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JT Miller has played his way into untouchable status

Bobby Bevilacqua

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Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

The Rangers have been fortunate to have quite a few talented young players blossoming at the NHL level recently. Kevin Hayes is emerging as a top six quality center, racking up primary points and playing a much better two-way game. Chris Kreider set a new career high in goals and is emerging as a fantastic power forward. And Brady Skjei is far outperforming offensive expectations while playing a very solid defensive game.

But JT Miller’s steady development and consistency over the last three seasons has been the most exciting, and he might be evolving into a franchise player.

Miller, 23, has played parts of five seasons with the Rangers and has improved in each and every one of them. In the 2012-13 season under John Tortorella, Miller was largely a fourth line player, not earning the trust of the former head coach and tallying four points (2-2-4) in 26 games. It was much of the same in Alain Vigneault’s first season as well, recording six points (3-3-6) in 30 games and playing just four playoff games in the team’s run to the Stanley Cup Finals. Read the rest of this entry

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Rangers take down Nashville for their fourth straight win; Henrik Lundqvist collects 399th win

Bobby Bevilacqua

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Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

  • 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.

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Kevin Hayes rejoins lineup as Rangers look to extend win streak against Anaheim

Bobby Bevilacqua

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Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

  • New York Rangers (33-18-1, 67 PTS) vs. Anaheim Ducks (28-16-10, 66 PTS)
  • The Rangers are coming off of a 4-3 win over the Calgary flames in the first game of their four game home stand. Rick Nash, Michael Grabner, Chris Kreider and Jesper Fast all scored goals and Henrik Lundqvist made 29 saves. Grabner’s goal was his 23rd, and his 22 even strength goals leads the NHL. Chris Kreider scored his 21st goal of the season, tying his career high. JT Miller picked up two assists.
  • The Ducks lost in the shootout against the Tampa Bay Lightning in their last game, giving them two straight losses and a 1-2-1 record in their last four games. Defenseman Brandon Montour scored his first career goal and Ryan Getzlaf also scored. Jonathan Bernier made 35 saves but got the loss.

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

Bobby Bevilacqua

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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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