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Scouting the Enemy: New York Rangers

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The Panthers look to keep dreams of playoff contention alive with a win over the New York Rangers, tonight at Madison Square Garden.

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

The Panthers have faced off with the New York Rangers 84 times through their first 21 seasons, racking up a 32-39-6-7 record. Their .458 points percentage is their 19th best mark against any team. The last time Florida played the Rangers was New Year's Eve, when New York defeated the Panthers 5-2. Chris Kreider, Ryan McDonagh, and Martin St. Louis each had a goal and an assist, and Derek Stepan collected three assists in the victory, while Henrik Lundqvist stopped 18 shots. Jimmy Hayes and Tomas Fleischmann each lit the lamp for the Panthers, while Al Montoya took the loss by allowing all five goals on 34 shots. * Box Score

The Panthers are 0-3-1 against the Rangers over the last season and a half, and haven't beaten New York since April 23, 2013. That night would see Fleischmann total a goal and an assist, and Marcel Goc and Drew Shore each also lit the lamp for the win. Jacob Markstrom turned aside 36 shots for the win. * Box Score

Forward Corps

First Line

Rick Nash

Nash is a 6'4", 212 lb. winger from Brampton, ON, and the first overall selection in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft, by the Columbus Blue Jackets. He's a five-time all-star, the 2003-04 winner of the Maurice Richard Trophy, and NHL's current leading goal-scorer, with 29 this season.

Games

G

A

Pts

Career

830

365

307

672

This Season

47

29

15

44

Last 10 played

10

4

1

5

vs. Florida

15

4

7

11

Assets: Has outstanding goal-scoring instincts and a huge frame, which he uses to keep puck control. Also skates amazingly well for his size. Can dominate a game with his athletic ability. Can also play either wing position.
Flaws: Can go into scoring droughts, quite often when he tries to do too much on his own--instead of trusting his teammates. Is still a little lacking in his play without the puck and he isn't a natural playmaker.
Career Potential: Elite scoring winger.

Derick Brassard

Brassard is a 6'1", 202 lb. center from Hull, PQ, and a first round selection of Columbus in 2006. Now in his eighth NHL season, he's been averaging a career high 17:41 per game, and is on pace for a career season.

Games

G

A

Pts

Career

448

93

167

260

This Season

45

12

23

35

Last 10 played

10

1

3

4

vs. Florida

10

6

1

7

Assets: Skates well and possesses plenty of scoring instincts. Can excel at both ends of the ice, and is a determined athlete. Owns leadership qualities.
Flaws: Must learn to shoot more. Needs to continue adding more strength to fully maximize his vast potential. Has to overcome his propensity to get injured.
Career Potential: Talented, but inconsistent forward with upside.

Mats Zuccarello

Zuccarello is a 5'7", 179 lb. winger from Oslo, Norway. The 27-year-old is in his fifth NHL season, all with the Rangers. He's coming off his best professional season, where he totaled 19 goals and 40 assists in 77 games for New York last season.

Games

G

A

Pts

Career

189

37

80

117

This Season

45

7

17

24

Last 10 played

10

0

3

3

vs. Florida

9

4

5

9

Assets: Is a great passer and one of the most gifted hockey players his country has ever produced. Is very creative with the puck and has plenty of offensive ability. Uses a long stick to give him a reach advantage.
Flaws: Is woefully small for National Hockey League standards, so he must prove capable of withstanding the pounding for 82 games. Also needs more work on his defensive game.
Career Potential: Diminutive but creative playmaker.

Second Line

Chris Kreider

Kreider, a 6'3", 226 lb. center from Boxford, MA, was a first round pick of the Rangers in 2009. The 23-year-old is now in his third NHL season. Last year he ranked ninth in the NHL with 79 minutes.

Games

G

A

Pts

Career

134

30

35

65

This Season

45

11

14

25

Last 10 played

10

4

3

7

vs. Florida

7

1

3

4

Assets: Has great speed, to go along with his impressive size and scoring upside. Can play either a power forward or goal-scoring role. Can also play the center position, if need be.
Flaws: Still needs to round out his all-round game and utilize his big frame more to his advantage in order to maximize his scoring potential in the National Hockey League.
Career Potential: Big, speedy scoring forward with good upside.

