Rangers Practice Report: Kevin Hayes expected to return tomorrow, Staal misses practice with the flu
The Rangers kicked off their four game homestand yesterday with a 4-3 win over the Calgary Flames, getting goals from Rick Nash, Michael Grabner, Chris Kreider and Jesper Fast. They skated today ahead of their matchup against Anaheim tomorrow in search of their third straight win.
Kevin Hayes participated in the full practice today and Alain Vigneault said that barring something in the morning skate, Hayes will rejoin the lineup.
Through 47 games this season Hayes has scored 35 points, and is just 10 points behind tying his career high of 45 set in his rookie season. His last game was Jan. 22 and he had been playing well at the time, with four points in four games. He’s been pretty consistent with his production overall, with 12 points (2-10-12) in the last 11 games he had played prior to his injury. Read the rest of this entry
- 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.
It’s no secret that for a large portion of the season, the defense has been the biggest issue for the Rangers. Sure, it’s been better over the last week or two, but the defensive deficiencies and inability to make three balanced pairings has been the biggest source of problems so far.
To recap: Dan Girardi hasn’t been much better than last season, Kevin Klein has been far worse than last season, and the other players haven’t been spectacular either. Ryan McDonagh has done his best to carry this team, but has had some bad games and is often dragged down when partnered with Girardi and Klein. Holden has been a steadying force, Staal is okay and Skjei has had an encouraging rookie season with the expected rookie mistakes and growing pains.
Regardless of what you think about the defensive corps, which also includes Adam Clendening, the bottom line is that they haven’t been able to get the job done on a consistent basis and have cost the Rangers more games than they’ve won. With Marc Staal out, the Rangers have been able to test out Clendening and while we’ve seen some good things from him, he’s not the solution to their problems. Read the rest of this entry
The Rangers got some fantastic news today regarding their injured players, and the team will get both Rick Nash and Pavel Buchnevich back in their lineup for tomorrow night’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Buchnevich was recalled from the Hartford Wolf Pack this afternoon after a brief stint for conditioning and to get him playing some games during the bye week. Buchnevich played in three games and recorded a goal and an assist as well as a plus-one rating. In 10 games with the Rangers this season, he’s scored four goals and four assists with a plus-four rating. He posted a four game goal streak stretching from Nov. 5-Nov. 12 before he was sidelined with back spasms.
Rick Nash has been out with a groin injury which came after re-aggravating a previous groin injury. Nash told reporters that there is no lingering pain in the groin like there was the first time he injured it. And while the rehab did not change from the first time, he did give the injury more time to heal. Read the rest of this entry
Bobby BevilacquaFor the last two games, Marc Staal has been held out of the lineup with what the Rangers stated as an “upper-body injury.” Well according to the New York Post’s Larry Brooks, it seems like the injury that has kept him out of the lineup is actually post-concussion syndrome.
Here’s what Larry Brooks wrote in his article;
Marc Staal’s status is unclear for the short-term as he recovers from apparent post-concussion symptoms that sidelined him for the Rangers’ final two games prior to this bye week, The Post has learned.
Staal, who has been working out at the club’s practice facility this week, did not go through the NHL’s concussion protocol after he was held out of last week’s games in Philadelphia and Columbus with what was announced as an unidentified “upper body” injury. Read the rest of this entry