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Game Notes: Rangers blow away the Hurricanes on home ice

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers salute the crowd 11-3

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

  • The Rangers are red hot. They’re 11-2-2, and their 11 wins and 24 points are tied for the best start through 15 games in franchise history. They’ve won six games in a row, and have points in 10 straight games (8-0-2). Under Alain Vigneault, the Rangers have posted two 10 game point streaks in the past two seasons, just the fifth and sixth time that has happened in franchise history. Despite all of the record setting…
  • The Rangers aren’t close to playing their best hockey. In fact, they’re not playing that well at all. That may seem stupid to say about a team with an 11-2-2 record, but it makes sense. Last night, the Rangers led 2-0 after the first period. But they had just three shots on goal, and eight shot attempts. The Hurricanes controlled the flow of the period and had more chances, evident by their eight shots on goal and 24 shot attempts. That’s been the norm in a lot of the games they play. They’re out possessed, out chanced, and even outplayed in some instances, but still coming away with wins. That really is a testament to….
  • Their goaltending. The Rangers have the best goaltender duo in the NHL, hands down. Henrik Lundqvist has moved past his history of slow starts, beginning the season in playoff mode. Antti Raanta has been absurdly good in his three starts, allowing two goals in all of the games. He was four seconds away from a second shutout against the Coyotes, but he still finished with 39 saves. New York has the second best goal differential in the league (+20), behind only the Montreal Canadiens and their incredible +30 differential. The Rangers have allowed 24 goals or fewer in the first 15 games of the season for the first time since 1939-40 and for the sixth time in team history. Henrik Lundqvist’s .949 save percentage is the best mark that any NYR goalie has posted in their first 12 starts since the NHL began tracking that stat in 1975-76. Lundqvist has allowed just 20 gals this season, the fewest of any goalie that has started at least 10 games. He’s also faced the most shots against (384) than any NHL netminder this season. That speaks volumes about…

henrik lundqvist glove save 10-30

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

  • This team’s defense. Everyone talks about how good the Rangers defense is, but it’s not dominant right now. That’s why Henrik is facing so many shots. Rangers whipping boy Dan Girardi has not been all that impressive, getting caught out of position due to his skating and owning a corsi for percentage of about 40%. But Marc Staal and Ryan McDonagh haven’t been that good either. Staal is in a similar boat as Girardi, with poor possession numbers and a lot of shots against. While Ryan McDonagh does have a better corsi for, he isn’t playing up to his abilities. Vigneault needs to get his guys playing better, because Kevin Klein is the only guy who has been outstanding on both sides of the puck. Who you shouldn’t be worried about is…
  • Rick Nash. I told you he’d bounce back. He was the victim of some bad luck and good goaltending, still driving possession, getting shots on goal and generating chances. Playing alongside the very talented Derick Brassard and Mats Zuccarello (who could set up AV for a goal from the bench if he tried), it was a matter of time until he broke through. He had a goal and an assist last night with four shots on goal, playing one of his best games of the season. The top line has been so good this year, and both Derick Brassard (4-6-10) and Mats Zuccarello seem primed for career years. But the team is also succeeding because of…
  • Their depth. Specifically the bottom six. Last night, Jesper Fast scored the opening goal, his third of the season and ultimately the game winner. Jarret Stoll has a goal and two assists. Dominic Moore has a goal. On the third line, Kevin Hayes has anchored that line, playing much better since his return to center. Oscar Lindberg, the rookie leader in goals (T-1 w/ 7 G), has been fantastic, tallying 10 points in the first 15 games of this season. Whether it’s been Viktor Stalberg or JT Miller on the wing, the third line continues to provide another form of offense and creating versatility among Vigneault’s offense. There’s another forward trying to push his way into the lineup, and that’s…
oscar lindberg full body 10-13

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

  • Emerson Etem. He’s played just six games, and played under 10 minutes in last night’s game, but he looked pretty impressive. He’s very aggressive, always pressing opposing defenders in their own zone and causing some havoc back there. He’s got two assists in six games, and has come close to scoring a few times. I like him a lot, and I think he’s had some really good moments. He still needs to work on puck battles along the boards and using his size more efficiently, but that can definitely be worked on. A line of Etem-Moore-Fast or Etem-Hayes-Lindberg could work really well.
  • The Rangers schedule will get tougher this month as they start to play more teams with a winning record and more playoff position teams. This will be a good test for them and a good way to gauge their competitiveness. If they shore up the defensive corps and get them playing well, AV will have himself a very dangerous team.
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Posted on November 11, 2015, in Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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