Derek Stepan

Stepan is a 6', 196 lb., 24-year-old center from Hastings, MN. He was originally selected in the second round of the 2008 Draft by the Rangers. He did not miss an NHL game through the first four seasons of his career before sitting out the month of October, 2014.

Games

G

A

Pts

Career

328

81

148

229

This Season

34

8

24

32

Last 10 played

10

2

5

7

vs. Florida

15

5

9

14

Assets: An excellent playmaker, he is creative with the puck and also savvy in the defensive zone. A strong positional player, he has a knack for being in the right spot while on the ice. Can play all three forward positions.
Flaws: Doesn't have ideal size and strength, which somewhat limits his effectiveness against bigger opponents in the National Hockey League. Could stand to improve his take-off stride and also shoot the puck more.
Career Potential: Talented, versatile playmaker with upside.

Martin St. Louis

St. Louis is a 5'8", 180 lb. winger from Laval, PQ. Now 39-years-old, the probable future Hall-of-Famer is in his 16th NHL season and his third NHL team. He's a six-time all-star, three-time Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, two-time Art Ross Trophy, and 2003-04 Hart Memorial and Ted Lindsay Award winner.

Games

G

A

Pts

Career

1107

384

633

1017

This Season

47

14

22

36

Last 10 played

10

2

4

6

vs. Florida

74

32

41

73

Assets: Has great speed and shiftiness thanks to powerful legs. Is extremely durable and versatile. Likes to make things happen and is always on the go to create plays from the wing position. Is a dangerous penalty-killer and possesses the heart of a lion.
Flaws: Doesn't score as much as he sets linemates up, so he could stand to be more selfish at times. Also doesn't have ideal NHL size (but it has never really hampered him much). Age is starting to creep up on him, so how much gas does he have left?
Career Potential: Savvy, elite veteran scoring winger.

Third Line

Carl Hagelin

Hagelin is a 5'11", 186 lb. winger from Sodertalje, Sweden, and the Rangers' sixth round pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. He has averaged between 15 and 16 minutes per game through his first four NHL seasons, and is currently right at 15:30 per game.

Games

G

A

Pts

Career

231

51

64

115

This Season

47

10

10

20

Last 10 played

10

2

2

4

vs. Florida

10

2

3

5

Assets: Owns tremendous speed, especially on the outside of defenders. Also has excellent offensive instincts, as well as a defensive conscience. Also displays a feisty side that is infectious. Can play either wing position, too.
Flaws: Doesn't have ideal size for the National Hockey League game, so he must continue getting physically stronger to better handle big defenders. Tends to run hot and cold in the scoring department, so he needs to overcome that.
Career Potential: Speedy two-way winger with some upside.

Dominic Moore

Moore is a 34-year-old native of Sarnia, Ontario, and the Rangers third round pick in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft. 6' and 192 lbs., he's currently in his 10th NHL season. He has played for nine teams so far, including the Rangers and the Panthers (back in 2009-10, he scored eight goals and nine assists in 48 games for Florida

Games

G

A

Pts

Career

650

77

140

217

This Season

47

4

10

14

Last 10 played

10

1

1

2

vs. Florida

31

3

6

9

Assets: Has excellent hockey sense and two-way instincts. Always gives maximum effort on the ice. Gets under opponents' skin. Skates very well, can score when it matters and is versatile up front.
Flaws: Is smallish in stature, which negates some of his checking prowess. Lacks offensive consistency, so he's never a good top-six forward optio. Doesn't score enough goals for the chances he receives.
Career Potential: Quality, versatile energy checker.

Fourth Line

Tanner Glass

Glass is a 6'1", 210 lb. winger from Regina, Saskatchewan. He was originally selected in the ninth round of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft by the Panthers. He's in his eighth NHL season and his fifth NHL team. While with Florida, he scored a goal and an assist in 44 contests over two seasons.

Games

G

A

Pts

Career

411

18

37

55

This Season

34

0

1

1

Last 10 played

10

0

0

0

vs. Florida

12

0

1

1

Assets: Likes to be involved in physical contests and is never afraid of throwing his weight around. Is a solid team player, can drop the gloves and play either wing. Can kill penalties reasonably well.
Flaws: Is extremely limited in terms of natural offensive ability, so he shouldn't be counted on to take a regular shift each ever every night. May sometimes take a bad penalty to put his team behind the eight-ball.
Career Potential: Rugged depth winger.

