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Game 2: Rebound in Toronto

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rangers leafs mika zibanejad

After Thursday night’s disappointing loss, the Rangers are in Toronto to take on the very talented Leafs. This team has playoffs and potentially Stanley Cup aspirations. The Leafs top-nine can score almost at will, so the Rangers’ blue liners will seemingly have their hands full all night. As will Henrik Lundqvist.

If the Leafs have a weakness, it’s their blue line. Ron Hainsey plays on the top pair, and he is not a top pairing defenseman. The Blueshirts’ forwards should get ample space, like they did against Colorado. The difference is going to be finishing. Two goals won’t cut it in this league. Need to put the biscuit in the net.

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Categories : Game Thread
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Checkers’ three goal third stuns pack in season opener

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Charlotte Checkers 5, Hartford Wolf Pack 4

By Ben Harff

Hartford, CT, October 6, 2017 – A three-goal Charlotte Checker comeback stunned the Hartford Wolf Pack Friday night at the XL Center, as the Wolf Pack saw a 4-2 third-period slip away in a 5-4 loss, in the 2017-18 season opener for both teams.

Warren Foegele’s second goal of the game with 59.8 seconds left gave the Checkers the win, after Valentin Zykov had tied the score on a power play at 13:06.

The Wolf Pack struck first just 54 seconds into the opening night action. Defenseman Ryan Graves received the puck from Dan Catenacci and let a shot go, and Cole Schneider was there to bang home the rebound.

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Categories : AHL
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henrik lundqvist

Photo: Jim McIsaac/Newsday

The Rangers came out last night looking to start the season on the right foot, but fell to the lowly Avs by a score of 4-2. Semyon Varlamov outplayed Henrik Lundqvist, who looked a little shaky, and the Rangers were unable to convert on some solid chances throughout. There were some bright spots, though. Kevin Shattenkirk was solid. The powerplay was phenomenal, moving the puck very well. Mika Zibanejad still has a cannon. They fought back after being down two early.

Overall the Rangers played well, but couldn’t find a way to finish, hitting Varlamov in the chest more often than not. Usually that’s a sign of a goalie playing well, but he was leaving rebounds that the Rangers just couldn’t get to. The broadcast said the Rangers did everything they should have to win, but didn’t. I agree with that assessment. It should only get better from here.

On to the goals:

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Categories : Game Wrap-ups
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Game 1: And so it begins

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rangers avalance

Trolling a little with this picture. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

And so it begins. The Rangers take the ice tonight for the first time in the 2017-2018 season, and are handed a gimme game against Colorado at home. Our Blueshirts made a significant upgrade on the blue line, essentially replacing Dan Girardi with Kevin Shattenkirk. They also basically swapped Brady Skjei and Marc Staal’s minutes. With no Nick Holden or Kevin Klein, the blue line looks reborn.

As for the forwards, the loss of Derek Stepan stings, but this is a very talented group that can put up goals. Filip Chytil will get most of the attention between Rick Nash and Mats Zuccarello, but don’t underestimate the KZB line or the third line of Grabner-Hayes-Miller. This team should push the pace and be fun to watch.

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Categories : Game Thread
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Lines for opening night

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The lines for opening night have been set. For the first time in over a decade, that opening night lineup will not have Dan Girardi, which despite his last few seasons here, is still a weird thing to see. However the Rangers have two talented rookies cracking the lineup, and have skill up and down.

Chris Kreider-Mika Zibanejad-Pavel Buchnevich
Rick Nash-Filip Chytil-Mats Zuccarello
Michael Grabner-Kevin Hayes-JT Miller
Jimmy Vesey-David Desharnais-Paul Carey

Ryan McDonagh-Kevin Shattenkirk
Brady Skjei-Brendan Smith
Marc Staal-Tony DeAngelo

PP1: Zibanejad-Kreider-Buchnevich-Zuccarello-Shattenkirk
PP2: Nash-Desharnais-Miller-McDonagh-DeAngelo

Mere hours away…

Categories : Lineup Changes
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The Hartford Wolf Pack made some roster moves today, sending goalie Brandon Halverson to the ECHL and returning Sean Day to the OHL for his age-19 season. Day was in the mix for a Wolf Pack spot at 19 due to his “exceptional” status as an OHL draftee, but the Rangers opted to not rush him. There is nothing wrong with that.

As for Halverson, he was competing with Alex Georgiev and Chris Nell, and appears to be the odd-man out. If Georgiev is going to be the AHL starter, then it makes sense to get Halverson some work in the ECHL. That said, time is running out for the former second round pick.

Categories : Prospects
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brandon crawley

The Rangers have signed defenseman Brandon Crawley to a three year entry level contract. Crawley, taken in the fourth round of this year’s draft, was a bit of an interesting draft pick as an over-ager. However his play in camp showed he could take the next step.

At 20 years old, Crawley will help solidify a blue line in Hartford that was in dire need of some young speed. He’s not flashy, but he gets the job done with good positioning and stick work in the defensive zone. Crawley joins Neal Pionk, Alexei Bereglazov, Vince Pedrie, and Sean Day on the Hartford blue line, which makes them a strong and mobile group.

Categories : Transactions
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henrik lundqvist

Last year, Henrik Lundqvist was the talk of the town. It wasn’t because of his usual stellar play, though. It was due to his inability to keep the Rangers in games, especially later in the season. There were multiple times when Lundqvist allowed “weak” game tying or game winning goals. At least, that’s the way his play last season was perceived.

Make no mistake, Lundqvist had a down season last year. He wasn’t his usual self, able to make the difficult saves look easy and the impossible saves look somewhat challenging. He posted his worst SV% of his career at .910, and it was the first time in seven seasons that he posted a SV% below .920.

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Categories : Players
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Robin Kovacs missing from Hartford camp?

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robin kovacs

An interesting note, Robin Kovacs was not not he Hartford Wolf Pack training camp roster. There are some rumblings that he may be in Sweden based on his Instagram account, but it is strange that he’s not with the Pack.

Looking to rebound from a poor year last season, Kovacs was one of the first players cut from camp this year. It’s a little alarming that he’s not in camp this year, and with no official word on where he is, it makes you wonder.

Categories : Prospects
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Reasonable expectations: Filip Chytil

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filip chytil

This is a much needed post, more than any other of the reasonable expectations posts we’ve written here over the past nine (holy crap it’s been nine years) years. After making a big splash at camp and proving he at least belongs in the short term, Filip Chytil was penciled into a second line role, with Rick Nash and Mats Zuccarello as his flanks.

The good news is that Alain Vigneault recognizes that the kid who is barely 18 years old needs to be put in a position to succeed. With Nash and Zuccarello, he will be able to create offensively and not be the center of attention on the line. Nash and Zuccarello will draw the attention of the opposition, giving Chytil a little more room to work with. Plus, it’s good to have two skilled and seasoned vets with a kid who can’t even buy beer legally yet.

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Categories : Players
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