Tonight is a make-or-break game for the Rangers and for AV as big changes loom
Bobby BevilacquaFollowing a loss to the Canadiens in which the Rangers (3-7-2) were thoroughly outplayed and saw their comeback, the Blueshirts look to rebound on a brief stop at home to play the Vegas Golden Knights (8-2-0) for the first time ever.
This has sparked trade rumors, articles from beat reporters about tonight potentially being Alain Vigneault’s last game as head coach of the Rangers if things go wrong, and more following the game, especially if the result and the team’s play is similar to their last game against Montreal.
Last night also saw some of the Rangers highest members of their management attend the Ottawa-Canadiens game, including president Glen Sather and assistant general manager Jim Schoenfeld. It’s very rare for a team to send people as senior staff like them to one game, so something big might be in the works. Read the rest of this entry
Rangers take down Nashville for their fourth straight win; Henrik Lundqvist collects 399th win
- The Rangers improved to 35-18-1 with a 4-3 win over the Nashville Predators, erasing an early 2-0 deficit with four unanswered goals.
- Henrik Lundqvist had another strong showing, making 34 saves on 37 shots, including some truly impressive ones throughout the game. He’s been phenomenal over the last eight games and looks a lot like his usual self. It’s nice to see him back to normal. The Rangers need this Henrik Lundqvist in net. He’s one win away from 400 for his career which would be yet another monumental achievement.
- Kevin Hayes, Michael Grabner and JT Miller had an outstanding game. This line is seemingly here to stay after combining for three of the four goals this night. Grabner scored his 26th goal of the season and is showing no sign of slowing down. JT Miller tallied another two goals, extending his point streak to five games, with nine points (2-7-9) in that span. Kevin Hayes showed off his playmaking skills, tallying three assists and giving him 39 points in 49 games. Hayes and Miller especially have fantastic chemistry, and this line is on fire.
- Chris Kreider passed his career high in goals with 22, continuing his outstanding season. This is the player that fans have been hoping to see for years. He’s using his size extremely well, getting to the front of the net and utilizing his shot well. His combination of skills and ability to score or impact the game in many ways keeps defensemen guessing and throws them off track. It’s only February and there’s still room for him to grow.
- Ryan McDonagh picked up another assist, giving him 31 points (2-29-31) so far. That puts him on pace for a career high 47 points. He hasn’t got the same attention or praise as his 14 goal, 43 point campaign in 2013-14. His defensive play has been keeping the Rangers afloat, and he’s back to a productive offensive force again.
- Overall, this was a better game than the Anaheim victory where they were severely outshot. The Rangers had a lot of good chances and it was relatively even. Much better in that category for the Rangers, and let’s hope it stays that way moving forward.
Rangers kick off homestand against the Calgary Flames; Kreider looks to tie career high in goals
- New York Rangers (32-18-1, 65 PTS) vs Calgary Flames (27-24-3, 67 PTS)
- The Rangers won their last game, a 2-1 overtime victory over the Buffalo Sabres. They snapped a power play drought in the win thanks to Mats Zuccarello’s deflection goal, and Chris Kreider scored in overtime for his 20th goal of the season. Henrik Lundqvist was spectacular, making 36 saves in the win.
- The Flames have won three straight games after snapping out of a rough stretch that saw them lost six out of seven. Their last game was a 4-3 overtime win over the New Jersey Devils. Mikael Backlund scored the game winner, Sean Monahan found the back of the net and TJ Brodie tallied four assists.
Chris Kreider’s OT winner gives Rangers the win; Lundqvist makes 36 saves
The New York Rangers played a hard-fought game against the Buffalo Sabres on the road and skated off victoriously with a well-deserved 2-1 overtime win.
After giving up three of the first four shots on goal, the Rangers started to look alive. They had a great scoring chance when the net was left open on one side, but they weren’t able to put it home. Nash had a two on one and almost a breakaway on a shift that included some beautiful moves in the Sabres’ zone. Nash was arguably the best player of the first twenty minutes and one of the best throughout the rest of the game.
Halfway thought the first period of play, the Sabres pushed the pace and tried shots from all angles. Their best one was when Evader Kane made a move on the Rangers’ defense and came down on a brief two on one. The pass to Gionta made it through, but Lundqvist stuck out his pad for a blocker save. The puck then flew in the air and couldn’t be batted down into the net, trickling just wide. Read the rest of this entry
Rangers begin back-to-back set with matinee matchup against the Red Wings
- New York Rangers (29-16-1, 59 Points) vs Detroit Red Wings (20-19-7, 47 Points)
- The Rangers are coming off of an impressive 5-2 win over the Maple Leafs. Henrik Lundqvist made 23 saves, while Brady Skjei, Pavel Buchnevich, JT Miller and Michael Grabner (2 goals) all scored.
