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Rangers kick off brief road trip in Arizona; Lundqvist expected to serve as backup

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers vs coyotes 11-7.jpg

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

 

 

The Rangers (24-12-1) came out of the Christmas break with a huge come-from-behind win over the Ottawa Senators, and look to keep on rolling as they take on the Arizona Coyotes (11-19-5) in Glendale, AZ.

This marks a matchup between one of the league’s best teams, and one of the league’s worst. The Coyotes have fewest wins and the second fewest points, struggling with injuries and an extremely young roster. The Rangers have also had to deal with a pretty significant amount of injuries among the forwards, but their depth and talent has kept them afloat.

This two-game road trip for the Rangers has them facing the Coyotes and the Avalanche, the two worst teams in the league. After that they take on the Sabres and the Flyers, so this presents a big opportunity for them to pick up some points they’ll need down the line. Read the rest of this entry

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Rangers resilient in comeback win over Ottawa; Holden and Stepan score twice

Alexandra Russo

rangers-goal-celebration-12-27

Following two consecutive losses prior to the Christmas break, the New York Rangers rebounded with an impressive, come-from-behind, 4-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators Tuesday night.

The Ottawa Senators came out flying, as they scored on their first two shots on goal of the game. Just 2:02 seconds in, Borowiecki ripped a shot past Raanta, who was playing because came down with the flu. Raanta was screened by four players in front and didn’t see the puck as it flew past him. Just a minute and three seconds later, Smith notched his eighth of the season from Karlsson and Stone. Smith picked up a pass in front and put it behind Raanta with no one covering him.

A while later, Marc Staal and Kyle Turris both committed minor penalties, so the teams played a brief four on four. It was during this time that Nick Holden gave his team some life on a sharp-angle shot from right circle that beat Mike Condon above his shoulder, slicing the lead in half. McDonagh and Hayes had the assists on the goal, which was Holden’s fifth of the season. Read the rest of this entry

Rangers battle the Ottawa Senators; Lundqvist OUT for tonight with illness

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers-vs-senators

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

After a much needed three-day Christmas break, the Rangers (23-12-1) are back in action at MSG tonight, taking on Derick Brassard and the Ottawa Senators (20-11-2), who are riding a four game win streak.

To say the Rangers struggled in the two games before the brief break is an understatement, with the team giving up seven goals in both of their games and continuing their trend of a diminishing offense. After a start to the season that saw New York score four or five goals in almost every game, their shooting percentage is dipping back to normal, offense is drying up with the injuries and numbers are starting to look more realistic.

Ottawa however, are looking to extend their win streak and continue to fight for the top spot in the Atlantic, where they trail the Canadiens by three points. While both teams have allowed 89 goals so far, Ottawa is only averaging 2.59 goals per game, while the Rangers have scored 3.31 goals per game. Read the rest of this entry

Kevin Hayes’ improvement warrants an All-Star Game Appearance

Alexandra Russo

kevin-hayes-full-body-profile-10-19

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

For years now, the NHL has regarded the All-Star Game highly. Kevin Hayes deserves a spot on the roster due to his excellent and consistent play with the New York Rangers so far this season.

After a seemingly lackluster performance last season, there was a lot of grief among the fan base and calls for him to perform better. When he started his career with the Rangers, he opened up with 45 points in his rookie season. To the chagrin of many, including coaches and fans alike, Hayes played the same amount of games, while only producing 36 points and three less goals (14). He was forced to listen to talks of trades and rumors of not maintaining a spot on the roster. But has he ever proven everyone wrong this season.

In just 36 games, Hayes has managed an impressive 23 points, including eleven goals and twelve assists. He is already on track to finish the season better than any he’s played before, and it’s not only limited to point production. His faceoff percentage has gone up by over ten percent, now operating at around a respectable 47%. And let’s not forget that his shooting percentage is a big reason why his game is functioning overall at a better pace, as it has increased from 10.5% to 19%.    Read the rest of this entry

Rangers poor defensive effort hands Minnesota their 10th straight win

Bobby Bevilacqua

chris-kreider-behind-the-net-12-23

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

After getting embarrassed at the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Rangers (23-12-1) had yet another disappointing effort, losing 7-4 to the Minnesota Wild (20-8-4) and giving them a franchise record 10th straight victory.

The Rangers offense was fine tonight, scoring four goals, but the defensive struggles continued. This time, goaltending wasn’t there to bail out the constant defensive miscues and blown coverages. Henrik Lundqvist was not at his best, allowing two weak goals, but there was nobody there to help him. Antti Raanta came in and gave up two goals, both two completely wide open Wild defenders.

You can complain as much as you want about the goaltending, the forward injuries, the lack of “grit” or “toughness,” but none of those issues are as big as this defense. It’s a tire fire at times and the usual offenders (Girardi, Klein) are not getting any better. Yes, it’s still December, but it’s better to solve this problem now. Read the rest of this entry