After a strong win against St. Louis the other night, the Rangers are in Ottawa to take on the Senators in a Saturday matinee. The Rangers have won seven in a row behind elite goaltending and opportunistic shooting, and are 9-0-2 in their last 11 games. Much of this is thanks to Henrik Lundqvist and an offense that makes the most of their chances. The defense still needs to improve, as they’ve been shaky through the first 16 games.
The Sens are second in the Atlantic at 8-5-3, and have actually struggled a bit at home (3-3-2). They are not a good possession team (45.6 CF%), sitting in the bottom-three in the NHL in both even strength CF% and score-adjusted even strength CF%. However this is a team that can put the puck in the net. They have six guys in double-digit points already. But after those six the Sens are very thin, with no one over five points.
The Rangers usually feast on teams that lack depth and have poor goaltending. The Sens certainly lack depth, and Anderson has been shaky to start the year. That said, the Rangers have been playing above their heads for a while now. This should be a fun game to watch, I’m expecting a lot of chances on both sides. So….it’ll be a boring 2-1 game.
Henrik Lundqvist sat down with Bloomberg Television’s Scarlet Fu the other day to speak about his philanthropic efforts. He said “I wanted to reach people back home and other places around the world and also start thinking about life after my career.”
The full interview can be viewed here.
The transcript, courtesy of Bloomberg TV, is below.
The Ranges have just kept on rolling, extending their win streak to six games and 8-0-2 in their last ten. But St. Louis comes to town tonight, a true playoff team that is just as hot as the Rangers. The Blues are very similar to the Rangers, relying on elite goaltending and transition rushes.
The Blues are 7-2-1 in their last ten games, including impressive wins over Minnesota, Anaheim, Tampa Bay, Chicago, and Nashville. Four players have double-digit scoring totals, and Jake Allen has been lights-out in net. This is the first really hot goaltender the Rangers have faced in their recent 8-0-2 run.
The Rangers haven’t played perfect hockey, and some are quick to point out they played down to their competition over the last three games. This is a big test for the Blueshirts. A statement win would keep a lot of those complaints at bay.
On Tuesday night, the Rangers scratched Dominic Moore so that Emerson Etem could get into the lineup again. There was a certain level of surprise at the move, as Moore has been one of the Rangers best and most consistent forwards for the past few years. It wasn’t a question about getting Etem into the lineup, it was about scratching Moore.
But the fourth line played a strong game, generating scoring chances and giving Rangers extra punch in the lineup. Etem was a machine, going to corners, driving to the net. It was capped by his very subtle tip pass off the boards to Jesper Fast for the first goal of the game. Etem made some mistakes as his hockey IQ isn’t optimal yet, but overall it was hard to not be impressed.
Portland Pirates 6, Hartford Wolf Pack 2
Portland, ME, November 11, 2015 – The Hartford Wolf Pack snapped a franchise-record streak of three straight shutouts-against Wednesday night at the Cross Insurance Arena, but couldn’t avoid a fifth consecutive loss, a 6-2 defeat at the hands of the Portland Pirates.
Logan Shaw scored twice for Portland, and Kyle Rau had a goal and two assists. Tanner Glass and Luke Adam both scored their first Wolf Pack goals, in the first of back-to-back games between the Wolf Pack and Pirates.
“As a group we’re working hard right now, but you can talk about bounces, obviously those aren’t coming across very often for us right now,” Wolf Pack captain Ryan Bourque said. “But ultimately we’ve just got to continue to grow each day and we’ve got to fight through this. It’s definitely a tough time for us as a team, but I think from this you can almost look at it as a positive and learn from it, so that down the road, if we do face adversity like this, we know how to handle it.”
The Hartford Wolf Pack have recalled goalie Mackenzie Skapski from the Greenville Swamp Rabbits and loaned goalie Jeff Malcolm to Greenville. Skapski was sent to Greenville on last week on a conditioning stint, rehabbing from surgery. Skapski is back with Hartford, where he will presumably split duties with Magnus Hellberg.
The New York Rangers made it six wins in a row last night, topping the Carolina Hurricanes by a score of 3-0, giving Henrik Lundqvist his first shutout of the season. This isn’t one of those games that the Rangers were “lucky to escape,” despite getting outplayed for stretches by the Canes. However, the Rangers were certainly prone to playing down to their inferior opponent. They had a weak start to the game and a weak finish to the second period. Hank stood tall throughout, as per usual, stopping all 33 shots he faced.
Despite the periods of relatively weak hockey at times, the Rangers were still solid on the forecheck, and it resulted in their first two goals, both scored in a 13 second window in the first period. It wasn’t their forecheck that was the problem, that’s for sure. Rick Nash was a force all game, and Mats Zuccarello played probably his best game as a Ranger.
What was a problem, aside from the defensive zone play, was the undisciplined play. The Rangers took six penalties in this game. Their penalty killing is top notch though, so they killed them all off. It’s been a problem for a few games though.
The Rangers are experiencing quite a run of success. They are 10-2-2 to start the season and 7-0-2 in their last nine games. Tonight they face a Carolina Hurricanes team that is one of the better possession teams in the league. They are small and fast, but lack true finishing skill outside of the Staals.
The Canes have played .500 hockey for their first 14 games, and have a -10 goal differential thus far. They have just one player (Versteeg) with double-digit points. Their goaltending duo of Cam Ward-Eddie Lack has been atrocious, with neither above a .907 SV%. The Canes have a good process –they drive possession– but lack the talent to score or keep scorers at bay.
What have they done lately?
The Rangers are probably the most hotly debated 10-2-2 team that I’ve ever come across. There are those that believe the Rangers are the best team in the league. There are others that believe the Rangers are a product of unsustainable goaltending and shooting percentage. The reality likely falls in the middle.
The Rangers are probably one of the deepest teams in the league at forward. They have four lines that can score and play two-way hockey. They can skate, score, and play defense. Their rush-based offense has again turned turnovers into scoring chances and goals. The goaltending is elite, not much else to say there. The biggest questions are on the blue line, and it’s something we’ve covered here a bunch of times.