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Rangers collapse late in loss to Nashville; Defensive game still lackluster

Bobby Bevilacqua

What on earth was that?

rangers vs predators 12-28

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

The Rangers (20-13-4) had a long, six day break to recuperate and get ready for their game against the Nashville Predators (18-12-6). So what do they do? Come out with almost no offense at first, rebound for a good second period, and then completely fall apart in the third, ultimately losing 5-3.

There’s no other way to say it. This team is fragile. They’re broken. This isn’t a slump, and it isn’t a passing fad. This is their reality. As they are currently constructed, they are not a great hockey team. They aren’t playing like a good team either. Something needs to change. There needs to be a move made to inject life into the lineup.

Dan Girardi and Kevin Klein made their return to the lineup. Klein was okay, but it’s no coincidence that when Girardi returns, the defense goes to shambles. The McDonagh-Girardi pairing is woefully ineffective, Staal was terrible, and McIlrath was sitting in the press box. The defense is just bad, making too many errors, blowing coverages and missing assignments. Read the rest of this entry

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Rangers return from break to take on the Predators; Klein and Girardi expected to play

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers vs predators 11-23

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

After a long holiday break, given a chance to recuperate and take a mental break, the Rangers (20-12-4) head down to Music City to take on the Nashville Predators (17-12-6), the first game in a three game road trip.

This is the second and final matchup between these two teams this season, with the Rangers coming away with a 3-0 win back on November 23rd at MSG. The Rangers played badly, outshot 31-19, but goals from Rick Nash, Derek Stepan and Kevin Hayes secured a win for the home team.

December has been the month that Alain Vigneault and the Rangers seem to figure things out. Two years ago they were playing .500 hockey until a little before Christmas time. Last season, the Rangers started an eight game win streak with an overtime win over the Penguins on December 8th. But this season? They have just a 3-6-2 record this month as of today. Read the rest of this entry

Rangers home win streak ends as Canadiens cruise to 5-1 win

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers vs canadiens 11-25

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

The issues that have been plaguing the New York Rangers (16-4-2) all season long finally caught up to them.

Following a surprising win over the Nashville Predators, despite playing poorly through two periods, the Montreal Canadiens (17-4-2) slapped around the Rangers at Madison Square Garden, cruising to a relatively easy 5-1 win.

It was easy because the defensive effort from New York was lackluster to say the least, and the likes of Ryan McDonagh, Dan Girardi and others left Henrik Lundqvist out to dry. The Swedish netminder was pulled in the third period after allowing five goals on 24 shots.

The loss was just the Rangers fourth in regulation this season and their second loss in the last 13 games, snapping their nine game home win streak, their longest since the 1971-72 season. The team’s record at MSG is now 10-2-1. Read the rest of this entry

Beasts of the East face off as the Rangers take on the Montreal Canadiens

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers vs canadiens faceoff 10-15

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

After taking down a strong but struggling Nashville Predator’s squad on Monday, the Rangers (16-3-2) take on the Atlantic Division leading Montreal Canadiens (16-4-2), a battle of two teams tied for the league lead in points.

Montreal and Boston has always been a heated rivalry, but the disdain between the Canadiens and Rangers is starting to grow. Following the 2014 Eastern Conference Finals, where Carey Price got injured and the Rangers won in six games to reach the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in 20 years, these teams have played some close games with hard hitting, fights and a lot of fun action.

This is the second of three games between these two Original Six teams, and the first at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers were shutout 3-0 at the Bell Centre, and Henrik Lundqvist’s 29 saves were not good enough to fend off a ferocious Canadiens attack. Read the rest of this entry

The Rangers are winning but not playing well, is it reasonable to be worried?

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers celebrate a win 11-21

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

Watching the Rangers rattle off 16 wins in their first 21 games has been incredible to watch. They’re grinding out tough wins, scoring a lot of goals and not allowing many goals against. They’re the only team in the NHL that is yet to give up 40 goals, and their +28 goal differential is tied with Montreal for the best in the league.

Reading that, you’d probably imagine that this team is cruising along with no problems and nothing to worry about. But apart from the 2-6 start to begin the 2013, the play of the Rangers through the first 21 games has been the most concerning start to a season in recent memory.

Before you say “that’s stupid” or write this off as another blogger being negative about the team, hear me out. I do think the Rangers are still an elite team. I do think they’re in the mix for a Stanley Cup. And I do think this team has room to be much better. But they’ve been downright bad in some situations. Read the rest of this entry