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Tonight is a make-or-break game for the Rangers and for AV as big changes loom  

Bobby Bevilacqua

av and ruff

Rangers head coachAlain Vigneault (left), could be replaced by assistant coach Lindy Ruff (right) if things go awry in tonight’s game against the Vegas Golden Knights. (Photo courtesy of Getty Images.)

Following a loss to the Canadiens in which the Rangers (3-7-2) were thoroughly outplayed and saw their comeback, the Blueshirts look to rebound on a brief stop at home to play the Vegas Golden Knights (8-2-0) for the first time ever.

This has sparked trade rumors, articles from beat reporters about tonight potentially being Alain Vigneault’s last game as head coach of the Rangers if things go wrong, and more following the game, especially if the result and the team’s play is similar to their last game against Montreal.

Last night also saw some of the Rangers highest members of their management attend the Ottawa-Canadiens game, including president Glen Sather and assistant general manager Jim Schoenfeld. It’s very rare for a team to send people as senior staff like them to one game, so something big might be in the works. Read the rest of this entry

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Enough with the optimism, the Rangers are not well prepared for the playoffs

Bobby Bevilacqua

Henrik Lundqvist save great pic 2-23

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

For the most part, I may be one of the most optimistic Ranger fans out there. But this season has tested my patience, and yesterday’s pathetic performance against the San Jose Sharks was the tipping point.

The Rangers gave up 52 shots against the Sharks, with 47 of them coming at Henrik Lundqvist in 49 minutes. They had almost no extended periods of pressure or possession. They had half of the amount of shots on goal that the Sharks had, and the team finished as a -21 in Corsi For.

After this game, the Rangers are now 3-5-1 in their last nine games, and their last 10 games won’t be a walk in the park. They still have to take on the Penguins, the Islanders, the Bruins, the Panthers and the Lightning. At the rate they’re playing now, there’s a chance that Pittsburgh and the Islanders, both of which have at least one game in hand, could surpass the Rangers and put them in a wild card spot. Read the rest of this entry

Vigneault finally used Yandle properly, and the Rangers were a better team because of it

Bobby Bevilacqua

keith yandle full body 12-6

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

 

When the Rangers fell apart against the Capitals on Sunday, a lot went wrong. The defensive coverage was bad, there were guys open in front of the net, the penalty kill was poor, and there were turnovers. I could go on and on. Needless to say, it was a bad performance from a Rangers team that had been playing much better, even in their losses.

Heading into yesterday’s game, I expected the Rangers to win against a pretty bad Vancouver team that was missing their best player (Henrik Sedin) and because they’ve been alternating wins and losses for a few weeks now. And although they ran into a red-hot Ryan Miller, who stood on his head all night long, they managed to get a win.

If you just looked at the box core, you wouldn’t realize that this was total and utter domination by the Rangers. At even strength, the Rangers led in shot attempts by a massive margin, finishing as a +35 on the night (70-35). They had 36 scoring chances and 17 high danger scoring chances. And they had 49 shots on goal, which isn’t including the six times that they hit the post in the game. If it wasn’t for Ryan Miller, and if they had a bit more luck, this could have easily been a 5+ goal night for New York. Read the rest of this entry

Alain Vigneault is not using Keith Yandle effectively

Bobby Bevilacqua

Keith Yandle third star 10-22

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

Keith Yandle isn’t doing enough this season.

Normally, this is where an article would begin to criticize the player for his play, what he isn’t doing enough of and what, in this case, Yandle would need to do better.

It’s true. Yandle hasn’t been doing enough. But it’s not his fault.

It’s Alain Vigneault’s fault. Read the rest of this entry

Keith Yandle, Kevin Klein solidifying a struggling defensive corps

Bobby Bevilacqua

kevin klein full body profile 10-25

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

With a group consisting of Ryan McDonagh, Marc Staal and Dan Girardi, I don’t think anyone expected Kevin Klein and Keith Yandle to be the best defensemen on both sides of the puck through 11 games.

I will gladly eat my words when it comes to Kevin Klein. Along with a good amount of other writers, I was pretty convinced that Klein had a fluke offensive season, and although he was solid defensively, he was a third pair defensemen at best. Gorton would be able to easily replace him and they should ship him out while his value is highest.

Well it turns out that Kevin Klein is shaping up to be a $2.9 million top pairing defenseman that has been the most reliable in his own zone, as well as being the best at driving possession. Who would have guessed it? Read the rest of this entry