Vigneault’s lineup decisions and constant changes will doom the Rangers
The Rangers have gotten off to an awful start to the season, winning just one of their first 6 games, not scoring much at even strength and leaking chances and goals through their new and improved defense.
Some people might chalk this up to all of the new faces in the locker room trying to learn the system, figure out their roles and what this team’s identity. But the Rangers have a much bigger problem at hand, and it’s the man behind the bench.
Alain Vigneault has been criticized in the past for his lineup decisions, but his choices this year have been truly baffling, especially when it comes to the defensive pairings. Read the rest of this entry
Rangers should use the second half to audition Ryan Graves
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
Halfway there: Evaluating the Rangers at the midpoint of the season
We’re officially halfway through the Rangers season, and it’s been a pretty good start despite some injuries, rough stretches and a lot of new players for Alain Vigneault to figure out and utilize properly.
With a 27-13-1 record along with practically same defensive unit as last season, the Rangers have probably exceeded most people’s expectations. Their 55 points are tied with the Penguins for second in the division, as well as being tied for the second most points in the entire league (Pittsburgh has played three fewer games). The Blue Jackets sit in first in the division and the league thanks to their incredible 16 game win streak that stretched from late November into January.
Given the situation with all of the forward injuries, the first half of the season has been a big success. There have been some issues and rough patches, like with just about every team, but it’s hard not to come away with more positives than negatives. Read the rest of this entry
Lundqvist stellar as Rangers take down the Flyers; New defense pairings work well
After an awful game against the Sabres yesterday, the Rangers (27-13-1) took down the Philadelphia Flyers (20-15-5) with one of their best all-around efforts this season, getting some stellar goalkeeping from Henrik Lundqvist, an offensive outburst and great defense and forechecking that led to the 5-2 victory.
The Rangers looked absolutely nonexistent and asleep against the Sabres, but the effort was there tonight. Everyone was playing with an edge and also making smart, decisive plays and creating chances while effectively shutting down Philadelphia for most of the game.
This marked the fifth straight game the Rangers beat the Flyers, and it was also their 21st win in the last 28 games against Philadelphia. The Rangers also secured their league-leading 14th road win of the season, and they are now 7-0-0 in the second game of back-to-backs this season. Read the rest of this entry
Rangers show no effort in 4-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres
The first game of 2017 was an absolute dud for the Rangers (26-13-1), showing minimal effort and playing a poor all-around game and falling to the Buffalo Sabres (14-15-8) by a final score of 4-1.
The Rangers were flat from the start, and never got anything really going whether it was offensively or defensively. They never recovered from early penalties and early goals against, getting totally outplayed and outworked by the Sabres, who were without some key players in their lineup.
There were some similar struggles for the Rangers, mostly the fact that they were losing one-on-one battles defensively in front of the net and along the boards, and that they struggled to move the puck through the neutral zone. Everything was off and the Rangers never recovered. Read the rest of this entry