Game 16: Four in a row?

November 6, 2017, by

Photo by David Hahn/Icon Sportswire

The Rangers have woken up, or at least that’s what it looks like. They are winners of three in a row, including two in overtime. They used that run to survive October ahead of the magic number of three. It’s not the start anyone wanted, but they aren’t dead yet. There are holes, but at least they are starting to win.

That said, the three wins were against not-so-good teams. In town tonight is Columbus, and they are a pretty good team. John Tortorella adjusted his systems and is now thriving. It’s something Alain Vigneault should look long and hard at.

Jackets Systems

John Tortorella is a notorious aggressive forechecking coach, deploying a 2-1-2 forecheck with most of his teams. In the defensive zone, he’s also notorious for clogging the slot in a low zone collapse, keeping shots to the outside. On special teams, he usually runs an umbrella powerplay, but there’s enough skill on the top-six in Columbus to run a 1-3-1 as well. On the kill, it’s a standard box/diamond hybrid.

The big change Torts has made while in Columbus is that he allows his defensemen to have more freedom. Specifically, he allows Seth Jones and Zach Werenski to play a “rover” position, where they take chances if they see a scoring opportunity. It’s been working so far. Weird to say, but Torts is a pioneer in this aspect.

For more on hockey systems, check here.

Jackets Lines

Artemi Panarin-Alex Wennberg-Josh Anderson
Boone Jenner-Brandon Dubinsky-Tyler Motte
Matt Calvert-Alex Wennberg- Oliver Bjorkstrand
Sonny Milano-Pierre-Luc Dubois-Markus Hannikainen

Zach Werenski-Seth Jones
Jack Johnson-David Savard
Ryan Murray-Markus Nutivaara

PP1: Jenner-Foligno-Bjorkstrand-Panarin-Werenski
PP2: Calvert-Wennberg-Dubois-Anderson-Jones

Sergei Bobrovsky gets the start.

Rangers Lines

Chris KreiderMika ZibanejadPavel Buchnevich
Rick NashKevin HayesMats Zuccarello
Jimmy VeseyDavid DesharnaisJT Miller
Michael Grabner-Boo Nieves-Jesper Fast

Ryan McDonaghNick Holden
Brady SkjeiKevin Shattenkirk
Marc StaalSteven Kampfer

PP1: Nash-Miller-Buchnevich-Zibanejad-Shattenkirk
PP2: Hayes-Desharnais-Kreider-Zuccarello-McDonagh

Henrik Lundqvist gets the start.

Scratches/Injuries: Paul Carey (healthy), Brendan Smith (healthy)

Crazy Prediction: A goal for Kampfer, just because.

Game time is 7pm. Be sure to follow on Twitter for gifs, and on our Snapchat for in-game.

Categories : Game Thread


  1. HOF 19 says:

    Hope we keep winning…..Start putting some winning streaks together and we can get this season rolling !……….LETS GO RANGERS !!!!!

  2. Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

    “That said, the three wins were against not-so-good teams.”

    Wait…..what? Tampa Bay? I think they are a good team, last I checked. 🙂

  3. Peter says:

    Good test for the Rangers. The Blue Jackets always make for a tough contest.

    Torts has done a nice job in Columbus and he has pretty good personnel to deploy. I hope for a tight game.

  4. SalMerc says:

    Don’t understand Smith not dressing. Panarin is a stud.

    It won’t be easy.

    • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

      Smith is deeply entrenched in AV’s Chateau de Bow Wow it seems! 🙂

      Also, we know from the past that when things are going well, AV is not inclined to break up the winning mojo.

      It’s a long season. Smith will be back eventually. And hopefully when he does get the call, he will take his head out of his rear end and play up to his capabilities.

      • Bloomer says:

        I would like to see the Rangers dangle Smith as trade bait. I wasn’t all that excited about his signing as they could make better use of his capspace. Also, the Rangers could use his spot to bring kids up from the farm and see what they are made off.

        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

          That’s something you do in a complete rebuild. I’m not against trading Smith and I too have had and still have misgivings about the contract. But calling up what kids exactly? No one is distinguishing themselves so far in Hartford.

          But trade Smith for some other need? Sure!

  5. Chris F says:

    Yup. Tampa is not-so-good.

    The entire Rangers blogosphere has gone mad. No matter where I go, here, Banter, wherever, it’s become a suffocating echo chamber of cynical snark, stale narratives, and lazy bloviation.

    Does anything this team, coaching staff, and management do warrant a little credit?

    • Peter says:

      Reasons to be cheerful: The Bolts are obviously a good team. While the Rangers are not playing like a well-oiled machine yet, they have won three games in a row so that has to account for something.

      Playing Torts is always fun (my 15 year-old daughter amuses me by mimicking Torts’ facial expressions during the game.)

