Archive for Game Thread

rangers dallas stars

After Saturday night’s strong win against the Devils, the Rangers stay home to take on the mediocre Dallas Stars. I use the term mediocre loosely, as that top line and top powerplay unit can run up the score big time. But the Stars struggle on the blue line and in net, so the Rangers –even without Zibanejad– should be able to control the scoring chances.

The Rangers are in a unique situation in the division, where two points would move them up a bunch of spots with games in hand, but it wouldn’t kill them if they didn’t get both. That said, this is one of those games you use to make up ground. They went 2-1 in the divisional games over the weekend, so missing out on two tonight would be a bummer.

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jesper fast

Ed Mulholland/USA Today Sports, via Reuters

The Rangers lost last night to the Caps, but beat Pittsburgh earlier in the week. Tonight they face off against the surprising Devils, in an attempt to end this three game run in the division with a winning record. It won’t be easy, since the Devils, picked by everyone to finish last, were just bumped from first last night. Who woulda thunk?

The Blueshirts got thoroughly thrashed against Washington, and now face a tough challenge of a back-to-back against a team with strong goaltending, a good top line, and now got stronger with the addition of Sami Vatanen. The Devils have depth issues, and that is where the Blueshirts are going to need to do their damage.

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Disclaimer: I know I’m trolling with this gif. It was a while ago and it’s still hilarious. Even the staunchest Girardi supporters have to find this to be funny. If it makes you feel any better, in one of my games I covered the puck (I’m a goalie), and shuffled it from my glove to someone who I thought was on my team. He was not. Empty net. I laugh about it now.

After a hard fought win in Pittsburgh, the Rangers are in Washington for another tough divisional matchup. There is one point separating the top five teams in the division, with the Rangers three points back of all of them. But the Rangers have games in hand on all of them. The win against Pittsburgh was a four-point swing. Another win tonight, and the Rangers will have gained a pair of points on both Washington and Pittsburgh without losing a game in hand.

The Rangers are getting this done without Mika Zibanejad, which is pretty amazing. They have Henrik Lundqvist back tonight, and they will need him to be on point with Ovi firing cannons from the dots. The Rangers are the deeper team, but the Caps have more high-end skill. This might be another wide-open affair.

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Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Update: The Rangers have recalled goalie Alex Georgiev from the AHL. Henrik Lundqvist is out with the flu.

The Rangers and Penguins are at it tonight in a big divisional matchup in a tight Metro Division. The Rangers need two points to stay within striking distance of both the Pens and the Caps. The Pens are also without Matt Murray, so there’s reason to believe this potent offense, even without Mika Zibanejad, could put up a few goals.

The Penguins are struggling to score, but they are still loaded up and down the lineup. Once this team’s luck changes, they are going to get goals in droves. They are still scary, and sooner or later their chances will go in the net. Hopefully it isn’t tonight.

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Dec
01

Game 26: Remember, Carolina is good

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Cam Ward, Chris Kreider

AP Photo/Gerry Broome

The last time the Rangers and the Canes met, it was one week ago on Thanksgiving Eve. The Blueshirts spanked the Canes, mocking my game thread title that the Canes are actually good. Well I’m doubling down on it. The Canes are actually pretty good, and last week’s 6-1 drubbing is not a true indication of their talent level.

While I’m not expecting the same result, I am expecting the same track meet. The Rangers dominated the game last week, but I fully expect the pace to stay high in this game.

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Nov
28

Game 25: Florida is a mess

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jt miller jussi jokinen

The Rangers are back at it, again at MSG, to take on the Florida Panthers. The Panthers can only be described with, “WTF?” They made a commitment to analytics, then let injuries last year completely derail their strategy before it even had a chance to get off the ground. Now they are caught in the middle, making silly trades and not really seeing any positive results on the ice.

The Panthers allow a ton of goals, which makes sense because they all of a sudden became frugal and traded away their blue liners. There’s only so much an aging Roberto Luongo can do. That said, the Panthers have a good top line, so they can put the puck in the net.

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Nov
26

Game 24: The surprising Canucks

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Photo: Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press

The Rangers are at it in a Sunday matinee against the surprisingly decent Canucks. It’s interesting, actually, as the Canucks were expected to be terrible, but find themselves in a playoff spot. Their forward depth, at least on paper, isn’t bad. Their defense could use some work, but few NHL teams have a defense that doesn’t need work.

This, like Friday’s game against Detroit, has all the makings of a trap game. The Rangers are a better team than the Canucks, but the Canucks have been hanging around. They are also 8-4-0 on the road, with a recent win over Pittsburgh on their resume. They are not a team to be overlooked.

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Credit: AP / Paul Sancya)

After the 6-1 demolition of the Canes on Wednesday, the Rangers are back home tonight to take on the Detroit Red Wings. The Wings aren’t built very well, but they are certainly outperforming their roster at the moment, albeit at barely above hockey-.500. The Rangers are more talented up and down the lineup. So after the strong win on Wednesday, this has all the makings of a trap game.

The Blueshirts are going to be without Ryan McDonagh again, but that didn’t necessarily hurt them against Carolina. They will look to keep their scoring touch going against a Red Wings team that have allowed 64 goals in 22 games. This is the time for the Rangers to bank points. Avoiding the trap game is critical.

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kevin hayes

Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images

The Rangers travel to Raleigh today to take on the Hurricanes, a team that is a lot better than you think. The Canes are one of the teams the Rangers need to leapfrog to make the playoffs, and are one of the top #fancystats darlings of the league. They are built very well. They do lack elite level talent though, especially in net, which has had an impact in the standings.

The Blueshirts are going to be without Ryan McDonagh today, who did not travel to Carolina with an ab injury. Steven Kampfer will dress on the third pair, while Brendan Smith moves up to the top pair. David Desharnais will also return to the lineup after a one game absence (thus proving AV does make lineup changes following a win). This isn’t a must-win, but it’s a would-be-really-nice-to-win, since it’s a four point swing game.

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jesper fast

Photo Credit: Getty Images / Bruce Bennett

The Rangers are back home tonight after getting swept in their short two game road trip to take on the Ottawa Senators. They will be looking for some form of revenge against the Sens, who ousted the Rangers from the playoffs last year.

The Rangers are hanging around at .500, but that won’t be good enough (obviously) to move the needle among the fans. They need to start playing 60 minutes of hockey consistently. I can’t believe that is an actual problem for this team, but it is.

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