Beginning a Western Canada road trip, the New York Rangers hope a sour visit from a Western Canadian team that concluded a mostly successful opening stretch of the season, a 10-4-0 start that included an 8-2-0 opening at Madison Square Garden, will not extend for their first major road trip of the season.
Tonight, the Rangers embark in the first half of a weekend in Alberta, as they take on the Calgary Flames at the Scotiabank Saddledome (10:00, MSG+).
The Rangers (11-4-0) concluded their Garden run in heartbreaking fashion on Tuesday night, as they dropped a 5-3 decision to the Vancouver Canucks. Pavel Buchnevich tallied three points, as well as a goal for the third consecutive game, but the Rangers were done in when Vancouver put in two past an ice cold Henrik Lundqvist, who was forced to enter the game due to an injury to the evening’s starter, Antti Raanta. Rick Nash, scoring the 400th goal of his career, and Mika Zibanejad also had goals for the Rangers, who saw a five-game winning streak end.
Filled with young and exciting talent like Johnny “Hockey” Gaudreau, Calgary had high hopes entering the season, but has instead gotten off to a dismal 5-9-1 start, including Thursday’s 4-2 loss to the Dallas Stars. Gaudreau had both goals, giving him 10 points on the season, but the Flames (5-10-1) lost the game in the third period, giving up two goals after earlier climbing back from a 2-0 deficit to tie it. The Flames are now 1-5-0 in their past six games after starting the year 4-4-1.
The Rangers earned points in both of their matchups with the Flames last season, going 1-0-1. Each team won on their home ice, including Calgary’s 5-4 overtime win in Alberta. The Rangers were able to scrape a point from the Flames after making a 4-1 deficit, with Mats Zuccarello‘s power play goal tying things up in the penultimate minute. However, TJ Brodie got the game winning goal for the Flames, who picked up the fourth win of what would be a seven game streak. The two teams will meet again on February 5, a matinee on Super Bowl Sunday, at Madison Square Garden, where the Rangers won 4-1 last season.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490