Rangers Roundup: A win in Edmonton and updates on Kreider, Buchnevich
The Rangers (12-4-0) started off their two game road trip with back-to-back contests against the Flames and the Oilers, picking up two wins after a strange game last night in Edmonton.
Chris Kreider missed the game with what the team is calling an “upper body injury,” and just minutes before the game, it was announced that Pavel Buchnevich wouldn’t play because of back spasms. So Vigneault had to dress Adam Clendening in order to reach the required 18 skaters.
Somehow, someway the team managed to grind out a 3-1 win to pick up their 12th win of the season, and their seventh win in the last eight games. Antti Raanta was spectacular in his fifth start of the season, making 38 saves and improving to 4-0-0 with a .938 save percentage. Michael Grabner scored another two goals, giving him 10 this season, and Dan Girardi scored his third goal, which was the game winner.
The Rangers sat back for most of the night and allowed the Oilers to pressure them, which normally I’d be upset about. But with the team down two regular forwards, having to dress an emergency defenseman that didn’t even warm up, and playing their second game in as many nights, I’m not going to complain.
This team is very, very good. That seemed obvious enough, but they are finding ways to win no matter what. Their on pace to score the most goals by any NHL team in over 20 years (that will cool down), their goaltending tandem is excellent, and they have arguably the most depth out of any team in the league.
Michael Grabner, who was brought in to be a PK specialist, played a lot on the top line and has already surpassed his goal total from last season. He fits right in with the revitalized speed game the Rangers are using, and he has found his scoring touch. I would have been happy with 10 goals this season from him, but he could wind up being a much bigger part of this team as the year progresses.
Antti Raanta was spectacular and continues to show that he deserves more starts this season. Let’s face it, Henrik Lundqvist is getting older and he needs to be preserved for the playoffs. So when you have someone as good as Raanta behind him, there’s no shame in having him start 30 games this year.
As for the defense, it wasn’t a good night in terms of possession, but this group is continuing to show that they can get it done. McDonagh is spectacular, Skjei is much better than anticipated, Staal and Girardi look like they’ve bounced back, and even Nick Holden has been playing a solid game as of late. This group is fine.
I’ll address Clendening’s usage, or no usage I should say, from last night. He played exactly 0:00 last night and I don’t necessarily agree. He was dressed only because he had to, but in a game where the Rangers were getting shelled and looked so tired, he could have had some shifts to give the defenseman a rest. But since he didn’t take warmups and I don’t believe he participated in the morning skate, I understand AV’s logic.
The Rangers will play the Vancouver Canucks tomorrow night as they continue their road trip, and the team might need to make an emergency call up. Kreider was sent back to New York for further evaluation, which makes me a bit nervous about the extent of his injury. Nothing new has been revealed about Pavel Buchnevich, but he missed five games in October with back spasms, which might indicate a recurring problem.
Josh Jooris still hasn’t been cleared yet, recovering from a separated shoulder and skating in a non-contact jersey, so if both Kreider and Buchnevich can’t play, then someone will be recalled from Hartford.
Vigneault and Gorton have quite a few options if that’s the case. Marek Hrivik played last year and was effective, as well as during the preseason. Boo Nieves almost made the cut for the opening night roster despite playing in just one preseason game, so the team might want to take a look at him. And of course, there’s Tanner Glass, who has played a lot in the last two seasons and knows the system.
More news will be announced either today or early tomorrow. Follow @The_RangerZone on Twitter for updates.
Posted on November 14, 2016, in Game Recaps, Rangers Updates and tagged Adam Clendening, Alain Vigneault, Antti Raanta, Buchnevich, Buchnevich injury, Cam Talbot, Connor McDavid, Dan Girardi, Edmonton Oilers, Henrik Lundqvist, Hockey, Kreider injury, Michael Grabner, New York, New York Rangers, New York Rangers blog, NHL, NY Rangers, NYR, NYR blog, Rangers, Rangers blog. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.