Dec
26

Weekly Preview: Post-Holiday Push

December 26, 2017, by

Brooks Orpik does indeed still play for the Capitals.

The Rangers have a light week ahead of them, with two games to warm them up before the showdown on New Years Day at Citifield. Hopefully, the break has given the team a chance to regroup from the messy ending of last week.

The standings are close as usual in both the Division and the Wild Card, and the Rangers are in the playoff picture for the time being.

Metro Standings, 12/25

Wild Card Standings, 12/25

A dead tie between the Isles and Rangers, and three points has both Carolina and Pittsburgh looking in… well this ought to be fun.

Let’s look at the games this week.

Wednesday, December 27 vs. Washington Capitals (22-13-2), 8:00 PM

“Wednesday Night Rivalry” brings us a divisional showdown with the Caps, a familiar opponent (and an actual rivalry game).  After a mediocre start to the season, the Caps found their footing in December, at one point winning 8 of 9.  Like the Rangers however, the Caps come into Wednesday’s game off of two straight losses, so they’ll be eager to right the ship.

The usual suspects – Evgeny Kuznetsov, Alex Ovechkin, John Carlson – lead the Caps, and are most likely to do damage to the Rangers.  But as a team, the Caps are relatively average.  Their xGF% of 46.31 puts them at 26th in the league; surprising when you consider Washington’s star power, but perhaps makes sense when you look at their diminished depth.  These are not quite the Capitals of years past, but they still pose a threat, and the way the Rangers have played lately, they can’t take any opponent for granted.

Friday, December 29 at Detroit Red Wings (13-15-7), 7:30 PM

The Rangers make their first-ever visit to the new Little Caesars Arena (hell of a name for a hockey arena, eh?) for an Original Six tussle with the Red Wings.  Earlier this season, the Rangers and Wings played a highly entertaining game on Black Friday, with the Rangers prevailing 2-1 on a Mats Zuccarello overtime goal.  Jimmy Howard and Henrik Lundqvist were each sensational in that game, and over the course of the last few years, these teams have played some exciting, low-scoring games.

The Red Wings feature a strange mix of exciting young talent (Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha) and mostly over-the-hill veterans (Trevor Daley, Mike Green, Justin Abdelkader…  Note: this comment does not apply to Henrik Zetterberg, who is still great, because Swedish hockey players are ageless and perfect).  Detroit is mired in mediocrity, and other than their power play which ranks 7th in the league, the Rangers don’t have much to fear on paper.  A loss in this game would be very tough to swallow leading into the Winter Classic.

Predictions

NYR 2 – WSH 4

NYR 6 – DET 2

It’s tough to pick the Rangers to beat the Caps after the effort they put forth in their last game against Toronto, but Detroit is a weak opponent and the Rangers will be due for an outburst against a bad team.  With the Winter Classic looming, let’s hope the Rangers can keep their focus this week and not look too far ahead.

As always, leave your predictions for this week in the comments below!

"Weekly Preview: Post-Holiday Push", 5 out of 5 based on 2 ratings.
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10 comments

  1. amy says:

    hopefully the Xmas break has given the team a chance to focus and get their mindset together let’s look at the schedule ahead first it is the Caps in a Wednesday night Rivalry game on NBCSN with Doc, Mike and Pierre we know what Washington has the great eight and Backstrom and Holtby then the rangers play an original six opponent in Detroit then the winter classic on new years day against Buffalo I see the rangers winning on Friday and Monday and maybe tomorrow night

  2. Walt says:

    The real season is about to begin, that is the second half, where the rink seems to get smaller, and the checking gets a little tighter.

    Some moves need to be made, and real soon if we are to go anywhere. The defense has to tighten up, and needs an upgrade. Another right handed winger, with snarl is needed, to win us some board battles. The defensive scheme needs to also be addressed. We give up tooooooooooooooooooo many shots on goal, Hank is beginning to stand on his head during warm ups anticipating the onslaught of shots. The man needs help, how about clearing the crease for him, or put someone on their tail ends????

    The next dozen games or so will tell us the story, are we contenders, or pretenders? At this stage of the season, we’re pretenders, and we have to see the truth for what it is!!!!!!

    • Lace says:

      I agree all over Walt. Speaking of clearing the crease for Hank, why he prefers to have his defense fronting the forwards is beyond me. Lesser goalies like Talbot and Raanta had a ton of success in NY with defense playing net side strategy. Even if this doesn’t help clear the crease, it does put a body on a lingering net front forward.
      Also, to limit shots and time spent defending, AV should flip his Dzone coverage and play zone Low and man to man up high. Pressure the points and create more turnovers there before the puck gets to the dangerous area. Didn’t the Rangers do more of this during AV’s first season in NY?
      I would look for depth on Defense before up front but I would love to have a righty shot on the RW. With Fast out I don’t believe we have any and with Fast in we still don’t have enough.

  3. Bloomer says:

    The Metro Division will be a dogfight right untill the bitter end. Neither Detroit or the Caps will be easy games. Rangers will need to be firing on all cylinders when they come off their xmas break. A losing streak at this juncture will knock them out of a playoff spot.

    • Walt says:

      Couldn’t agree more, that’s why I said the next dozen games will determine the outcome of this season……

  4. Hockey Sittoo says:

    Hopefully Hank has gotten a much needed rest and will be back to a calmer presence. He was really agitated in that game against Toronto (can’t really blame him for that after the onslaught he faced over the last several games). They definitely need to see a rebound from Shatty. He needs a confidence building game. Otherwise they all need to have a defense first mentality for a couple of games, especially against Ovi et al.

    • King Sieveqvist ! King Sieveqvist ! says:

      The centers need to get involved … that’s the 1 rule in hockey , if you play the middle you better skate ! Last man in needs to read the play and be aware and you will see the shots go down. Little more forecheck which there really hasn’t been to much of that all season . Shame with what we are supposed to be a speed team and you don’t see it .Get involved which there really hasn’t been much of this either , too soft . Don’t need big bone crushing checks , just play the body some and good things happen.
      Rangers,Devils and Isles always have the lightest travel schedule.There should be no excuse on that end. And maybe just maybe AV will play Pav play a few games just to rest Our Goalie ,He had a couple of confindence boosters and now we haven’t seen him. I know the pts are crucial now but playing him every game he’s certainly gonna get gassed and he better not even think of the All Star game even if he gets the pick !

  5. JERRY MALEY says:

    Dear Becky…Didn’t you predict the Rangers to win vs Ottawa and Dallas?
    And they were to lose vs Boston? Why do you predict these games?
    Rangers a run and gun team? Ouch

    • Becky says:

      Also said the Rangers would beat Anaheim 4-1 and whoa that happened. I should add that the predictions are meant to be for fun and not taken seriously. Perhaps I should add a disclaimer?

  6. Richter1994 says:

    Prediction: The team that scores most goals in the game after the final buzzer will win.

    Book it.