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Monthly Archives: January 2017

Rangers kick off second half against the Blue Jackets; Staal and Fast expected to play

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers-vs-blue-jackets-11-18

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

  • New York Rangers (31-17-1, 63 PTS) vs. Columbus Blue Jackets (32-12-4, 68 PTS)
  • The Rangers were shutout in their last game against the Flyers. New York played an outstanding game despite not getting any goals, and they had the majority of the chances and had the two points stolen away by Steve Mason, who made 34 saves. There’s no such thing as a “feel good” loss, but this is about as close as you can get to one of them.
  • The Blue Jackets lost their last game against the Nashville Predators, 4-3, and have lost two straight games. Columbus had an incredible 16 game win streak earlier in the season, and since that was snapped, they’ve been about a .500 team. However, they still have the second most points in the league and have played well in their recent losses.

THE MATCHUP

  • This is the third of five meetings between the Rangers and the Blue Jackets and the first of two at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers, playing their 50th game tonight, won the last meeting on Jan. 7, erasing a three goal deficit and getting a four point night from Michael Grabner, including a hat trick. The teams have split the first two games of the series so far.
  • The Rangers have won eight of the last nine games against Columbus, dating back to Jan. 16, 2015, going 8-1-0 over that time span.
  • The Rangers sit just five points behind the Blue Jackets in the Metropolitan Division standings, so this game has important implications for playoff seeding.

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Rangers should use the second half to audition Ryan Graves

Bobby Bevilacqua

ryan-graves-wolf-pack

Photo courtesy of Chris Rutsch/Hartford Wolf Pack.

It’s no secret that for a large portion of the season, the defense has been the biggest issue for the Rangers. Sure, it’s been better over the last week or two, but the defensive deficiencies and inability to make three balanced pairings has been the biggest source of problems so far.

To recap: Dan Girardi hasn’t been much better than last season, Kevin Klein has been far worse than last season, and the other players haven’t been spectacular either. Ryan McDonagh has done his best to carry this team, but has had some bad games and is often dragged down when partnered with Girardi and Klein. Holden has been a steadying force, Staal is okay and Skjei has had an encouraging rookie season with the expected rookie mistakes and growing pains.

Regardless of what you think about the defensive corps, which also includes Adam Clendening, the bottom line is that they haven’t been able to get the job done on a consistent basis and have cost the Rangers more games than they’ve won. With Marc Staal out, the Rangers have been able to test out Clendening and while we’ve seen some good things from him, he’s not the solution to their problems. Read the rest of this entry

Rangers fall to the Flyers, but the team is starting to fall into place

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers-vs-flyers-1-26

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

The Rangers lost 2-0 last night against the Flyers, but it was the kind of game where you win nine out of ten times with that kind of effort.

There’s really no such thing as a “feel good loss” because in the end, the Rangers got no points, but it wasn’t the kind of loss that concerns you. The Rangers got 34 shots on goal and hit the post multiple times but couldn’t get anything past Steve Mason. He played extremely well and stole the game away for the Flyers.

Unfortunately, the Rangers were undone late in the game by a power play goal from Wayne Simmonds and a weird deflection that was put in by Michael Grabner and credited to Jakub Voracek. Both goals were results of broken plays and a breakdown in front of the net. Read the rest of this entry

Rangers head into All-Star Break looking to continue win streak against the Flyers

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers-vs-flyers-10-3

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

  • New York Rangers (31-16-1, 63 PTS) vs Philadelphia Flyers (23-19-6, 52 PTS)
  • The Rangers won on Monday night, a 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings despite being outshot 38-17. Brandon Pirri, Matt Puempel and Mats Zuccarello all scored goals and Henrik Lundqvist won his third straight start, making 36 saves and playing extremely well.
  • The Flyers won in overtime to the Islanders in their last game, snapping a three game losing streak. Claude Giroux scored the game winner and the Flyers also got goals from Ivan Provorov and Wayne Simmonds. Steve Mason made 36 saves in the win. The Flyers are one point behind the Maple Leafs for the final Wild Card spot.

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The King Conquers The Kings: Lundqvist turns in third straight excellent performance

Marc Weissman

henrik-lundqvist-profile-1-24

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

Thanks to the outstanding play of a resurgent Henrik Lundqvist, the surging Rangers and their #1 goaltender won their 3rd game in a row as they defeated the LA Kings, 3-2, at Madison Square Garden last night.

Ever since he gave up 7 goals against the Dallas Stars a week ago, Lundqvist has gone from being Bronx cheered to Manhattan chanted as the Garden crowd showered Hank with throngs of “HEN-RIK!…HEN-RIK!” chants throughout the game. Hank and the much-improved Ranger defense have now given up only 2 goals or fewer in 3 straight games. This after yielding 4 goals or more in the prior 4 games.  Quite a turnaround indeed.

It was evident from the get-go that Lundqvist needed to be – make that would be – rock solid in his second start of back-to-backs as the Kings came storming out of the Zamboni gate like a team on a mission. The irony is, LA sits in the non-playoff #10 spot in the Western Conference. Yet they were the ones who registered the first nine shots of the game before the EC 4th seed Rangers even mustered one. Amidst his team’s typical slow start, Lundqvist gobbled up everything thrown his way, played the angles with precision, used his lightning reflexes to their fullest and aggressively challenged crease and non-crease invaders alike. Read the rest of this entry