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.
The Rangers have recalled forward Jayson Megna from the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack. This is Megna’s second stint with the Rangers this season, playing five games in his recent call up. He notched a goal and an assist in his first game, but was held scoreless thereafter. Megna’s recall likely means two things, 1) Rick Nash likely isn’t back for a few more games, and 2) the Daniel Paille/Tanner Glass duo is likely at its end.
The New York Rangers will be buyers at the trade deadline this year. Make no mistake about it. And depending on the moves they make –assuming they land a legitimate top-six forward– they will be a better and deeper team after the deadline in the short term. It’s still the classic “all-in” scenario, but the Rangers are bluffing.
Buying at the deadline won’t fix the foundation issues that run rampant with the on-ice product. The organization still thinks they can win with a fourth line consisting of one –if not both– of Dan Paille and Tanner Glass. The coaching staff thinks that Dan Girardi and Marc Staal are their two best defenders. The staff thinks they can win playing man coverage in the defensive zone with an aging roster that is slowing down.
These are fundamental issues that go beyond any trade deadline rental.
Kevin Klein is officially out indefinitely with a fractured thumb. Klein suffered the injury late in the third period of last night’s game on a hit from Reid Boucher. The hit wasn’t dirty, but Klein landed awkwardly on his hand.
It is expected that Dylan McIlrath will play in his place, and no call ups will be made.
The All Star break is over, and now begins the playoff push for the Rangers. They’ve been playing better of late, 6-3-1 in their last ten, but the overall performance has still left something to be desired. The process is certainly better on the ice, and the forwards have been better as well, but defensive issues remain.
This is a rather important game for the Rangers, as the Devils are four points behind the Blueshirts, but the Rangers have a game in hand. A regulation win makes it a six point cushion with a game in hand –potentially eight point lead– which is almost insurmountable with the three-point game system we have today.