The Rangers have gotten off to an awful start to the season, winning just one of their first 6 games, not scoring much at even strength and leaking chances and goals through their new and improved defense.
Some people might chalk this up to all of the new faces in the locker room trying to learn the system, figure out their roles and what this team’s identity. But the Rangers have a much bigger problem at hand, and it’s the man behind the bench.
Alain Vigneault has been criticized in the past for his lineup decisions, but his choices this year have been truly baffling, especially when it comes to the defensive pairings. Read the rest of this entry
What a difference a night makes, eh? Just 24 hours after getting absolutely shelled by the Maple Leafs for 5 goals against in the 1st period alone, the rejuvenated Rangers and goaltender Henrik Lundqvist shook it off and turned in a big-time performance, shutting out the visiting Montreal Canadiens, 2-0, in front of a raucous October crowd at Madison Square Garden Sunday night. Lundqvist made 34 saves, several of the spectacular variety, to post his first shutout of the season and a Ranger-record 62nd blanking of his storied NHL career on Broadway. 2nd year D-man Brady Skjei came away with the fortuitous game-winner when his sharp angle pass intended for Michael Grabner caromed off Habs goaltender Carey Price and defenseman Shea Weber late in the first period to give the Blueshirts a lead they never relinquished. Meanwhile, $5.4M man Mika Zibanejad – now 2nd in the NHL in goals (4) and 1st in PPGs (3) – continued his amped-up play as the team’s new #1 center by snapping home a beautiful behind-the-net pass from sophomore linemate Pavel Buchnevich to seal the win in the 3rd period. Read the rest of this entry
Welp, the stick finally hit the proverbial (Ranger) fan as Coach Alain Vigneault and GM Jeff Gorton apparently had enough of their own lip service as well as that spewing from their players ad nauseum. That’s right. None other than discussion-lightning-rod and AHL-banished forward Tanner Glass was recalled from the Hartford Wolfpack yesterday, along with defenseman Steve Kampfer.
Now, say what you want about Glass – and virtually everyone in Rangerland has – the current state of affairs for this team with only a month left to go in the regular season and the trade deadline in the rearview mirror is indisputable:
1) The team’s forte, its scoring prowess, has all but disappeared, case in point they’ve scored fewer than 2 goals per game over the last 9 while only playing wildcard worthy, .500 hockey. Read the rest of this entry
The Rangers incredible forward depth has been their biggest strength this whole season, allowing them to fight through many injuries, roll four skill lines and score the third most goals in the league (181). But with so many quality wingers and only six spots in the top nine, somebody is going to suffer because of it.
Lately it’s been Pavel Buchnevich. The 21 year old rookie has been very effective this season, already totaling 15 points (6-9-15) in 21 games and even recording an eight game point streak, scoring six goals and six assists over that span.
Despite all of that, as well as the fact that many other stats back up how good he has been, Buchnevich has found himself on the fourth line for the past few games. Sure, there are a lot of good wingers and forwards that need ice time, but wasting Buchnevich on the fourth line is not the right decision. Read the rest of this entry
To say that Kevin Klein’s season has been a disaster is an understatement.
Last night was another awful game for the veteran defender, continuing his shocking regression from the last two seasons. Sure he scored a goal, his first of the season, but Klein is not here for his slap shot. The defensive part of his game this season has been a mess, and that’s what’s really important.
Poor puck management on the blue line is a continued problem 50 games into the season, and there’s really been no effort to try and change things up to improve transitions, breakout, and puck management. The same problems pop up every game and they are the main reason for why the Rangers have come up short in their losses. Read the rest of this entry