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Stepan and Brassard are good, but do the Rangers need a superstar center?

Bobby Bevilacqua

derick brassard and derek stepan 5-13

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

When it comes to forward depth, especially at center, the Rangers are pretty good in that respect. Rick Nash, Chris Kreider, Mats Zuccarello, JT Miller, Jesper Fast, Viktor Stalberg, Kevin Hayes and Oscar Lindberg doubling as wingers.

More recently, the Rangers have seen a lot of improvement when it comes to the talent and depth of their centers. Derick Brassard and Derek Stepan have gotten better and better with each passing season, cementing themselves in the top six. Hayes has shown that he can be a playmaker down the middle, and Dom Moore and Oscar Lindberg are strong two-way forwards best suited for a bottom six role, or a fourth line player.

When the Rangers acquired Rick Nash, they were looking to add a superstar to their roster. Marian Gaborik wasn’t enough, and outside of last regular season, Nash hasn’t been a “superstar” per say. Read the rest of this entry

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Rangers take on the Stars with trade connections looming

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers vs stars 2 2-8

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

After a resilient win over the St. Louis Blues on Thursday, the Rangers (35-20-6) will close out their three game road trip against the number one team in the west, the Dallas Stars (38-18-6) with trade rumors linking the two teams ahead of the Monday trade deadline.

Tanner Glass and Chris Kreider each scored a goal and Henrik Lundqvist was phenomenal, making 35 save and picking up his 30th win of the season, making that 10 seasons with at least 30 wins. The Rangers didn’t play all that well, but timely goal scoring and Henrik Lundqvist stole a win away from St. Louis.

The Rangers have now won 11 games in a row following a loss, and they haven’t dropped back-to-back games since December 20th when they lost 7-3 to the Washington Capitals to close out a 3-9-2 stretch. But in the last 11 games, the Rangers are 8-2-1 and as strong as any team lately. Read the rest of this entry

Megna, Second line help guide Rangers to dominating win over Dallas Stars

Bobby Bevilacqua

jayson megna goal celebration 1-5

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

In arguably the team’s most complete win in months, the Rangers (22-14-4) wound up dominating the Dallas Stars (28-10-4) at Madison Square Garden, coming away with an impressive 6-2 win and handing Dallas their third straight loss.

For a team that had 39 shots on goal and was shutout against the Florida Panthers, this was exactly the type of win that they needed. The Rangers will take on the Washington Capitals on Saturday, and taking down the Dallas Stars in such convincing fashion like this is a great confidence booster.

The Rangers had as good of a start to a game as you could ask for. They really limited what Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin were doing, allowed very few chances against, and wound up leading after the first 20 minutes. Read the rest of this entry

Rangers face big test against Stars; Kreider doubtful, AV challenges Hank

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers vs stars 12-29

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

This is the matchup that every Rangers fan was dreading.

With just five wins in the last 8 games (5-11-2), the Rangers (21-14-4) are back at Madison Square Garden to take on the Western Conference’s top team, the Dallas Stars (28-9-4). Dallas has lost their last two games, but still managed to secure 60 points in 41 games.

After being shut out by the hottest team in the NHL, the Florida Panthers, and closing out a three game road trip with just one win, the Rangers don’t just face one of the best teams in the league. They will take on the team that leads the NHL in goals scored by a wide margin. The Rangers have a tendency to play up to their opponents at times, so they better bring their “A” game tonight. Read the rest of this entry

Quick Hits: The Florida Panthers are legit, Winter Classic, Changing the Playoff format

Bobby Bevilacqua

Welcome back to Quick Hits, a series where I talk about anything and everything around the NHL. The NHL is approaching the halfway mark of the season, and there are some really interesting storylines. The Panthers are in first place in the Atlantic, the Ducks are one of the worst teams in the league, and the Canadiens can’t win without Carey Price.

If there’s anything you want me to talk about in the next edition of Quick Hits, leave it in the comments section below.

The Florida Panthers are legit

SUNRISE, FL - MARCH 1: Jaromir Jagr #68 of the Florida Panthers celebrates his goal with teammates Aaron Ekblad #5 and Brian Campbell #51 the Tampa Bay Lightning at the BB&T Center on March 1, 2015 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

Photo courtesy of Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images.

Before the season started, I predicted that the Panthers would make the playoffs as a wild card team. I didn’t foresee the Canadiens falling off without Carey Price, or the Lightning struggling, or Detroit playing around .500 hockey.

So to the surprise of just about everybody, it’s the Florida Panthers that lead the Atlantic Division. Dave Tallon has constructed a team with an excellent blend of youth and veteran leadership, constructed through the draft and some smart offseason acquisitions. Read the rest of this entry