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Game 79: Tank City

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AP Photo/Kathy Willens

The Rangers are back in action tonight, and I have to admit I completely forgot there was a game. I’m wrapped up in family things for both Easter and Passover. Hooray holidays.

Anyway, here’s the game thread. Sorry for the lack of substance to this one.

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Categories : Game Thread
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Game 78: Hello, old friend

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rangers canucks

Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Tonight’s game is going to hurt. Sure, Tampa Bay is really good and should lay a hurting on the Rangers. I think that part we all expect. Tonight is different. Ryan McDonagh is now with the Lightning, and not with the Rangers. That will hurt. This will be the story. Although there is some humor in him being reunited with Girardi.

McDonagh was the former captain and the rock on the blue line. But times, they are a changing. JT Miller went with him, and the two of them combined for just under 15 years of service with the Rangers.

Update: Totally forgot it is Dan Girardi’s return as well. Recency bias I guess. Should be an emotional night.

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AP Photo/Nick Wass

In stark contrast to Monday night’s game, the Caps and Rangers played a tight one last night. Instead of the Caps jumping out to a big lead and then sitting back, they played a pretty tight game. The goaltending was solid, but both Henrik Lundqvist and Braden Holtby allowed weak ones.

The kids played another pretty strong game. Neal Pionk, minus his gaffe at the end of regulation, had a spectacular game. Lias Andersson notched an assist. The team really turned it around after that poor first period on Monday, playing decent hockey for five straight periods. I’ll take it.

On to the goals:

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Categories : Game Wrap-ups
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Game 77: Meaningless hockey

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Photo: Nick Wass/AP

It’s official. The Rangers have officially been eliminated from playoff contention. For the first time in 14 years, and for the first time in Henrik Lundqvist’s career, the Rangers will play a hockey game without the possibility of making the playoffs. It’s a weird feeling, even if it is something we’ve been expecting for some time now.

As for the game, it may be meaningless, but there are still some things to watch. Chytil, Andersson, Buchnevich, Pionk, and others are getting very long auditions for next season. Hayes, Namestnikov, and Spooner are likely playing to ensure they aren’t odd-guys out this offseason. We have no idea what will happen with some other players as well.

This is all mental preparation for us for Friday anyway.

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Projecting Kevin Hayes’ next contract

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AP Photo/Julio Cortez

The Blueshirts have a ton of questions to address this offseason. From the blue line to the coach to the forwards, not one stone will be left unturned in this process. It’s the first time in a long time that we will be glued to social media for most of the offseason.

One item of particular is the decision process around Ryan Spooner, Vlad Namestnikov, and Kevin Hayes. All three are comparable players, and all three are pending RFAs. While a trade is certainly possible, there is also room for all three next year. So let’s look at what Hayes, the longest tenured of the trio, might cost next season.

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Categories : Players
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AP Photo/Julie Jacobson

The Rangers faced off against Washington tonight in a game that was tied for about five minutes before it was over. It might have been over before the puck dropped. The Caps jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead on some of the easiest goals I’ve seen. There was nothing Alex Georgiev could do in his short stay in net.

The Rangers clawed back, which is good to see. Lias Andersson notched his first NHL goal by going to the net. Filip Chytil grabbed his first NHL assist on Mats Zuccarello’s goal. They made it somewhat interesting, but that awful start couldn’t be overcome.

Andersson and Chytil both looked very good. Pavel Buchnevich also looked good, setting up a lumbering Cody McLeod for a good chance. The kids, they are alright.

On to the goals:

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Game 76: The future

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AP Photo/Bill Kostroun

The future begins now, as Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil are with the Blueshirts. They are slated to play middle-six roles today, as Alain Vigneault doesn’t want to break up the Kreider/Zibanejad/Fast line that has been hot. Understandable, even if that leaves Namestnikov and Buchnevich on the fourth line with McLeod. Whatever.

The Caps are playoff bound and one of the actual contenders for the Cup this year. They are skilled, deep, and have great goaltending. Whether they can put it all together and avoid a choke, we shall see.

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lias andersson

The Rangers officially recalled Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil yesterday, ending the speculation of when, not if, they would be called up. The 2017 first round picks will play for the rest of the season, something we’ve been waiting for since the rebuild was announced last month.

If the trade deadline was the setup for the new direction of the club, then the recalls –and hopefully legitimate playing time– of Andersson and Chytil represent the first step in the process. Chytil could turn into a legitimate top line talent, something the Rangers sorely need. Andersson will likely be a depth/middle-six guy. Something every team needs, but not something that gets them over the hump.

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Categories : Prospects
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lias andersson filip chytil

As expected, the Rangers have recalled both Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil. They will likely play in the remaining seven games of the season. Andersson, the Blueshirts’ 7th overall pick this past summer, has a line of 5-9-14 in 24 games with the Pack. He was loaned to the Pack by Frolunda in the SHL after the World Juniors. He has a line of 7-7-14 in 22 games in Sweden.

Chytil, the 21st overall pick in the same draft, comes with a little more fanfare, as he made the team outright after camp, only to play a pair of games before being sent to the AHL. He suffered an injury, but has been on fire since the World Juniors. He has a line of 11-20-31 in 45 games in the AHL.

Since both will be playing in under ten NHL games this season, their contracts will slide to next year, meaning they won’t burn a year of their ELCs. That’s critical, as this keeps their costs down and keeps them exempt from the looming expansion draft in 2020. The kids aren’t saviors, but they are the first of what should be a bunch of new first rounder picks to help rebuild this franchise.

Categories : Transactions
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Game 75: The home stretch

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AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes

The Rangers are in action tonight against one of the few teams that are worse than them: The Buffalo Sabres. I can’t imagine a scenario where the Rangers don’t come away with two points here, which is sure to anger a few people. But let’s take a lesson here in that the Sabres are a case in how not to rebuild. Elite talent in Jack Eichel, but not much else.

As for our Blueshirts, it is what it is at this point. We are going to face palm some lineup decisions and in-game adjustments. We are going to wonder how or if this team plays defense. They will score a bit, the Sabres will score a bit. Alex Georgiev will make 900 saves, give or take. You know, the usual.

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