      Then McDavid in a few days? What is not to love about hockey season? 😊

  6. Lace says:

    Columbus is stacked with talent and a ton of depth on both ends. This is going to be a tough game and hopefully we continue improving. I’m not worried about winning tonight but any points would be nice. I wanna see the process continue to improve. The PK is 7 for last 7 and the possession has been better of late.
    The last time the Rangers were a positive possession team, they went to the SCF and won the Eastern Conference.

  7. RichS says:

    Despite the fact that you write some interesting articles and provide great entertainment, free of charge…….you better not make any mistakes or these bloggers will feast on you like a shark on a minnow………..

    • Chris F says:

      It’s not about mistakes, Rich. It’s about what seems to be a concerted effort to trivialize everything good this team does. There’s a stubborn unwillingness to give any credit to the coaching staff when things go well, and to downplay pretty much any success unless it’s on the back of Lundqvist, who continues (rightfully so) to enjoy the support of the writers here.

      This is a great site, and I really appreciate what Dave et al bring to the table, free of charge (as you rightly point out). They volunteer a tremendous amount of their time to bring us all the latest news about the Rangers and, historically, a treasure trove of critical analysis.

      Lately, though, that analysis has been steadily getting replaced with bias, and it’s not all that difficult to detect. Seems to be en vogue right now around all the Rangers blogs, but it’s especially disappointing to see here.

      • Chris F says:

        Maybe I’m being a bit harsh, nit-picking that one comment.

        But that was a great team win over one of the top teams in the League. To dismiss the last 3 wins as coming over “not-so-good teams” is just a really, really strange mischaracterization.

      • RichS says:

        It’s all good……..I thought it was really funny how fast ….any of us…..gets corrected when we error…….which i do plenty of….as 3E , spozo, manchurianC….will attest to……but I love this blog, it keeps me connected to other rangers fans……
        And yes we all have our bias…..I for one am still waiting for McIlrath to return to the bigs!
        As far as the game…..

  8. Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

    At the pre-game presser, AV says Boo is still feeling the effects of the stomach flu. He and Carey are both skating in warmups. Will be a game time decision.

  9. InvalidBeard says:

    Wow no Smith again. WOW HOLDEN WITH MCD AGAIN. Wtf AV.

    • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

      WTF? Three in a row and McDonagh playing better too. Pretty logical for now.

      • InvalidBeard says:

        …this team isn’t going anywhere with Holden, Kampfer, and Staal getting this ice time.

        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

          There aren’t exactly better options available at the moment. Smith will work his way back in soon enough.

          • RichS says:

            3E ….
            Was it you or spozo or MC …..who argued with me that Grabner would not reach 20 goals…..???
            Also can we all agree now that Miller is a center and an untradeable one at that…….
            Why does desharnais leave panarin wide open in front of Hank on the first goal??? Half the goals scored on hank are from uncovered players in the slot……How long before the coach fixes this ??????????

            • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

              Guilty as charged on Grabner. I said he would be lucky to crack 20. But he’s been real good recently so he has a chance for sure. I will be happy to eat crow.

              I don’t at all think it’s clear that Miller is a center. And he’s certainly not untradeable. Way too soon for that label. What he is in reality is a very talented player who’s playing extremely well right now. This is also the same guy who was completely invisible last season from mid-February on and through the playoffs. Let’s see a little more sustained excellence from him before we make over the top statements about him.

              That Panarin goal was pretty tough to defend, but that’s fair. But it’s also not a matter of the coach waving a magic wand either. Players have to execute.

              • RichS says:

                With zib and hayes and now miller and eventually chytil/ andersson……we are suddenly stacked at center…[stepan who?]
                My ‘elites’ are finally heating up…..kreider, miller, buch …..and trust me vesey will soon be among them , I see a talented, hungry young player in vesey…….
                Boy has shattenkirk supercharged this PP……and at a hometown discount!
                Glad to see Desharnais benched after not covering the slot man! Bring up letteri!
                Still cant figure out why av start miller at wing?????????????????

    • Chris F says:

      Wow, 3 straight wins.

      It’s not like Smith’s absence is hurting us right now. He’ll be back, and hopefully playing with some fire.

  10. InvalidBeard says:

    Welcome to Garden ice Jones.

  11. Leatherneck says:

    Oh Leaky Leaky….this is getting absurd

    • King Sieveqvist ! King Sieveqvist ! King Sieveqvist ! says:

      You took the words right out of my mouth but with a different ring to it !

      • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

        You Devils/Islanders fans must be thoroughly enjoying the fact he allowed that second goal. It’s what you live for after all. Good for you. Such great fans you are.

        • Leatherneck says:

          This coming from you who bashes every Ranger not named Lundqvist? Bravo….look in the mirror you Maroons fan

        • King Sieveqvist ! King Sieveqvist ! King Sieveqvist ! says:

          Kinda like The HOF guy does everything and carries the team on his back crap ? Other teams will get chances just like we do , his job is to stop pucks that’s why he’s called a goalie!

