The Rangers played one of their most dominating games of the season on Thursday, one game after dominating even strength against the Devils. Special teams seems to be a major problem for the Rangers, one without an immediate solution, but at least they’ve been playing significantly better at even strength. The Flyers aren’t a bad team, but they lack depth, which is keeping them out of the playoffs.
That said, this is a four-point swing game on a team that is seven points back of the Rangers with two games in hand. If the Flyers win those games in hand, they are three points back, so this game has more meaning than what meets the eye. They aren’t as good as Minnesota though, so the Rangers should theoretically be able to build something here.
In case you missed it, Kevin Klein will return after missing exactly one game with a broken thumb. He will play and Dylan McIlrath will sit. It is certainly good news that Klein is back, but I was honestly hoping to get an extended look at McIlrath. Oh well.
The Rangers came out victorious over the Minnesota Wild last night, in a game they more or less dominated after falling behind 2-0. Since I’m tired of writing about the maddening win, loss, win, loss pattern of late, I’m going to update you on some of the advancements in goalie equipment that 2016 holds in store.
The biggest advances are coming in the form of skates and goal pads. Companies like Bauer, VH Hockey and Brian’s are working to change the way goaltenders approach gear, and the industry, as whole going forward. Let’s start with the new skates… Read More→
Per Andrew Gross, the Rangers are devoting today’s practice to the powerplay, with the below new units:
It’s good to see Yandle on PP1, along with their hottest player right now in Miller. My guess is that Rick Nash would replace Lindberg when healthy, but what do I know?
The Rangers have returned forward Jayson Megna to the Hartford Wolf Pack of the AHL. Megna was called up on Wednesday night to play in last night’s win over Minnesota. Megna played in place of Tanner Glass. He was held off the score sheet.
It was the usual start to the game that Rangers fans had become accustomed to. The Rangers were quickly down 2-0 after allowing a breakaway goal and a powerplay goal, their third straight goal allowed while killing a penalty. But all was not lost. The Rangers, even though they were down two, had the ice tilted in their favor most of the game. It was only a matter of time until they broke through.
And in the second period, they did just that. Ryan McDonagh and J.T. Miller scored two goals in 1:20, tying the game five minutes into the period. The Rangers pressed more, completely dominating even strength. They took the lead in the third on a Derick Brassard goal, and continued to dominate the overmatched Wild. Chris Kreider eventually sealed the deal with an empty netter.
Henrik Lundqvist wasn’t tested that much. He faced just 18 shots, but he came up big when they needed it late.
Well Tuesday’s game was a letdown. The Rangers played well at even strength, but special teams continued to be a train wreck, dooming them to failure. While it is critical to outplay your opponents at 5v5, poor special teams will doom any team. The Rangers are no different, and they need to get these aspects of their game in order.
The Wild are a solid team stuck in the best division in hockey, so this represents a solid challenge for the Rangers. Another potential problem is the team speed of Minnesota, as the Rangers aren’t the swiftest of foot on the blue line. But if they play the same even strength game and shore up the issues on special teams, they may actually begin to make headway.
The Rangers will be without defenseman Kevin Klein for the foreseeable future with a broken thumb, and the injury came at the worst possible time. Klein has been arguably the Rangers’ best defenseman, and absolutely the best right-handed defenseman. Dylan McIlrath will get extended playing time, likely with Keith Yandle.
On paper, the drop-off from Klein to McIlrath shouldn’t be all that terrible. McIlrath actually has better possession numbers, but it’s a small sample. But from what we’ve seen, he’s been able to make the smart first pass out of the zone and manages his gap control very well, which helps hide his weaker skating.
Per Steve Zipay, the newly recalled Jayson Megna will play tonight, and Tanner Glass will be the healthy scratch. This isn’t a surprise, as Megna wasn’t recalled to be scratched, and Paille wasn’t signed to be scratched. Lines were unconfirmed.
Dylan McIlrath is also playing, which isn’t a surprise.
It’s been an up and down season so far for the Rangers as the trade deadline approaches, with an early win streak still keeping them afloat in the standings despite some mediocre play of late. Although the on-ice possession metrics have been improving steadily, the Rangers are still plainly capable of losing badly, as evidenced by their shutout loss against Ottawa and the other night’s defeat at the hands of divisional rivals the Devils.
The Rangers may still likely make the playoffs, but it’s hard to say watching this team that they’re a legitimate contender for the Stanley Cup. All of this means that this trade deadline will be critical juncture for the New York Rangers, with the organization demonstrating whether or not it recognizes the obvious issues with this team or whether it will recommit to the kinds of practices that got us to this point just two seasons after making it to the Cup finals.