Archive for Game Thread
After a lackluster performance in Carolina which led to their three game win streak being snapped, the Rangers are back in action tonight against the Lightning. The Bolts are expected to be a Cup contender this year, and are off to a relatively decent start with a 5-3 record, identical to the Rangers. If you expect the Wings to fall and the Habs to come to Earth, then the Bolts are the easy favorite to win their division.
The Rangers are a much better matchup against the Bolts than years past, with speed being the primary focus. The Bolts have a more mobile defense, which might give them the advantage over the Rangers. That said, the Rangers forwards have been blowing by all types of blue lines. So maybe this trend will continue.
The Rangers have won three in a row, and are looking to make it four against a bottom-feeder Carolina team. That doesn’t mean Carolina is a push over, as they have a great blue line. They just lack consistent goaltending and forward depth. Plus, the Rangers are getting Pavel Buchnevich back.
The interesting thing about the Rangers is that they are just lighting up the opposition, seemingly scoring at will. The goaltending is beginning to come around after a slow start, which they will need when the shooting comes back to Earth. It’s good to bank points this early in the season, so any win they can get while they figure out the blue line is good.
The Rangers swept the weekend back-to-back despite a number of last minute injuries. After two days off, they are looking to make it three in a row on Rivalry Night on NBCSN against the Bruins. But tonight is like no other Rivalry Night. Tonight, the Rangers try to break the curse.
That curse, of course, is beating the opposition’s fourth string goalie. In the history of the organization, the Rangers have never been able to beat the fourth string goalie. Ever*. Luckily the Bruins are off to a mediocre start, as depth seems to be a major issue in Boston.
*-Probably not true, but it sure does seem like it.
After a good win in Washington, the Rangers are back home to take on an Arizona Coyotes team that is better on paper than their record would indicate. The Yotes have been victimized by terrible goaltending early on, allowing a whopping 18 goals through four games. I admittedly haven’t watched much of the Yotes this season, but on paper their blue line is good, so it leads me to believe their goaltending is failing them early on. I could be wrong, though.
As for the Rangers, they just limited the Caps to two goals. Considering the porous defense and mediocre goaltending they had received prior, this is a very good sign for them. If the Rangers can shore up play in their own zone while continuing to score at this pace, they will be tough to beat. Plus, Henrik Lundqvist won’t play to a sub-.900 SV% for very long. He’s a slow starter anyway.
The Rangers are in Washington tonight to take on an “undefeated” Capitals team that sits atop the Metro Division. The Caps are doing what they did last year, scoring at a solid pace while depending on tremendous defense and goaltending. The Caps ran away with the President’s Trophy last season, and seem to be picking up right where they left off.
The Rangers are dealing with some injuries at the moment, but still have the forward depth to keep up with the Caps. This game will be won by the team that makes fewer mistakes in their own zone. The Rangers have been porous on defense and Henrik Lundqvist has been having his usual slow start. So this game could be high scoring.
The Rangers are in action tonight against the Detroit Red Wings in a “Wednesday Night Rivalry” game on NBCSN. I use that phrase loosely, as there is no real rivalry between the Rangers and Red Wings. It’s one of those Original Six matchups that people still think is a rivalry. But I digress.
Kevin Klein returns tonight, taking Dylan McIlrath’s spot in the lineup (let’s keep the outrage over this isolated to the lineup decisions post, please). This is a good game for him to return, as Detroit isn’t exactly a powerhouse this year. It’s a good chance for him to get his legs back under him…..or to showcase himself.
The Rangers lost in St. Louis over the weekend, but completely dominated the game. If the Rangers continue to play like that, they will be very difficult to beat on any given night. Tonight it’s the defending Western Conference Champion San Jose Sharks coming to town.
The Rangers are without Dan Girardi and Pavel Buchnevich tonight, to go along with Oscar Lindberg and Kevin Klein on the injury list. In response, Alain Vigneault has juggled his lines and pairings. Antti Raanta also makes his season debut tonight.
The Rangers had their new forwards on display on Thursday night, as speed killed the Islanders. It wasn’t without a little drama, as the Rangers defense is still in a state of disarray, but overall the Rangers are certainly improved up front. But now they are in St. Louis to take on a very good Blues team that appears to be on the cusp every season.
The Blues have a strong, puck moving blue line to go with their numerous skilled forwards. Goaltending is good enough in St. Louis to get by, and the only thing really holding the Blues back is the quality of their division. The Central is again a dogfight, and I’d venture a bet that St. Louis would win at least two of the other three divisions without much competition.
Hockey is finally here. It’s a little late, but better late than never. The Rangers drop the puck at home on the season opener for the first time in close to a decade. This season is likely going to be a roller coaster ride, with much improved forward depth and possibly a bottom-five defense.
Pat wrote a detailed preview of the game tonight, so be sure to check it out. That’s all I got. Welcome back, hockey. We missed you.
The end of the preseason is upon us, and for the first time in a while, the Rangers still have significant questions regarding training camp battles. Every player fighting for a battle –that the coaches need to evaluate further. They know what Tanner Glass brings– is in the lineup tonight.
Boo Nieves is in the lineup tonight, which is a bit of a surprise. It’s been assumed that he was hurt in camp, which is why he has stuck around so long. Logic suggests AV wants a look at the kid in a game, which is why he’s out there tonight.