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How should Alain Vigneault utilize Dan Girardi? Or should he?

Bobby Bevilacqua

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Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.


Last night in my recap of the Rangers’ win over the Arizona Coyotes, I wrote that it was a mixed bag of performances from some of the players. Guys like Matt Puempel, Nick Holden and Kevin Hayes had fantastic games, but in reality, the Rangers let one of the worst teams in the league stick around and almost win.

Part of that had to do with the defensive effort. There were some bad bounces, like on Anthony Duclair’s goal, but there was also just bad coverage and decision making throughout the night.

In the Rangers’ win over the Ottawa Senators, Dan Girardi had one of his worst games of the season. This came after Alain Vigneault said that starting him on the top pairing was a “no doubt” decision because of the two player’s “history together” and because Girardi is effective when he’s “making his reads” and “moving his feet.” But he was way out of position on the first Ottawa goal, had countless turnovers, and struggled with his passing. Read the rest of this entry

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Puempel hat trick, four power play goals give Rangers a win over the Coyotes

Bobby Bevilacqua

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Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

The Rangers (25-12-1) came into Arizona to face the lowly Coyotes (11-20-5), but it was an extremely close game in Glendale, one that took four power play goals and a hat trick from Matt Puempel to secure a 6-3 victory.

Puempel scored all three goals on the power play, becoming just the third Ranger to score a power play hat trick since 1986. Marc Messier (3/22/92) and Mike Gartner (1/31/94) were the other two. It was also his first career hat trick.

This was a mixed bag for the Rangers. They did a lot of things right. The offensive effort was strong, with the Rangers generating a lot of quality chances and shots, the power play running at full efficiency, and all four lines playing well in both zones. But they allowed the Coyotes to hang around and chip away at their lead until they tied the game at three. The defensive effort wasn’t all that great either. Realistically, this should have been an easy win, but the way they played at times made it difficult on themselves. Read the rest of this entry

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

Rangers finish back-to-back series with Coyotes at the Garden

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers-vs-coyotes-11-7

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

The Rangers (3-2-0) don’t have much time to revel in their comeback victory over the Capitals, as they are back at Madison Square Garden tonight to battle the Arizona Coyotes (1-3-0) on Hockey Fights Cancer night.

A goal from Brandon Pirri and two from Jimmy Vesey gave the Rangers a second period lead over the Capitals, and Henrik Lundqvist did the rest with a strong 26 save effort for his second win of the season. Zibanejad picked up one assist, as did Ryan McDonagh to give him four points in five games.

The Coyotes last played against the New York Islanders, falling 3-2 in regulation. Brad Richardson scored his second goal of the season, and Radim Vrbata scored his first of the season since coming back to the Coyotes. Louie Domingue made 28 saves. Read the rest of this entry