The New York Rangers are set to host the Chicago Blackhawks in a regular-season NHL game.
The New York Rangers have put on an impressive show by winning 7 out of their last 11 matches, despite several heavy losses. They have conceded defeat to the Edmonton Oilers and Florida on identical 3:4 scorelines, and also to Carolina by a score of 1:6. In total, the Rangers have experienced 10 losses in the Eastern Conference, many of which ended in routs. Nonetheless, the team has displayed resilience by bagging 8 out of 25 victories immediately following losses. Ahead of the match with the Chicago Blackhawks, where the Rangers will receive team star player Connor Bedard on home ice, they held 51 points, constituting the second-best performance in the NHL. In all 10 losses, the Rangers netted at least four pucks, including a defeat to the Carolina Hurricanes with a scoreline of 1:6.
Assured victories over Tampa Bay and Washington Capitals, where the Rangers scored 10 goals, solidified their position atop the East. The team's average performance levels at 3.39 goals per game, while their power play efficiency reaches 30.3%. Artemi Panarin leads the team with 23 goals and 51 points, Mika Zibanejad has accumulated 14 goals and 23 assists. The Rangers' defence on average concedes 2.71 goals per match and effectively reflects 86% of the puck in power plays. Goalkeepers Igor Shesterkin and Jonathan Quick demonstrate reliable gameplay, deflecting 91% of shots. Artemi Panarin holds the NHL's fourth position with 50 points and is fourth in the goals scored. Kreider is among the league's top 11 with 18 goals.
The Chicago Blackhawks occupy the lower rungs of the NHL league table, despite impressive performances by newcomer Bedard, who has scored 15 goals and accumulated 33 points. With 11 wins and 24 points, the team is only outperformed by San Jose Sharks, having 24 losses in their account, which is the second-best record in the league. Since December 22nd, Chicago's results have been disheartening, losing 5 out of 6 matches scorewise, and following victories over Anaheim and St. Louis — 7 out of 9. These victories were the only successful series in the season. Recent matches against Dallas Stars and Nashville Predators ended in defeats with 1:8 and 3:0 scorelines, respectively. The Blackhawks for the seventh time in the season managed to toss several pucks in power plays, but conceded with a 3-goal difference in 11 matches. Whenever Bedard fails to score, the team loses in 3 out of 7 cases.
Chicago continues its struggle this season, placing 30th in both offence and defence throughout the league, which is far from the team's ambitions. Bedard stands as a bright star of the team, having scored 15 goals and making 17 successful assists. Upcoming matches for the Blackhawks include encounters with Dallas and Nashville. Coach Luke Richardson highly evaluates Bedard's contribution, noting his humble background and determination to improve. Goalkeeper Petr Mrazek exhibits stable gameplay, with 91.1% successful saves. Despite 4 wins and 15 losses in away matches, the team maintains optimism and hope for better outcomes. Russian defender Nikita Zaitsev has played 19 matches, scoring 1 puck and making 4 assists
New York earned victories in 4 of the last 5 matches, scoring 6 or more goals thrice.
The 1:6 demolition by Carolina marked only the second occasion this season when the Rangers conceded 3 power-play goals and suffered from their first 5-goal defeat since the 0:6 loss to Calgary in 201. The Rangers' only back-to-back losses were four-goal defeats to Ottawa and Washington, but they immediately rebound by playing exciting hockey after the losses. As for Chicago, apart from Bedard, there's not much to highlight, so I bet on a minimum of 5 goals from the home team.