As the Rangers bask in the glow of an impressive win over the Flyers on Tuesday and prepare for tonight’s game against the Senators, it all comes back to Ryan Callahan’s comment a few weeks back; ‘We have to back it up’. The Rangers need two points tonight just as much as they did on Tuesday. On to the musings
Derek Stepan. It is only fitting that this week’s musings begins with Stepan. He was immense on Tuesday, beyond ‘just’ the points. His back checking to break up plays, his stick work and positional sense were all great examples of his sky high hockey IQ and growing confidence. When a player is on top form he always seems to find a way to be on or around the puck. Stepan’s shown great development this year. Especially after his so-so start to the season
As a loyal commenter pointed out yesterday, Rick Nash would be on course for 82 points in a full season. However, where I disagree is that’s his ceiling. If Stepan’s development curve continues and Nash has a training camp under his legs I think he has 100 point potential as a Ranger. His skill set is definitely 100 point calibre.
Statistical quirk: The Rangers sit 4th in the league in goals against per game (all the more impressive given the injuries on D and the overall team record) yet despite that lofty ranking they don’t have a shutout this season, yet.
Food for thought: Over a seven game series can the Rangers beat the Penguins or Bruins this season?
How important are blocking shots to the Rangers? Despite impressive numbers (2.40 GAA, .932 S%) Lundqvist has only won 2 of 7 starts when making 30+ saves.
I was very impressed with Chris Kreider against the Flyers. He was around the puck a lot, looked to get the puck on net and – perhaps most promisingly – showed some nice chemistry with JT Miller.
Perhaps one of the most critical factors of the Rangers run-in is the ability of Steve Eminger to continue to log big minutes until Marc Staal returns. Eminger played over 19 minutes against the Flyers and has played at least 16 minutes in each of the last 7 games. Eminger appears to have regained Tortorella’s confidence he had a season ago.
Stu Bickel. I really don’t see how he returns to the Rangers barring an injury epidemic or he shows quick, unexpected and significant improvement in his all round game that demands a recall.
Why have the Rangers struggled to get a foothold in the standings? Roll off some of the names of guys used in the line-up this year: Segal, Mashinter, Ferriero, Haley and Bickel. That’s a long list of players with very limited ability, most of whom should be no more than injury call ups, and short term solutions. The revolving door that has been the bottom six is a bigger issue than perhaps the team thought it would be at the start of the year.
Never saw it coming: The Rangers are fifth in the entire league in face-off percentage.
(Update) In other news the Penguins acquired Jarome Iginla for the Pens’ first-round pick and the rights to unsigned draft picks Kenneth Agostino and Ben Hanowski.
- Zuccarello: over or under 10 points this season?
- How many goals will Marian Gaborik score this season?
- Who do you think secures a top six spot sooner: Kreider or Miller?
- (In light of Zuke’s arrival) would Fast be better served coming to North America ASAP or playing a key role for Team Sweden?
- How many current Rangers will be ex Rangers when the puck drops on next season?
- Will the Penguins win the Cup?