Oct
18

Rangers steal defeat from the jaws of victory

October 18, 2017, by · Comments (14)
rangers penguins

Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty

Last night, the Rangers made us ride a wild range of emotions. The Blueshirts opened the game with by spotting the Pens a 2-0 lead, something they seem to do regularly. Then they toyed with us, scoring three straight to take the lead. It was a tremendous back and forth effort that ended with the Rangers taking a 4-3 lead into the final minute.

They a poor decision in their own end led to an odd Sidney Crosby goal from behind the goal line, something Henrik Lundqvist surely wants back. And then it was the worst play I’ve ever seen Ryan McDonagh make that gave the Penguins two points instead of none. The Rangers one point instead of two. They got a point (hooray), but didn’t instill any confidence (boo).

On to the goals:

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Categories : Game Wrap-ups
Comments (14)
Oct
17

Game 7: Bank points, or possibly miss the playoffs

October 17, 2017, by · Comments (31)

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

That’s what it has come to, folks. After ab abysmal 1-5 start, the Rangers are in danger of falling below the four-points-out line at the end of October, which makes it very difficult (not impossible) to make the playoffs. Now with the Penguins in town, the feat gets tougher.

Coaching is an issue. As is roster construction. But the piece that the players control is showing up to play. Saturday against the Devils was inexcusable, and hopefully that serves as rock bottom. The lines went through a blender again, but the defense pairings look somewhat decent. Who knows, maybe they turn it around tonight.

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Categories : Game Thread
Comments (31)
Oct
17

The magic number is three

October 17, 2017, by · Comments (44)

jt miller

Three points. That’s the number we should be focusing on for the rest of the month. The Rangers, who are now 1-5 to start the season, are currently five points out of a playoff spot. Yes, it’s early, but the magic number at the end of October is to be three points out of a playoff spot. This is no arbitrary number.

In 2013, Elliotte Friedman pointed out that teams four points out of a playoff spot in October rarely make the playoffs. Part of this is anecdotal, as a good number of these teams aren’t really playoff teams. However the loser point has completely changed the landscape in hockey. Playing to .500 hockey means you’re a bad team, not a mediocre team.

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Categories : Analysis
Comments (44)
Oct
16

Practice updates: Buchnevich to the fourth line

October 16, 2017, by · Comments (92)

Alain Vigneault activated his lineup blender. This time, he broke up the KZB line, putting Pavel Buchnevich on the fourth line.

Rick Nash-Mika Zibanejad-Mats Zuccarello
Chris Kreider-David Desharnais-JT Miller
Jimmy Vesey-Kevin Hayes-Jesper Fast
Michael Grabner-Paul Carey-Adam Cracknell/Pavel Buchnevich

Ryan McDonagh-Tony DeAngelo
Brady Skjei-Brendan Smith
Marc Staal-Kevin Shattenkirk
Nick Holden-Steven Kampfer

If this doesn’t illustrate the need for a center, then I don’t know what does. Yikes.

Categories : Lineup Changes
Comments (92)
Oct
16

The Rangers have a deployment problem

October 16, 2017, by · Comments (35)

ryan mcdonagh

The Rangers have had a myriad of problems to start the season. Jeff Gorton put together a flawed roster that was weak up front. Alain Vigneault isn’t doing anything to minimize those issues. The players have been inconsistent and not scoring. They’ve been a rare combination of bad and unlucky.

There is more to the issue though. As AV continues to tinker with his lineup choices, his in-game deployment strategy suffers mightily. For better or for worse, AV relies on one defense pairing to shoulder the load of defensive zone starts, giving his offensive guys more opportunities to put points on the board. This year, though, he hasn’t identified who his shutdown pair is and who is offensive pair is, and that’s a problem.

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Categories : Analysis, Defense
Comments (35)
Oct
16

A rare feat: The Rangers have been both bad and unlucky

October 16, 2017, by · Comments (43)

Photo: Getty

One of the common discussions you’ll see here at BSB is the discussion about luck masking poor play, and poor luck masking good play. Generally speaking, teams that have a PDO (SV%+SH%) over 100, then the team is lucky. It’s a general rule, as skilled teams are generally over 100, especially teams with elite goaltending. There’s credence to the “create your own luck” argument, but abnormally high/low PDOs generally balance out.

That’s why xGF% is used to determine how well a team is actually playing. It takes the quality and quantity of shots taken/allowed and turns it into a stat that is usable. Generally speaking, a higher xGF% means you’re playing well. A team with a high xGF% and a poor record usually has some poor luck, and vice versa. It is rare to see a team that is both bad (xGF%) and unlucky (PDO), but the Rangers managed to do just that.

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Categories : Analysis
Comments (43)
Oct
15

Chytil shines in Pack win

October 15, 2017, by · Comments (11)

Hartford Wolf Pack 4, Springfield Thunderbirds 3

Springfield, MA, October 14, 2017 – Filip Chytil had the game-winning goal and two assists, for his first North American pro points, Saturday night at the MassMutual Center, as the Hartford Wolf Pack defeated the Springfield Thunderbirds by a score of 4-3.

The game was the Wolf Pack’s first road outing of the season, after the club went 2-1-0-0 in three straight home games to begin the year.

Chytil, 18, the youngest player to suit up in the AHL since October of 1974, was playing in his second game since being assigned to the Wolf Pack by the parent New York Rangers on Tuesday.

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Categories : AHL
Comments (11)
Oct
15

State of the Rangers: An Early Season Vent Session

October 15, 2017, by · Comments (66)

The New York Rangers are off to their worst start (1-5) since 1980, when final scores like 7-2 and 8-4 were commonplace.  The team has done a little bit of everything wrong in each of its five losses, and in fact were not particularly good in their lone victory against Montreal (thanks, Henrik!).

It’s been two weeks of poor hockey, and the Rangers are already on course to make their lives difficult in terms of playoff positioning when March and April come around.  Think of it this way: even if the Rangers manage to go a respectable 8-6 over their next 14 games, they’ll be 9-11 at the quarter mark of the season.  It’s a long climb out when you dig yourself an early-season hole in the NHL.

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Comments (66)
Oct
15

GIF Recap: Rangers drop a stinker to the Devils

October 15, 2017, by · Comments (51)

The Rangers played very poorly last night. To put it bluntly, they stunk up the joint so bad, I’m smelling it across the Hudson. Let’s check in on how the team is doing right now:

The game was, as usual, a total cluster and yet in some ways, totally predictable. The Rangers played roughly 1/3 of this game, perhaps thinking this is still practice? But maybe this is just how they’re coached at this point, since they had a habit of doing this last year as well, except they managed to win these games that they’re losing in 2017. Read More→

Comments (51)
Oct
14

Game 6: For the love of all that is holy, please just win

October 14, 2017, by · Comments (60)
rangers devils

AP Photo/Bill Kostroun

The Rangers are now 1-4 to start the season. It is not panic time just yet, as you can’t make the playoffs in October. However you can miss the playoffs in October, and given the Metro Division, that holds particularly true if the Rangers don’t start banking some points. Tonight they get the lowly Devils, so hopefully they should come out with two points. It doesn’t matter how, the Devils aren’t making the playoffs, they just need the points.

The issue goes beyond roster decisions. As Pat pointed out this afternoon, it’s about in-game deployment. There is no reason why the KZB line should be stuck with defensive zone starts with McDonagh/Holden while the fourth line –assembled as a defense-first unit– gets offensive zone starts with Shattenkirk/Skjei. It’s mind boggling. But whatever. Water under the bridge. Just get points.

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Categories : Game Thread
Comments (60)