- 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.
- 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.
If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.
The Rangers (43-26-9) have had two straight chances to clinch a playoff spot, and lost in regulation against non-playoff teams in both of those games. Tonight, they have another shot at putting that checkmark next to their names when they take on the Columbus Blue Jackets (31-39-8).
Things have been bad for the Rangers lately. They’ve lost three straight games, including two bad losses to teams that they should have beaten. Defensive lapses, some bad goaltending, and poor play with the puck has doomed them. The defensive coverage has been embarrassing at best and the usual culprits have been the main offenders. The offense has been lacking at times, often sitting back and not pressing, or just not being able to transition the puck and create anything. Read the rest of this entry
In Eric Staal’s debut, the New York Rangers (37-20-6) came away with a thrilling late victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets (26-30-8) thanks to a shorthanded goal from Derek Stepan, and 26 saves from Antti Raanta.
That extended the Rangers win streak to three games, including wins in five of their last six games. They also are 10-2-1 in the last 13 games, and 23-6-3 on home ice.
Eric Staal made his debut as a Ranger tonight, skating for 15:43 at center and on the wing. He didn’t pick up a point, but won 53% of his faceoffs and was solid defensively as well as with the puck. As he get practices and more games in, I’m sure he will be more comfortable and more effective. Read the rest of this entry
Following the conclusion of an exciting 2016 NHL All Star game, one that saw Pacific Division captain John Scott scored two goals and help led his team to the million dollar prize, the league will get back to business with games starting on Tuesday.
Perhaps more importantly is the approaching trade deadline, when the trade window closes on February 29. Team’s looking to improve their roster and make a playoff push will be inquiring about several players around the league, and the Rangers are expected to be right in the middle of it, both as buyers and sellers.
With Alain Vigneault’s misuse of Keith Yandle and his expiring contract, the Rangers may unfortunately wind up dealing him to a team looking for a puck moving defenseman. However, they’ll also likely be in the market for a top six winger to add some consistent scoring, something they really need. Read the rest of this entry
Four days ago, I wrote a speculative article about how the Rangers should go out and acquire the recently ousted Jonathan Drouin, who made his trade request public this week.
The day after that article went up on the site, the NY Post published an article that stated that the Rangers “are in big time” on Drouin, according to sources close to the paper and Larry Brooks.
Blueshirts’ GM Jeff Gorton first contacted Lightning GM Steve Yzerman when the Rangers were in Tampa Bay for last Wednesday’s 5-2 Rangers win. That conversation came before the trade request went public. Read the rest of this entry