JT Miller has played his way into untouchable status
The Rangers have been fortunate to have quite a few talented young players blossoming at the NHL level recently. Kevin Hayes is emerging as a top six quality center, racking up primary points and playing a much better two-way game. Chris Kreider set a new career high in goals and is emerging as a fantastic power forward. And Brady Skjei is far outperforming offensive expectations while playing a very solid defensive game.
But JT Miller’s steady development and consistency over the last three seasons has been the most exciting, and he might be evolving into a franchise player.
Miller, 23, has played parts of five seasons with the Rangers and has improved in each and every one of them. In the 2012-13 season under John Tortorella, Miller was largely a fourth line player, not earning the trust of the former head coach and tallying four points (2-2-4) in 26 games. It was much of the same in Alain Vigneault’s first season as well, recording six points (3-3-6) in 30 games and playing just four playoff games in the team’s run to the Stanley Cup Finals. Read the rest of this entry
Rangers take down Nashville for their fourth straight win; Henrik Lundqvist collects 399th win
- The Rangers improved to 35-18-1 with a 4-3 win over the Nashville Predators, erasing an early 2-0 deficit with four unanswered goals.
- Henrik Lundqvist had another strong showing, making 34 saves on 37 shots, including some truly impressive ones throughout the game. He’s been phenomenal over the last eight games and looks a lot like his usual self. It’s nice to see him back to normal. The Rangers need this Henrik Lundqvist in net. He’s one win away from 400 for his career which would be yet another monumental achievement.
- Kevin Hayes, Michael Grabner and JT Miller had an outstanding game. This line is seemingly here to stay after combining for three of the four goals this night. Grabner scored his 26th goal of the season and is showing no sign of slowing down. JT Miller tallied another two goals, extending his point streak to five games, with nine points (2-7-9) in that span. Kevin Hayes showed off his playmaking skills, tallying three assists and giving him 39 points in 49 games. Hayes and Miller especially have fantastic chemistry, and this line is on fire.
- Chris Kreider passed his career high in goals with 22, continuing his outstanding season. This is the player that fans have been hoping to see for years. He’s using his size extremely well, getting to the front of the net and utilizing his shot well. His combination of skills and ability to score or impact the game in many ways keeps defensemen guessing and throws them off track. It’s only February and there’s still room for him to grow.
- Ryan McDonagh picked up another assist, giving him 31 points (2-29-31) so far. That puts him on pace for a career high 47 points. He hasn’t got the same attention or praise as his 14 goal, 43 point campaign in 2013-14. His defensive play has been keeping the Rangers afloat, and he’s back to a productive offensive force again.
- Overall, this was a better game than the Anaheim victory where they were severely outshot. The Rangers had a lot of good chances and it was relatively even. Much better in that category for the Rangers, and let’s hope it stays that way moving forward.
The King Conquers The Kings: Lundqvist turns in third straight excellent performance
Marc WeissmanThanks to the outstanding play of a resurgent Henrik Lundqvist, the surging Rangers and their #1 goaltender won their 3rd game in a row as they defeated the LA Kings, 3-2, at Madison Square Garden last night.
Ever since he gave up 7 goals against the Dallas Stars a week ago, Lundqvist has gone from being Bronx cheered to Manhattan chanted as the Garden crowd showered Hank with throngs of “HEN-RIK!…HEN-RIK!” chants throughout the game. Hank and the much-improved Ranger defense have now given up only 2 goals or fewer in 3 straight games. This after yielding 4 goals or more in the prior 4 games. Quite a turnaround indeed.
It was evident from the get-go that Lundqvist needed to be – make that would be – rock solid in his second start of back-to-backs as the Kings came storming out of the Zamboni gate like a team on a mission. The irony is, LA sits in the non-playoff #10 spot in the Western Conference. Yet they were the ones who registered the first nine shots of the game before the EC 4th seed Rangers even mustered one. Amidst his team’s typical slow start, Lundqvist gobbled up everything thrown his way, played the angles with precision, used his lightning reflexes to their fullest and aggressively challenged crease and non-crease invaders alike. Read the rest of this entry
My Thoughts and the Rangers’ outlook after a catastrophic loss to the Dallas Stars
1. There is nothing positive that should be taken from this game. This cannot be viewed as a look at the Rangers’ resiliency or battling through adversity and nearly completing a comeback. There should be no positive light shed on this game, and it needs to be treated as it was – a disaster.
The Rangers were manhandled by the Stars for 40 minutes, and they looked absolutely lost on the ice. They were outshot 27-15 and surrendered seven goals. Henrik Lundqvist was not at his best but there were consistent defensive issues from the defensemen and the forwards, which did not help at all. The Rangers woke up for the third period and the Stars went into a defensive shell, which explains the 25-4 shot advantage from New York in those 20 minutes. Winning one period but looking pathetic for the other two does not warrant any praise. Treating this game as anything other than a failure would be to ignore the many, many problems that this team has.
2. To emphasize, this team has many, many problems. There needs to be a change, or many changes, but not at forward. It’s not a coincidence that the scoring has gone up with the return of Rick Nash, Mika Zibanejad and Pavel Buchnevich. This is the best, most complete forward group that the Rangers have had in quite some time and it’s a group of forwards that could win a Stanley Cup. Read the rest of this entry
Rangers secure remarkable comeback victory over Columbus; Michael Grabner scores twice
The New York Rangers went into this game coming off a big 5-2 win against divisional rival Philadelphia Flyers. While this game appeared to be a loss, the sheer will and heart of this Rangers team carried them to a surprising 5-4 win at Nationwide Arena against the Columbus Blue Jackets, the best team in the League.
The New York Rangers fell behind fast as just 1:54 into the first period, Columbus blasted a shot from the point that got deflected in front of Lundqvist by Nutivaara and flew behind him for a one goal lead.
Soon after, McDonagh took a penalty that cost his team, putting them down 2-0. Gagner, who was behind the net, put the puck in front and across the crease for Cam Atkinson, who notched his 19th goal of the season. Read the rest of this entry