If you’ve been here for a while, then you are probably expecting some kind of goal breakdown. I apologize, but you’re not getting one this morning.
The Rangers cannot continue at this pace. It is unsustainable. They are not playing well, they are getting extremely lucky, and Henrik Lundqvist is bailing them out on a nightly basis. They will not continue to win games like this.
I’ve been saying the above for three weeks now. If you didn’t see it before, then last night’s game was an eye opener for you. It is certainly an extreme example of what I, along with others, have been seeing. It is not a good trend, and last night was the most egregious example thus far this season.
The Rangers won, I get that. And I am ecstatic that they won. They showed up in the third period and played significantly better. Henrik Lundqvist completely bailed them out in the first two periods, where it looked like the Rangers were just letting Nashville do whatever they wanted. It was atrocious. The Rangers did not deserve to win the game, period.
The Rangers are back home to open a tough stretch at the Garden that begins with Nashville. The Preds have one of the best blue lines in the league and Pekka Rinne in net. They have some solid talent up front that controls possession (53.8% CF). This is a playoff team in a tough division.
Meanwhile, the Rangers are not exactly playing their best hockey. They are winning, but the process doesn’t match the results on the ice. The goaltending is masking a large number of issues with the defense, and the forwards –although scoring– are playing dump and chase hockey a little too much, giving up the puck to the opposition on a regular basis. That needs to change. Teams like Nashville will exploit it.
Alain Vigneault tried out some new lines at practice today, and it is likely these are the lines for tonight’s game against Nashville.
Emerson Etem is the healthy forward scratch. The defense remained the same.
When I started writing this post, I had about 20 things going through my mind about this team, but nothing was solid enough to be a stand alone post. After about an hour of trying to figure out what to write about, it dawned on me. Since Thursday is Thanksgiving, a Monday Musings sounded like a solid idea. I feel like this should have come to me sooner than an hour later, but such is life.
- Let’s get this out of the way first: This start is easy to enjoy. Getting all these points now will make things a lot easier in March/April when other teams are fighting for their playoff lives. They haven’t clinched anything yet, but 32 points after one-quarter of the season is a nice bank of points to start with.
- That said, this team has not been playing as well as their record indicates. That’s not saying they aren’t as good as their record, it’s saying they have not been playing like an elite team. Their defense has been relatively atrocious, and they’ve been poor with puck management. They’ve excelled with what we’ve expected them to: goaltending and transition scoring. Based on the reaction from the poor showing in Florida, people are starting to catch on.
- There will be a significant PDO crash for this team. That means the hot shooting will likely level out, as will the unsustainable goaltending. This doesn’t mean the Rangers will become a bad team, it just means that we should expect some losses. No team can continue at this pace, it’s just not possible.
The Rangers are in Sunrise tonight to take on the Florida Panthers. The Panthers have been riding great goaltending from Roberto Luongo and well balanced scoring from their top-six to a .500 record. They are struggling lately at 3-5-2 as shooting percentages from their top-six fall, but this is a young team on the rise with some solid veteran leadership.
New York had their win streak snapped the other day in Tampa Bay, and are going to look to rebound tonight. Last year’s team was very good at rebounding after losses, and with minimal roster turnover, we should hope that this year’s club shows the same resolve. The Rangers are going to need to battle the eventual PDO crash coming their way, so getting back on track against a mediocre club.
Hartford Wolf Pack 3, Utica Comets 2
Utica, NY, November 20, 2015 – The Hartford Wolf Pack snapped an 0-6-1-0 drought with a 3-2 win over the Utica Comets Friday night, in the Wolf Pack’s first-ever visit to the Utica Memorial Auditorium.
Luke Adam had a goal and an assist for the Wolf Pack, and Travis Oleksuk’s second-period goal was the game-winner. Mat Bodie opened the scoring with an early first-period power-play goal. Magnus Hellberg got the win in goal, but had to leave the game in the second period due to an apparent injury.
Brendan Gaunce scored both Utica goals, and Richard Bachman made 21 saves in the Comet net.
The Tampa Bay Lightning ended the New York Rangers’ winning streak with a late shorthanded goal. Valtteri Filpulla and J.T. Brown hooked up for the winner with a minute remaining in the game with Brian Boyle in the box. Dominic Moore tied the game late with a solid individual effort, and the game looked like it was swinging in their favor after the Boyle penalty. But that’s how dangerous the Lightning can be.
This was a battle of two teams that may very well meet in the Eastern Conference Final again this season. You are looking at two of the top four in the East, and Tampa was without half of their forwards for this game.
The Rangers are in Tampa tonight to take on the defending Eastern Conference champion Lightning. The Bolts bested the Rangers in seven games last season, sending the Rangers home in crushing fashion. But the Bolts the Rangers are facing today are just a shell of the lineup they dressed in May. They are missing Ondrej Palat, Tyler Johnson, Cedric Paquette, and Jonathan Drouin. Ryan Callahan is also a game-time decision.
Tonight’s game is another test for the Rangers during their impressive streak. They are seeking their tenth win in a row and seeking at least a point in their 14th straight game (11-0-2). That’s one amazing run the Rangers are on. Racking up this many points early is something we aren’t used to seeing in New York.
Per Andrew Gross, Rangers defenseman Dan Boyle is considering retirement at the end of this season. This should come as no surprise, as Boyle is 39 years old and has stated he wants to spend more time with his family. Boyle also said that this is not a physical issue, it’s mental. He wants to be with his young daughters.
Last week, Josh added a new feature to the blog called QMJHL career trends. Using that feature, you could select a prospect in the QMJHL and see how he has improved throughout his career in the league. Today, Josh has added the same feature for the WHL and OHL.
The Rangers have four prospects in the WHL: Keegan Iverson, Ryan Gropp, Brad Morrison, and Sergey Zborovskiy. They also have two in the OHL: Ryan Mantha and Brandon Halverson. They have none in the QMJHL.
Be sure to check them out. They are solid tools to see how a prospect has been playing throughout his career before he winds up with the Rangers organization.