Good news folks: there’s no Rangers hockey until Saturday, so we get to look at Michael Grabner’s Bahamas vacation and not Paul Carey on the second line. Sadly, eventually Saturday will come. Let’s look at the Metro standings:
Far be it for someone who’s #neverplayedthegame to state why the Rangers aren’t picking up easy points, but only picking up two points last week is clearly hurting them now. Not fancy stats. Not shot attempts. Actual Points.
When the Rangers come back from their hard-earned vacation, they’ll have two Metropolitan Division matches. Let’s take a look.
Saturday, January 13 vs. New York Islanders (21-18-4), 1:00pm
The Islanders are a few points back from the Rangers and haven’t been playing too well lately. Josh Bailey — who somehow has 50 points already (for comparison, the highest-scoring Ranger only has 31) — is injured with a “lower body injury” that was noted as “not great news” by head coach Doug Weight. Weight will have to juggle lines and see what works, but when you’ve got John Tavares, I hate to say that most things do wind up working.
The beauty of playing Metro rivals is that there is, in fact, a rivalry. The Islanders typically show up to play at MSG and the Rangers know this. Hopefully, the boys come back refreshed and with a fire to play, and our best bet for that is against a rival.
Sunday, January 14 at Pittsburgh Penguins (22-19-3), 7:30pm
The Penguins are having a strange season, where their record doesn’t necessarily agree with the numbers. The team as a whole is only shooting 5.45%. By comparison, the Rangers are shooting 8.23% over the entirety of half of a season. This is a significant difference. The Penguins PDO is a measly 0.95, a figure you’d expect to see only early in a season due to the huge parity from the “norm” at 1.00.
This team has the ability to really embarrass the Rangers, as they’re more gifted in the puck possession realm and seem to be better put together. They are unlucky, but will still put up tons of shots on goal — over the season, at even strength, they average 26.5 shots per game, compared to the Rangers’ 24 — and we should all feel extra grateful for our goaltenders under Benoit Allaire.
I never get these right, and I would’ve never predicted a Buch benching, so the guesses are all yours. Have at it in the comments."Weekly Preview: We can't get mad at the Rangers this week",