Craig Custance, an NHL reporter for ESPN, spoke to some of the general managers around the league, and it appears that Rangers GM Jeff Gorton has been making some calls. Because the general consensus around the league is that Gorton “is looking to do something to shake things up” after a lackluster start to the season.
The Rangers have won just four of their last 15 games, seeing their big lead in the Metropolitan Division fall apart. The defensive structure has collapsed and become disorganized, there has been inconsistent production from the top six.
As a result, it seems like Gorton wants to make a few tweaks, and he’s looking at the trade market to help make some adjustments. Read the rest of this entry
Expect some new playoff challengers for the 2015-16 NHL season.
Every season, there are a few teams that surprise everyone, surge into the playoffs and have an improved season overall. This past year we saw the Winnipeg Jets, the Calgary Flames and the Ottawa Senators all climb their way into the playoffs, bringing new blood into the chase for the Stanley Cup.
This year, it will be no different, and there will be new teams rising in the standings, catching everyone off guard and making a push to get into the playoffs. A few teams have made huge strides in improving their teams, and could be surprise contenders during this upcoming season.
Here are some of the most improved teams heading into the upcoming season. Read the rest of this entry
After a brief two game skid, the Rangers (25-13-4) managed to come away with a win in Columbus, toppingthe Blue Jackets (18-21-3) by a final score of 2-1. New York continues to succeed away from the Garden, picking up their ninth win in their last 11 games on the road.
Derek Stepan made his return to the lineup, and his presence was surely felt, with two primary assists, and a complete game all over the ice. One of his assists came on a fantastic pass to Chris Kreider for a breakaway. Although Stepan plays on the second line, he is one of the most important players on the team.
Henrik Lundqvist also had a phenomenal game for the Blueshirts, making 35 saves and stopping all but one of the shots that he faced. Lundqvist picked up his 12th win in his last 14 games, and continues to play at an extremely high level over the past five and a half weeks. Lundqvist is now 21-9-3 with a 2.27 GAA and a .919 save percentage.
The first period was a very fast and exciting 20 minutes. Although neither team scored, there were tons of chances on both sides, and excellent goaltending from Lundqvist and Bobrovsky.
Lundqvist had most of the pressure early stopping a flurry of Blue Jacket shots at the start of the period. However, the momentum shifted in the Rangers favor after a power play, with New York getting 9 consecutive shots on net, but Bobrovsky kept all of them out of the back of the net. It was a strong period for the Rangers despite not scoring, and the Blue Jackets held a slight edge in shots, edging out the Rangers 14-13.
The second period was a thriller, with the Rangers finally ending their goal drought at 146:59. The period started out very physically, with Tanner Glass doing a great job of finishing his checks and agitating the Columbus skaters.
One of Glass’ hits, a huge connection with James Wisniewski, got the attention of Jared Boll, who dropped the gloves with Glass. The fight was won by Tanner Glass, and both players went to the box. The Rangers were energized, and scored a goal shortly afterwards.
The Rangers peppered Bobrovsky with shots, and Marc Staal got to the front of the net. The puck fell at his feet, and Staal was able to sneak it through the pads of Bobrovsky, ending the Rangers goal drought, and giving New York a one goal lead with his second of the season. Stepan and Klein picked up the assists.
The Rangers killed off another Columbus power play, which was the second ranked unit in the NHL coming into tonight’s game, and got another chance of their own.
Derek Stepan hit Chris Kreider in stride with a perfect pass through the neutral zone, and Kreider used his speed to beat his defender. A slick move in front, and Kreider put the puck past Bobrovsky, giving the Rangers a two goal lead halfway through the game. Lundqvist would make a few more great saves to keep the Blue Jackets off the board. Martin St. Louis had the other assist.
The Rangers penalty kill was fantastic this period, stopping both of Columbus chances, and even getting some shorthanded chances of their own. The Rangers penalty kill was a huge factor in the win tonight, going a perfect three-for-three against the second ranked unit in the NHL.
Former Flyer Scott Hartnell opened the scoring in the third period, following a fantastic sprawling save from Bobrovsky. Ryan Johansen found Hartnell alone, and his wrist shot beat Lundqvist glove side, cutting the lead to one.
The rest of the period was relatively even, with the Rangers doing a great job defensively following the Hartnell goal. It looked like Klein scored a goal late in the period, but it was ruled that he contacted the puck with a high stick.
However, the Rangers would hold onto their lead, ending their brief two game losing streak. It wasn’t the prettiest game, but they found a way to win, something that the Rangers have been known for since early December.
Henrik Lundqvist was stellar, putting forth another strong performance with his 35 save night. In his last 14 games, Lundqvist is 12-2 with a 1.59 GAA and a .947 save percentage. The win was number 330 in Lundqvist’s career, which ties him with Hall of Famer Harry Lumley for 21st on the NHL’s all-time list.
Derek Stepan also showed how valuable he is to the team in his return to the lineup, picking up two assists, making great passes, and strengthening the Rangers down the middle. Stepan is tied for second in the NHL in assists (23) since making his return to the lineup on November 8th. This season, Stepan has 29 points (6-23-29) in 29 games.
Chris Kreider continued his recent trend of strong games, picking up his third game winning goal in the last seven games. Kreider’s speed is unparalleled, using it tonight to pick up his ninth goal of the season. Kreider is fifth on the team in points with 21 (9-12-21) this season.
Marc Staal had another solid game, both offensively and defensively. Staal scored his second goal of the season, ending the Rangers goal drought when they desperately needed it. Staal also had two blocked shots in 19:49 of ice time.
Tanner Glass had another strong game tonight, energizing the Rangers in his second consecutive start. Glass energized the Rangers with six hits, as well as blocking a shot and dropping the gloves with Jared Boll. Although some people may not want to admit it, Glass could be the energizing force that the Rangers need in the lineup, and he played a great game tonight.
The Rangers will head to Pittsburgh for the final game of their road trip, facing off against the Penguins at 1 PM on NBC.
1) Henrik Lundqvist – 35 saves, .972 SV%
2) Marc Staal – 1 G, 1 BS, 19:49 TOT
3) Derek Stepan – 2 A, 2 SOG, 18:37 TOT