Rangers head to Brooklyn to battle the Islanders; Grabner out, Hrivik in

Bobby Bevilacqua

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Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

With the Rangers (17-8-1) in the midst of a rough stretch, having won just four of their last nine games, they’ll take on the lowly Islanders (9-10-5) in the first matchup this season at the Barclays Center.

The Rangers took down the Carolina Hurricanes in their last game, getting two goals from Chris Kreider and one from Michael Grabner and Derek Stepan to secure a win despite playing pretty poorly through the first two periods. Henrik Lundqvist stopped 26 of the 28 shots that he faced.

The Islanders had a dreadful start to the season, opening the season with a 5-9-1 record and sitting in last place in the league. But with a 3-0-1 record in their last four games, they’re finally starting to show signs of life. But they’re still last in the Metropolitan and have the third fewest points in the NHL. Read the rest of this entry

Nick Holden becoming an important, steady force on defense

Bobby Bevilacqua

nick-holden

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

It seems like the biggest complaints regarding the Rangers tend to be about the defense, at least in recent years. Whether it’s the contracts, poor play or possession or something else, there tends to be an issue that is touched upon.

At the beginning of the year, all of the negativity was focused on Nick Holden. To some extent, it was deserved because Holden looked pretty shaky. Vigneault was playing him on his off side while he adapted to a new system and a new team. His possession numbers were bad and he didn’t look like the steady player that Patrick Roy lauded.

But lately, Holden has become one of the team’s most consistent and reliable defenseman for quite a stretch now. This doesn’t mean that he hasn’t had his lapses or issues at all, but those mistakes have been few and far between. Read the rest of this entry

Rangers use three goal third period to comeback against Carolina; Kreider scores twice

Alexandra Russo

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Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

It was kids’ day at the Garden, and the Rangers gave their fans a reason to celebrate. Kreider and Stepan led the way for the New York Rangers, as they skated off with a 4-2 victory over division rival Carolina Hurricanes.

The Rangers practiced spending time in the opposition’s zone on Friday because that has been their main area where they’ve struggled, and boy did it pay off! Derek Stepan put his team on the board less than five minutes into the game. Originally, the call on the ice was no-goal, but upon further review it was clear to see Stepan had notched his fifth of the season.

JT Miller nearly allowed the Hurricanes to respond when he gave the puck away in his own zone. He then made up for his mistake by making a few saves in the crease to keep the game in his team’s favor.   Read the rest of this entry

Rangers host the Hurricanes again at MSG; Miller hurt, but expected to play

Bobby Bevilacqua

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Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

The Rangers (16-8-1), coming off of a truly disappointing loss to the Buffalo Sabres, will be hasting the Carolina Hurricanes (9-9-5) at Madison Square Garden for the second time in five days.

The Rangers held a 3-2 lead in that game against Buffalo, but surrendered two late goals to Jack Eichel and lost in one of the worst performances of the season. The Hurricanes lost their last game in a shootout, 2-1, getting a goal from Noah Hanifin and 31 saves from Cam Ward.

The Rangers are in a really rough patch, wining just three of their last eight games and playing some of their worst hockey of the season at points. A game against Carolina, who are winless in their last 12 games at MSG, could be what the Rangers needed. But the Hurricanes did win one of the games earlier this year, and are not pushovers. The Canes have lost two straight one goal games, and they will be pushing hard to get back in the win column. Read the rest of this entry

The Rangers’ brutal possession is a problem, and it starts on defense

Bobby Bevilacqua

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Dan Girardi had one of the worst games of his career in last night’s game against the Sabres. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

Last nights loss against the Buffalo Sabres was yet another brutal game, continuing a stretch of poor play in recent weeks that is very telling about the true nature of the New York Rangers team.

The performance last night was poor in many aspects. Henrik Lundqvist played his worst game in years. Many of the forwards were lackluster, having little to no impact on the game. The defensive coverage was atrocious at times, with a few players especially standing out.

But a huge problem this team has is their corsi, or their possession numbers. I know a lot of people write off analytics and won’t acknowledge it as a way to evaluate a team, but it truly helps in this situation. Corsi and possession are literally just tracking shot attempts. If a certain player or the whole team is getting buried and shelled with shots, chances are they are not playing well. It just quantifies what you’re seeing on the ice. Read the rest of this entry