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Rangers battle the Caps for the first time; Girardi and Buchnevich still not ready

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers-vs-capitals-19

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

 

 

After two home games followed by two days off, the Rangers (2-2-0) will face one of their toughest tasks of this brief season, and that’s a road contest against Alex Ovechkin and the Washinton Capitals (3-0-1), who have not lost in regulation.

This is also the first game in a back-to-back series for New York, as they will face the Coyotes tomorrow night at Madison Square Garden. For the Capitals, this is their last game before they get some time off, with just one game in the next six days.

This is the first of four meetings between the Rangers and the Caps this season, with the next game not coming until February. The Rangers were 2-2-1 in the series last season, winning one of the two games at the Verizon Center. New York has earned a point in seven of their last 10 games against Washington (6-3-1), and have scored at least three goals in eight of those 10 games. Read the rest of this entry

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It’s better to face the Capitals in the playoffs sooner rather than later

Bobby Bevilacqua

Stepan game 7 ot winner

Photo courtesy of Robert Sabo/New York Daily News

Outside of the Washington Capitals in first place, the Metropolitan Division is up for grabs, and the seeding of the team can still fluctuate and change. A few games ago, it looked like the Rangers would have the second seed locked up. But after two straight losses and late surges from the Penguins and Islanders, that’s not a guarantee anymore.

As it stands, the Rangers have about a 40% chance of finishing second in the division, a 39% chance of finishing third, and a 21% chance of getting the first Wild Card spot. So out of all three of those possibilities, which would be the most advantageous for the Rangers? What would give them the best chance of making another run in the playoffs?

Right off the bat, we can cross off the third place finish in the division. If you’re going to stay in the Metro for the first two rounds of the playoffs, you would like home ice for at least one of those rounds. So a third place finish wouldn’t be preferable. Read the rest of this entry

Mailbag Monday: Playoff matchups, consistency from Zuccarello and Nash and more

Bobby Bevilacqua

Welcome back to the first mailbag Monday in a while. With the playoffs approaching and getting closer, lots of questions are floating around in people’s heads about the Rangers, their chances in the playoffs and more.

If you have a question you’d like answered for the next article, leave it in the comments section below, or click the “Contact Me” tab and send an email with your name and question.

With that out of the way, let’s get started.

Do you thing we have a chance in the playoffs without Nash scoring goals? – Scott Rosenberg

rick nash profile 11-23

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

When he’s playing at his best, Rick Nash is clearly the Rangers’ best player. We’ve seen it in the past few games, scoring twice in the past four games. And in the last two games, he attacked the net and got some great chances despite not finding the back of the net. Read the rest of this entry

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

Raanta in net for the injured Lundqvist as Rangers battle the Capitals

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers vs capitals 1=9

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

After losing focus and falling to the Penguins last night, the Rangers (37-21-6) are back on the road to close out their brief road trip against the league-leading Washington Capitals (47-12-4), a team that’s winning at a historic pace.

The Capitals 47 wins have already passed last year’s total with 19 games left on the schedule. Their 47 wins through 63 games are the most for any team in NHL history, and their 98 points through that same span is the most since the Detroit Red Wings in the 1995-96 season, and they have an 18 point lead over the New York Rangers. Needless to say, the Rangers will have their work cut out for them.

Last night, the Rangers had a mental lapse for 1:39, allowing three goals and ultimately losing the game because of that. Against Washington, they’ll need a complete 60 minute effort because the Caps are built to win from the net out. Read the rest of this entry