Kevin Hayes

Hayes is a 22-year-old rookie from Boston, MA. 6'2" and 200 lbs., he was selected originally by the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round in 2010.

Games

G

A

Pts

Career

44

6

11

17

This Season

44

6

11

17

Last 10 played

10

1

2

3

vs. Florida

1

0

0

0

Assets: Owns excellent size (6-2, 201 pounds) and offensive ability. Can play all three forward positions and has natural scoring instincts. Complements skilled linemates very well.
Flaws: Needs to use his size with greater consistency to thrive at the highest level, especially in terms of scoring in the 'dirty areas'. Must also continue to work on his play in the defensive zone.
Career Potential: Big forward with good upside.

Jesper Fast

Fast is a 6', 185 lb. winger from Nassjo, Sweden. He was selected by the Rangers in the sixth round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, and he is in his second NHL season.

Games

G

A

Pts

Career

45

3

5

8

This Season

34

3

5

8

Last 10 played

10

0

2

2

vs. Florida

1

0

0

0

Assets: Displays excellent hands and hockey sense, which make him a very productive player at lower levels. Like his name suggests, he also boasts very good skating ability.
Flaws: Doesn't have an ideal frame for the National Hockey League game, so he will need to get significantly stronger in order to maximize his production at the highest level.
Career Potential: Talented winger with some upside.

Defensive Corps

First Pairing

Ryan McDonagh

McDonagh is a 6'1", 213 lb. defender from St. Paul, MN. A first-round selection in 2007 by the Montreal Canadiens, he's now in his fifth NHL season, all with the Rangers. He plays 23 minutes per night with regularity.

Games

G

A

Pts

Career

282

29

90

119

This Season

36

3

13

16

Last 10 played

10

0

2

2

vs. Florida

13

1

7

8

Assets: Can log a lot of ice time and play in all game situations, including a shutdown role. Has good size, mobility, physicality and offensive acumen. Also has a good shot and a strong skating stride.
Flaws: Isn't a natural power-play quarterback or high-octane offensive defenseman, so he shouldn't be counted on as a first offensive option from the back end at the National Hockey League level.
Career Potential: Excellent all-around, big-minute defenseman.

Dan Girardi

Giriardi is a 30-year-old defenseman from Welland, ON. A 6'1", 203 lb. nine-year veteran, he has spent his entire career with the Rangers.

Games

G

A

Pts

Career

616

38

151

199

This Season

47

2

9

11

Last 10 played

10

0

3

3

vs. Florida

26

2

1

3

Assets: Owns good size, shot-blocking ability and defensive awareness. Is also a decent puck-moving blueliner who gets out of danger in his own zone with aplomb. Can log impressive minute totals. A durable player, he plays through injuries.
Flaws: Lacks consistency on offense and in the hitting department, which prevents him from raising his game to an elite level. Could stand to use his 6-1, 206-pound frame more in order to be even more effective in shutting opposing forwards down.
Career Potential: Big-minute shutdown defenseman.

Second Pairing

Marc Staal

Staal, one of four brothers to play in the NHL (and the only one not in the Carolina Hurricanes system) is a 6'4", 207 lb. defender from Thunder Bay, ON. Currently in his eighth NHL season, he was drafted by the Rangers in the first round of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.

Games

G

A

Pts

Career

507

29

91

120

This Season

47

2

7

9

Last 10 played

10

1

1

2

vs. Florida

20

1

4

5

Assets: Excels in one-on-one battles. Has a very active stick and long reach, which make him very effective in the shutdown role. Skates well and is extremely cerebral. Can produce offensively.
Flaws: Could stand to utilize his 6-4, 208-pound frame more often so as to keep opposing forwards more honest. Isn't a natural power-play point man. Concussions are a bit of a concern.
Career Potential: Excellent shutdown defenseman with some upside.

Kevin Klein

Klein is a 6'1", 204 lb. defenseman from Kitchener, ON. Originally selected in the second round of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft by the Nashville Predators, he's in his second season with New York, and his 10th overall.

