canucks had eight power plays), was always talking and being positive even though he was being shelled with shots."
Flames: A terrible start last season made the Flames' strong, late-season push fall short. Facing the prospect of a 1-4-0 start against the Oilers, the Flames found a way to get a game closer to .500 with goals from Jay Bouwmeester and Curtis Glencross that came 1:29 apart to give them the victory.
Miikka Kiprusoff has been alternating good and bad starts in the early going, and his performance against the Oilers (24 saves) was definitely one of the good ones.
"He's always good," Bouwmeester said. "On those power plays (six in all), he made couple big saves. That's what he does."
Who's Hot: The Rangers' offense isn't exactly percolating, but Lundqvist has been sensational in the early going. Through four starts, he has 1.69 goals-against average and .947 save percentage. … Through five games, both Olli Jokinen and Alex Tanguay have 1 goal and 4 assists for the Flames.
Injury Report: Marc Staal (concussion) is out indefinitely. Fellow defenseman Michael Sauer (shoulder) didn't play against the Canucks but is close to returning. Winger Wojtek Wolski (groin) also missed Tuesday's game but could be back against the Flames. … Defenseman Bret Carson (back) and forward Mikael Backlund (finger) are skating with the team, but neither player is close to returning.
Stat Pack: After winning in Vancouver for the first time since 1997 on Tuesday, the Rangers are looking for their first win in Calgary since 2002. … The Flames beat the Oilers five times last season, but they were 1-4 in games that followed those victories.
Puck Drop: Lundqvist appears to be at the top of his game early and getting in opponents' heads, as evidenced by the comments of Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa after Tuesday's game.
"You can't outplay a team more than we did for 50 minutes," Bieksa said. "He made a lot of great saves. We had numerous, numerous chances. We're kind of kicking ourselves that we couldn't put one past him."