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rangers blue jackets ryan mcdonagh brandon dubinsky

The Rangers are in Columbus tonight to take on the very potent Blue Jackets, who are a threat to win the Metro this year. The Blueshirts just had their six game win streak snapped, so Alain Vigneault deemed it the right time to get the optimal lineup dressed. So Brendan Smith will return tonight, and Steven Kampfer will sit.

The story will be on how the Rangers rebound after an atrocious third period against Chicago. The slot area was basically free for the Hawks as they tacked on three goals in five minutes, all from that area. For the Rangers to win, they will need to be better at team defense. It’s not on any particular player anymore, it’s on the team and on the coach to figure stuff out.

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Categories : Game Thread
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pavel buchnevich chris kreider

Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac/AP

The Rangers are a weird team. From the players to the coaches to the GM, they are both great and terrible at the same time. The good news it that we can begin to quantify things this year, as 20 games is usually when we can begin seeing what the Rangers truly are, where they will improve, and where they might be over achieving.

Total Rank
GF 35 13
GA 42 28
SH% 7.76% 16
SV% 90.81% 27

*-All stats are at even strength.

Let’s get the easy stuff out of the way. Based on just raw goal totals, the Rangers a horrendous defensively and league average offensively, at least at even strength. However just looking at goals for and against doesn’t tell the whole story.

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Categories : Analysis
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Bridgeport Sound Tigers 2, Hartford Wolf Pack 1 (OT)

By Ben Harff

Hartford, CT, November 15, 2017 – Despite two scoreless periods to start the game, fans still got to see plenty of action between the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and the Hartford Wolf Pack Wednesday night at the XL Center, in a game the Sound Tigers won 2-1 in overtime.

Devon Toews’ second goal of the game made winners of the Sound Tigers with 4.3 seconds left in the extra session.
Both goalies were nearly perfect, allowing only one goal each in regulation. Alexandar Georgiev got the start for the Pack, stopping 27 shots. Meanwhile, Christopher Gibson started for the Tigers and stopped 35 shots. Both goalies were assisted heavily by their respective team’s defense and several blocked shots on each side.

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Categories : AHL
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AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

Henrik Lundqvist and Corey Crawford were the stories of the first 40 minutes in what was actually a fast paced game. The Rangers got on the board early with a Mika Zibanejad goal, and looked to be rolling. It was Crawford who made some stellar stops to keep the Hawks in it.

In the second period, it was Hank’s turn to keep his team in it. He made multiple brilliant saves to preserve a 1-0 lead, until an Alex Debrincat shot snuck though his wickets before the period ended.

Then the third came. Within five minutes it was 4-1 Hawks and Hank was resting. There were multiple defensive breakdowns, as all three goals came from the slot area. And the win streak was snapped.

On to the goals.

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Categories : Game Wrap-ups
Comments (42)
Nov
15

Game 19: Lucky 7’s

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AP Photo/Julie Jacobson

The Rangers are in Chicago for “Wednesday Night Rivalry” night against their bitter Blackhawks rival that they play twice a year and haven’t seen in the playoffs since there were 50 states in the Union (I don’t know if that’s true or not). That’s a very long winded way of saying the Rangers have a chance to extend their win streak to seven games.

Chicago is a weird team. They are very top heavy, but lack the depth and defense to be a legitimate contender. They also lack cap space to make moves, thanks to $23 million invested in Toews and Kane. They are a beatable team, but still potent. The defense will be tested.

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Categories : Game Thread
Comments (65)
Nov
15

Kevin Hayes is actually good

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One of the more polarizing players on the Rangers is Kevin Hayes. Hayes is viewed as an inconsistent center who “is not good defensively” and “lazy” by some. Others see Hayes as a talented middle-six center who plays a balanced game. The reality is the latter, not the former.

After an impressive rookie campaign, Hayes had what was perceived as a down year in 2015-2016. He followed that up with a strong third year in New York, recording career highs in assists (32) and points (49) while tying his career high in goals (17). The team rewarded his season and improvement with the 2C role following the Derek Stepan trade.

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Categories : Players
Comments (87)
Nov
14

There’s always room for improvement

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brendan smith

In case you missed it, the Rangers have won six in a row and have stormed back into relevancy for this year’s NHL season. They’ve done it on the backs of the KZB line, balanced secondary/tertiary scoring, and a Henrik Lundqvist that is giving the middle finger to his doubters. What they haven’t done, though, is optimize the lineup and improve where there are clear improvements to be made.

It’s no coincidence that the winning streak started when Alain Vigneault stopped with the silliness of dressing eleven forwards and seven defensemen. That was one improvement that helped turn the team around (a regression to the mean for SH% is also a primary catalyst for this as well). But one thing to note, something that applies to life as well as sports, is that bad decisions may net good results sometimes in the short term, but in the long run will lead to bad results.

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Categories : Players
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Hartford Wolf Pack 2, Bridgeport Sound Tigers 1

Bridgeport, CT, November 11, 2017 – Dan Catenacci’s goal, his first of the season, at 12:03 of the third period lifted the Hartford Wolf Pack to a 2-1 win over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers Saturday night at Webster Bank Arena.

The game was delayed for more than 45 minutes at the start of the third period by a problem with the ice around one of the nets. The Wolf Pack outshot Bridgeport 13-11 in the third, after the Sound Tigers had a combined 33-12 shots advantage in the first two periods.

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Categories : AHL
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rick nash kevin hayes

Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

I was lucky enough to sit in the Chase Bridge seats for yesterday’s game. The second best seats I’ve ever had (sat on the glass once). It was a great view to see the game unfold and continue the six game winning streak. Since I was at the game, no goal breakdown, but I had some observations.

1. Three goals, three cross-ice (Royal Road) passes. That’s how you win games. All three were beautiful passes. All Pavel Buchnevich and Rick Nash (on the first one) had to do was not miss. But on that second Nash goal, don’t discount the finish. That was a very difficult goal to score.

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Categories : Game Wrap-ups
Comments (36)

rangers oilers

The Rangers are looking for their sixth win in a row this afternoon, with the Edmonton Oilers presenting what should be a good challenge. The Oilers, while not exactly a great team this year, are a fast paced team that can basically score at will. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are just unreal talents. The problem with Edmonton is that beyond those two and one or two other guys, their depth stinks. It’s a product of bad trades.

As for the Rangers, they are winning despite some odd roster choices. But considering how badly they needed a confidence boost, you kind of just deal with it. Ride the winning streak.

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Categories : Game Thread
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