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Rangers look to rebound against the Sabres; Hellberg to backup Lundqvist, not Raanta

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers vs sabres 2.jpg

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Following an awful defensive effort against the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Rangers (31-18-1) will head to Buffalo to take on the Sabres (20-20-9) in a nationally televised game.

The Rangers lost 6-4 to Columbus in their last start, not getting great goaltending but most importantly, suffering another defensive meltdown. Turnovers, poor puck management and more plagued the team yet again, yet Alain Vigneault will be rolling out the same defensive pairings tonight.

The Sabres also lost their last start, a 5-2 loss at the hands on Montreal. Dmitry Kulikov scored his first as a Sabre and Brian Gionta scored his 12th of the season, but that was after they were down 5-0. Like the Rangers, Buffalo is 5-5-0 in their last 10 games. Read the rest of this entry

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Why is Kevin Klein still playing, but more importantly, why isn’t Adam Clendening?

Bobby Bevilacqua

adam-clendening-full-body

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

To say that Kevin Klein’s season has been a disaster is an understatement.

Last night was another awful game for the veteran defender, continuing his shocking regression from the last two seasons. Sure he scored a goal, his first of the season, but Klein is not here for his slap shot. The defensive part of his game this season has been a mess, and that’s what’s really important.

Poor puck management on the blue line is a continued problem 50 games into the season, and there’s really been no effort to try and change things up to improve transitions, breakout, and puck management. The same problems pop up every game and they are the main reason for why the Rangers have come up short in their losses. Read the rest of this entry

Rangers kick off second half against the Blue Jackets; Staal and Fast expected to play

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers-vs-blue-jackets-11-18

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

  • 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.

THE MATCHUP

  • 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.

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Rangers head into All-Star Break looking to continue win streak against the Flyers

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers-vs-flyers-10-3

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

  • New York Rangers (31-16-1, 63 PTS) vs Philadelphia Flyers (23-19-6, 52 PTS)
  • The Rangers won on Monday night, a 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings despite being outshot 38-17. Brandon Pirri, Matt Puempel and Mats Zuccarello all scored goals and Henrik Lundqvist won his third straight start, making 36 saves and playing extremely well.
  • The Flyers won in overtime to the Islanders in their last game, snapping a three game losing streak. Claude Giroux scored the game winner and the Flyers also got goals from Ivan Provorov and Wayne Simmonds. Steve Mason made 36 saves in the win. The Flyers are one point behind the Maple Leafs for the final Wild Card spot.

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BREAKING: Kevin Hayes to miss 2-3 weeks, but his absence presents big opportunity for Vesey

Bobby Bevilacqua

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

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

This afternoon it was revealed that center Kevin Hayes will miss the next two or three weeks after an MRI revealed a lower body injury, according to the official New York Rangers Twitter.

The injury occurred in the second period of yesterday’s game against the Detroit Red Wings. Newsday’s Steve Zipay tweeted afterwards that he saw Hayes limping with a brace on his left leg.

This is a pretty big blow to the Rangers’ lineup. Hayes filled in remarkably well for Mika Zibanejad and is an integral part of the depth that has been a main reason for the Rangers success. Hayes is third on the team in scoring with 35 points (13-22-35), and was previously on pace for a 61 point season. Read the rest of this entry