NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2016-17 campaign tonight when the New York Rangers host the Detroit Red Wings at 8:00 p.m. ET. If you want to watch the game online, you can do so here.
The Rangers came into this season wanting to change their approach to the game and through three games, it’s worked pretty well.
After a disappointing five-game loss to the Penguins in the opening round of the playoffs, head coach Alain Vigneault decided it was time to play a little more like Pittsburgh.
This season, they’ve focused on speed and playing better defensive hockey.
“Number 1, is to play with speed. Number 2, we want to defend, which maybe we got away from last season. We’re coming back hard and we’re coming back to take care of the middle of the ice.”
The results have been pretty good so far (they’re 2-1). New York certainly appears to be faster, but have they been that much better in their own end?
They’ve allowed 10 goals in three games and have been scored on at least three times in each of those contests.
But like any new system, it’ll take time for everyone to get on the same page. It’s also important to point out that the Rangers have been dealing with a few injuries on defense, as Dan Girardi and Kevin Klein have both missed some time. Klein is expected to play tonight.
As for the Red Wings, their season didn’t exactly get started on the right foot.
They dropped their first two games against Tampa Bay (6-4) and Florida (4-1), but managed to get a big 5-1 win at home against Ottawa on Monday night.
One of the positives that came out of the victory was that Mike Green, who scored a hat-trick, looked like his old self.
“We saw him do amazing things in Washington,” teammate Darren Helm said of Green, per MLive.com. “(Monday), we saw him do a pretty amazing thing, get a hat-trick. He scored some pretty nice goals. Hopefully, he can build off that and keep things rolling. It was pretty awesome to watch.”
It’s no secret that there are question marks on Detroit’s defense, but if Green can continue producing, that would help them immensely.
Speaking of pleasant surprises, Thomas Vanek has been strong in his first three games as a Wing.
After a disappointing season in Minnesota last year, the veteran has two goals and five points in 2016-17.
Expect to Detroit to be without Niklas Kronwall in this one. The team’s number one defenseman has yet to make his regular season debut because of a knee injury.