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Kreider expected to return as the Rangers take on the Blue Jackets

Bobby Bevilacqua

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Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

Following a stretch of three games in Canada that all resulted in wins, the Rangers (13-4-0) will look to keep on rolling and sweep their four game win streak as they head to Columbus tonight to take on the Blue Jackets (8-4-2).

The Rangers most recent victory was a 7-2 thrashing over the Canucks, with JT Miller and Kevin Hayes each scoring a pair of goals, and Mats Zuccarello recording a three point night. Henrik Lundqvist made 36 saves to improve to 8-1-0 in his last nine starts and 9-4-0 this season.

The Blue Jackets have won three of their last four games, including an 8-4 win over the St. Louis Blues on Nov. 12. They also dominated the Canadiens in a 10-0 win back on Nov. 4, the only team to score 10 goals in a game. Columbus has scored 47 goals this season, but 18 of them have come in two games. So despite their good record, they have had some issues scoring goals at times. Read the rest of this entry

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Rangers Mailbag: Trading for a defenseman, the Kreider injury, and is this team for real?

Bobby Bevilacqua

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Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

This is the first Mailbag of the 2016-17 season, a series of articles I do where I ask my readers to submit questions and I answer them to the best of my ability.

This series is all about you, so I urge you to ask any questions you have, especially about the Rangers, to help this series become full of content.

Thanks to everyone that participated, and be sure to keep your eyes out for my next edition of the Mailbag article. I’m hoping to do this every two or three weeks.

On to the questions!

Do you feel like the Rangers need to add a solid defenseman in order to make a legit Cup run? – Jason Fristensky

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Marc Staal defends against the Detroit Red Wings on Oct. 19. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

This is a question that has come up often over the last few years, and especially during this offseason. Almost every year I would answer with a resounding yes. But this year, my answer varies depending on your definition of “solid defenseman.”

Two years ago, we saw the Rangers trade for dynamic offensive defenseman Keith Yandle. He was very effective for them, but ultimately was not a difference maker when it came to trying to win a Cup. Most of that has to do with how Alain Vigneault uses defensemen, and how he tends to lean on his shutdown guys.

I am also impressed with how the defense has played to this point. At first, I was expecting this season to look something like how the Rangers played during last season’s winter months, which was a disaster on the backend. But a full season has had a positive effect on Dan Girardi and Marc Staal, as well as for keeping guys like Ryan McDonagh fresh. Nick Holden has improved over the last few weeks and Brady Skjei has been miles better than anticipated, which certainly helps. Read the rest of this entry

Rangers take on the Canucks as road trip continues; Nieves expected to make NHL debut

Bobby Bevilacqua

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Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

Following a grind-it-out type of win over the Oilers with just 17 skaters being used, the Rangers (12-4-0) continue their road trip in western Canada as they take on the Vancouver Canucks (6-9-1) in their search for a three game win streak.

The Rangers have been red hot lately, winning 11 of their last 14 games (11-3-0), including seven of their last eight games. Michael Grabner’s two goals against Edmonton gave him 10 on the season, and Dan Girardi netted his third of the season. Antti Raanta made 38 saves in a spectacular performance to improve to 4-0-0.

The Rangers only loss in their last eight games came at the hands of the Canucks, who beat the Rangers, 5-3, at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 8. Pavel Buchnevich had three points (1-2-3) while Rick Nash scored his 400th goal as a Ranger and Mika Zibanejad scored in the dying minutes. Henrik Sedin had a goal and an assist, and Loui Eriksson scored his first goal of the season. Jacob Markstrom made 23 saves in the win. Read the rest of this entry

Rangers recall Cristoval “Boo” Nieves from Hartford

Bobby Bevilacqua

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Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

This afternoon, New York Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton announced that the team has recalled Cristoval Nieves from the Hartford Wolf Pack, and he will join the team immediately.

Nieves has skated in 13 games with Hartford, registering a goal and five assists, putting him third on the team in points and second in assists. He has recorded four assists/points in the last seven games and is the only member of the Wolf Pack to not have a penalty called against him. In 21 career AHL games, he has a total of three goals and 11 points. Read the rest of this entry

Rangers Roundup: A win in Edmonton and updates on Kreider, Buchnevich

Bobby Bevilacqua

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The Rangers (12-4-0) started off their two game road trip with back-to-back contests against the Flames and the Oilers, picking up two wins after a strange game last night in Edmonton.

Chris Kreider missed the game with what the team is calling an “upper body injury,” and just minutes before the game, it was announced that Pavel Buchnevich wouldn’t play because of back spasms. So Vigneault had to dress Adam Clendening in order to reach the required 18 skaters.

Somehow, someway the team managed to grind out a 3-1 win to pick up their 12th win of the season, and their seventh win in the last eight games. Antti Raanta was spectacular in his fifth start of the season, making 38 saves and improving to 4-0-0 with a .938 save percentage. Michael Grabner scored another two goals, giving him 10 this season, and Dan Girardi scored his third goal, which was the game winner. Read the rest of this entry