Rangers-Ducks Preview

The Associated Press

The New York Rangers are hoping to quickly move on from one of their worst efforts in recent memory.

Doing so could prove more difficult than usual with one of their best offensive threats uncertain to be available.

The Rangers could be without All-Star forward Rick Nash on Thursday night against the Anaheim Ducks, who enter their home opener seeking a third consecutive win.

One night after beating Los Angeles 3-1, New York (1-2-0) was dealt an embarrassing 9-2 loss at San Jose on Tuesday. Brad Richards' third goal gave the Rangers an early lead before the Sharks scored six unanswered.

"It's tough to understand, at this point, how we can play so well (Monday) night and play this way (Tuesday)," said coach Alain Vigneault, whose team is on a franchise-record nine-game road trip to open the season because of renovations at Madison Square Garden.

"You think you're taking a step forward after the way we played last night and obviously we didn't take a step forward with the way we played."

Henrik Lundqvist stopped 22 of 26 shots before Martin Biron replaced him midway through the second period. Biron didn't fare any better, allowing five goals on 21 shots.

"We just have to regroup and try to improve and get better," said Lundqvist, whose goals-against average jumped to 3.62. "It's not going to get any easier here. We play really good teams and everybody has a lot of desperation when they come out and play, and we have to match that.

"I already had some time to think about what happened, and now it's time to forget about it. But you definitely have to learn from it."

Tuesday's loss may have come at a cost for New York, which saw Nash exit after getting hit in the jaw by Brad Stuart, who was suspended three games. Nash had notched three assists in the first two games.

"It just didn't feel right," he said. "I could feel it. Any time you get a head shot you're concerned. It's not a good feeling."

Nash has 17 points in his last 13 games against the Ducks (2-1-0), who have posted back-to-back victories since an ugly 6-1 loss to Colorado in their season opener. After beating Minnesota 4-3 in overtime Saturday, Anaheim won 3-2 at Winnipeg on Sunday.

Andrew Cogliano, Mathieu Perreault and Corey Perry all scored and Viktor Fasth made 15 saves to earn his first win.

"When you go out on the road like that, it's not always the easiest thing," captain Ryan Getzlaf told the team's official website. "We've got to take care of our building now and the excitement going into (Thursday) night."

While the Ducks figure to get a boost from their home crowd, they know they could be in for a challenge against an angry Rangers team.

"We always like the home cookin' a little bit better," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "At the same time, we know what happened when we lost 6-1, and how we approached the next two days. And with San Jose beating the Rangers like they did, we know we're in for a real tough game.

"They're a hardworking, shot-blocking defensive-minded team. They've got arguably one of the top three goaltenders in their net. By chasing (Lundqvist) last game, I'm sure he's going to be mad, which is never a good sign. We've got our work cut out for us. ... I expect them to bounce back and play hard."

Lundqvist is 3-1-1 with a 1.94 GAA in his last five starts against Anaheim. New York is 4-1-1 in the series since 2008-09.

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