          • King Sieveqvist ! King Sieveqvist ! King Sieveqvist ! says:

            Well ours is called a sieve .. Lol

            • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

              Only a moron would call a future HOF goalie who just got the W in a crucial game a “sieve”. But hey, have at it!

              • King Sieveqvist ! King Sieveqvist ! King Sieveqvist ! says:

                There we go , blah blah blah HOF blah blah carried the team blah blah blah the D let the other team shoot

          • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

            Never said he does everything. Over the years, he’s had to do more than most to make his teams competitive. That’s what you haters are forgetting.

  12. HOF 19 says:

    I am not a big stats guy so I will ask………Have the Rangers in recent history EVER had the #1 PP in the NHL…..In recent history ?

    • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

      HOF 19–


      In fact, as far back as I can find stats, which is the 2000-01 season, the Rangers have only cracked the top 10 in PP % three times, finishing 8th in ‘05-‘06 and ‘06-‘07 (the Jagr Era), and then 10th last year.

      In fact, last year was the only year I could find when the Rangers surpassed the 20% mark. And in the early stages this year, also just over 20%. So right now, these are the “glory days” as far as the PP is concerned.

      • HOF 19 says:

        Thanx….I thought that might be the case…We never seem to be great at the PP……BUT WE GOT ONE JUST NOW !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!….2-2 SCORE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

          Now you have me curious. Found another site. Last time Rangers had the #1 PP was 1996-97 when they were loaded with future HOFers named Messier, Gretzky, Robitaille and Leetch. They were consistently great on the PP for most of the 90s.

          • Bloomer says:

            You left out Zubov, probably the best passer in his era.

            • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

              Yes, but he was already gone in 1996-97.

              The best Ranger PP % wise was the Cup year, and yes, no question, Zubov was critical to that. One of the worst trades ever dealing him away.

              • RichS says:

                And then letting messier walk away in a contract dispute after he was instrumental in winning a cup! Unforgiveable!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
                And after he helped bring his ‘friend ‘gretzky here!!!!!!!!!

  13. Peter says:

    Great effort by Miller and Grabner on Grabner’s goal. #6 for Grabner 😀

  14. Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

    2-2 thanks to 22!

    This team has it’s flaws. But they don’t quit that’s for sure. Love their mental toughness in that regard.

  15. Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

    This is one heck of a third period!

  16. HOF 19 says:

    Keep fighting back and we can win this game…..LETS GO RANGERS !!!!!

  17. Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

    I am much more of an AV fan in terms of the kind of coach I’d hire or play for. But for sheer entertainment, Torts always cracks me up with his reactions!

    React to that coach! 4-3!!!!!!!!!

  18. HOF 19 says:

    And now PP GOALS ABOUND !!!!!!!!!!

  19. Leatherneck says:

    The O is hottttt, Miller Kreids…Grabner, Buch, Zib, Mr kirk…of all Miller has been outstanding in every area

  20. Leatherneck says:

    Gotta mention Kampher….he has been solid too

    • Chris F says:

      Yes, he really has.

    • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

      Yes! (see we can agree!). Everyone’s ripping the guy out here and he’s been an understated part of the team’s resurgence these last few games. Smith is going to have work his underachieving butt off to crack back into the lineup anytime soon.

      • BL94 says:

        Kampher’s tough hit that drew the elbow call was huge. Paved the way to a big W.

  21. Chris F says:

    Big, big win!

    Got themselves in trouble in the 2nd, but yet again they didn’t give up, and for once, finally, we have a PP that makes teams pay.

  22. HOF 19 says:

    I love this teams ability to fight back……LETS GO RANGERS !!!!!

  23. Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

    Yep….this team sure has quit on their coach haven’t they? Well maybe the Blue Jackets quit on Torts so there’s that. 🙂

    Seriously, PHENOMENAL win against a very good team and arguably the best goalie in the world. And our so-called star forwards are finally, well, playing like stars! If this continues……

  24. Bloomer says:

    A great win by Leaky and his merry band of untouchables.

    • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

      Touché Bloomer! 🙂

    • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

      Watching on DirecTV, I am going to record Tort’s presser. Should be hilarious. Maybe he’ll strip someone else of their letter like he did with Dubi. 🙂

      • Hockey Sittoo says:

        Torts presser was vintage Torts. Done in 60 seconds and called his entire team “stupid.” Hysterical…

  25. HARLEMBLUES says:

    For two years now I’ve said JT is a center and a very good one when left alone.Have faith in Miller Time. The young guns are starting to play 60 that’s boys every night no time off. That’s AV job to get them to play 60 each night. Hank’s got to get that angle figured out than let’s roll. LGR