Games

G

A

Pts

Career

479

25

80

105

This Season

46

8

9

17

Last 10 played

10

1

2

3

vs. Florida

10

0

2

2

Assets: Blocks shots with aplomb and can play a shutdown role, if needed. Is mobile and can move the puck up ice. Is also a solid contributor on special teams. Owns a good-sized frame.
Flaws: Doesn't use his size with enough consistency, so as to gain an advantage against NHL forwards. Is inconsistent in terms of point production and offensive impact on a game, as well.
Career Potential: Solid, versatile but inconsistent defenseman.

Third Pairing

John Moore

Moore is a 6'3", 202 lb. native of Winnetka, IL. He was originally selected in the first round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft by the Blue Jackets.

Games

G

A

Pts

Career

202

7

26

33

This Season

29

0

4

4

Last 10 played

10

0

1

1

vs. Florida

6

0

2

2

Assets: Has a big frame and owns exceptional skating ability. Can play an offensive role when it's required, but is otherwise a very steady defender. Shoots the puck with aplomb. His speed is useful everywhere.
Flaws: Is still learning the nuances of the NHL game. Needs to add more strength in order to better handle big forwards. Needs to keep working on his defensive consistency with regards to his decision-making.
Career Potential: Extremely mobile defenseman with some upside.

Dan Boyle

Boyle, a two-time all-star, is a 38-year-old defenseman from Ottawa. 5'11", 190 lbs., he's in his 16 NHL season and his fourth NHL team, including the Panthers. He scored 10 goals and 29 assists for Florida over four seasons ending with his trade to the Tampa Bay Lightning on January 7th, 2002.

Games

G

A

Pts

Career

985

149

422

571

This Season

31

5

5

10

Last 10 played

10

2

1

3

vs. Florida

40

5

20

25

Assets: Is as mobile as they come from the back end. Runs a power play smoothly and with creativity. Puts up impressive point totals and is solid in the defensive zone.
Flaws: Is not big or strong, so he struggles to handle NHL power forwards in front of the net. Tries to do too much with the puck from time to time. Is slightly in decline.
Career Potential: Savvy veteran offensive defenseman.


Goaltenders

Probable Starter

Henrik Lundqvist

Lundqvist is a 32-year-old goaltender from Are, Sweden. He was selected by the Rangers in the seventh round of the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, and is now in his 10th season. He's a three-time all-star, the 2012 Veniza Trophy Winner, and the Rangers' all-time leader with 333 wins and 55 shutouts.

Games

W

L

OTL

SV%

GAA

SO

Career

612

333

206

65

0.921

2.26

55

This Season

43

24

11

3

0.922

2.23

5

Last 10 played

10

7

3

0

0.946

1.72

0

vs. Florida

29

19

9

1

0.938

1.76

5

Assets: Excels under pressure. Has great anticipation and can make spectacular saves look routine. Extremely competitive, he has performed at a very high level in just about every league or tournament he's played in. Takes away most of the bottom of the net and has spectacular lateral movement.
Flaws: Can be beaten upstairs by NHL shooters, since he is usually very deep in his crease to take away the lower part of the net. Can also wear down if overused. Doesn't move as quickly when leaving the crease as some elite netminders.
Career Potential: Elite workhorse goaltender.

Probable Backup

Cam Talbot

Talbot is a 6'3", 205 lb. goaltender from Caledonia, ON. He's in his second NHL season, both with the Rangers.

Games

W

L

OTL

SV%

GAA

SO

Career

32

16

10

2

0.936

1.80

6

This Season

11

4

4

1

0.926

2.15

3

Last 10 played

10

4

3

1

0.939

1.64

3

vs. Florida

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Assets: Has outstanding size (6-3, 205 pounds) for the goaltending position at the National Hockey League level. Works very hard on honing his skills at lower levels.
Flaws: Needs to become a more consistent goalkeeper in order to reach his pro potential, which is as a backup netminder at the National Hockey League level.
Career Potential: Depth goaltender with a little upside.

Make sure you tune in here for the GameThread, live just before the game. Next up for the Panthers, a short turnaround and a road matchup against the New York Islanders.