- The Red Wings enter today’s game coming off of a 3-2 overtime loss against the Buffalo Sabres. Detroit is 4-3-3 in their last 10 games and second to last in the Atlantic Division. However, due to the competitiveness of the Eastern Conference this year, they are just four points behind Toronto for the second wild card and five points behind Boston for third place in the Atlantic.
- This is the second of three meetings between these teams this season, and the first of two at the Joe Louis Arena. Detroit won the first game, 2-1, on Oct. 19 at MSG. Mika Zibanejad scored just over a minute into the game, but goals from Thomas Vanek and Drew Miller gave Detroit the win.
- The Rangers have earned at least one point in nine of their last 11 games against the Red Wings (7-2-2) dating back to Mar. 21, 2012.
- Goalie Jimmy Howard has been healing from a knee injury over the past month or so, giving Petr Mrazek full control of the starter duties. He’s struggled lately, as his last win in a start came back on Dec. 17 against Anaheim, but he did pick up a win on Wednesday against Boston in relief. Mrazek is 10-11-5 this season with a 3.13 GAA and a .895 save percentage.
DETROIT RED WINGS
- Thomas Vanek is enjoying a bounce-back season and is leading Detroit offensively this season, with 31 points (12-19-31) in 35 games this season. His seven game point streak ended in the loss to Buffalo, but he has 10 points (5-5-10) in the last eight games, and 14 points (7-7-14) in the last 13 games.
- Henrik Zetterberg is also enjoying a nice season as the 36 year old captain continues his lengthy career with Detroit. In 46 games, he’s second on the team with 31 points (9-22-31), and his 22 assists lead the team.
- Defenseman Mike Green is having a strong second season in Detroit. He’s scoring a lot more consistently, and a lot more at even strength as well. Green has eight goals and 22 points.
NEW YORK RANGERS
- Henrik Lundqvist will start tonight. It’s unknown if he will also be in net tomorrow against the Kings, but he will continue to start today with Antti Raanta out. Lundqvist made 23 saves on 25 shots for his 19th win of the season. Now Lundqvist needs to work on building consistency in his starts and stringing together wins. Lundqvist has had success against Detroit in the past, with a 5-1-1 record and a 1.26 GAA with a .956 save percentage against them dating back to Mar. 21, 2012. This season he is 19-12-1 with a 2.86 GAA and a .902 save percentage.
- Pavel Buchnevich scored in the win over the Maple Leafs, giving him 14 points in 14 NHL games. He’s been absolutely phenomenal since returning from back spasms, recording five points (2-3-5) in those four games. He also extended his point streak to eight games, with 12 points (6-6-12) in that span.
- JT Miller scored his 15th goal of the season, putting him just seven shy of his career high already. Miller has been one of the most consistent forwards on the Rangers, spreading out his scoring and recording a point in 26 of the team’s games. Miller has a point in eight of the last nine games (6-5-11) and leads the team with four shorthanded goals.
- Michael Grabner scored twice against Toronto, including a shorthanded goal, as he continues his resurgent scoring season. Signed for under $2 million, Grabner has given the Rangers another depth offensive scoring piece and leads the team with 21 goals. He’s been a phenomenal addition to the team offensively, defensively and on the penalty kill.
- Adam Clendening is developing more chemistry with Brady Skjei the more that the two play together. While Clendening does have his defensive issues, he’s certainly not as bad as Kevin Klein, and he also provides some other good skills and traits. His assist in the win over Toronto game him eight points (1-7-8) this season, and he has points in each of the last two games and four of the last five games. Clendening has recorded a point in seven of the last 11 games in which he has played.
The Rangers and Red Wings will faceoff at 12:30 PM at the Joe Louis Arena. The game will be broadcasted on NBC.
Chris Kreider-Derek Stepan-Mats Zuccarello
Rick Nash-Mika Zibanejad-Pavel Buchnevich
Michael Grabner-Kevin Hayes-JT Miller
Jimmy Vesey-Oscar Lindberg-Brandon Pirri
Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi
Nick Holden-Kevin Klein
Brady Skjei-Adam Clendening