Archive for Game Thread

The Rangers beat Nashville on Saturday, and it seemed to be a weight lifted off their backs. They are 2-5-2 to date, and in range of the magic number of three. But they are still in dire need of points, and you get the sense they know it. The win over Nashville may not have had the best process, but when you get two points and are in dire need of a confidence boost, you take it.

Now with San Jose coming to town, the Blueshirts will need to build on that win over Nashville. Perhaps the process starts coming together. Perhaps they start getting some bounces. Perhaps both. No matter what, the Rangers dug themselves a hole, and need to continue digging themselves out of it.

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rangers predators ryan mcdonagh

The Rangers are off to their worst start in recent memory. I’d say the 2013-2014 start was worse, but you could at least see that the Rangers were going through a rough learning curve with a new coach and system. This time around, they are just making bad fundamental mistakes. That is bound to change at some point.

Maybe an afternoon game will change their luck. But then again it’s against the Nashville Predators, so who knows. All I know is that the Rangers desperately need to bank points. Since this game isn’t against a conference opponent, it doesn’t have to be in regulation. Just get the two points.

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rangers islanders isles

The Rangers are off to a woeful 1-5-1 start to the season. The Isles aren’t much better, but don’t look like the train wreck that is on Broadway right now. That said, the Rangers are pretty due for an offensive outburst, with a shooting percentage of 4% likely going to right itself sooner rather than later.

Consistency is the key for the Rangers. That and eliminating brain farts. The Penguins game was full of those, and it was a winnable game. They had a poor start and a worse finish. Fix those areas, and they might come away with two points. They need it right now, as they sit in dead last in the East.

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Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

That’s what it has come to, folks. After ab abysmal 1-5 start, the Rangers are in danger of falling below the four-points-out line at the end of October, which makes it very difficult (not impossible) to make the playoffs. Now with the Penguins in town, the feat gets tougher.

Coaching is an issue. As is roster construction. But the piece that the players control is showing up to play. Saturday against the Devils was inexcusable, and hopefully that serves as rock bottom. The lines went through a blender again, but the defense pairings look somewhat decent. Who knows, maybe they turn it around tonight.

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rangers devils

AP Photo/Bill Kostroun

The Rangers are now 1-4 to start the season. It is not panic time just yet, as you can’t make the playoffs in October. However you can miss the playoffs in October, and given the Metro Division, that holds particularly true if the Rangers don’t start banking some points. Tonight they get the lowly Devils, so hopefully they should come out with two points. It doesn’t matter how, the Devils aren’t making the playoffs, they just need the points.

The issue goes beyond roster decisions. As Pat pointed out this afternoon, it’s about in-game deployment. There is no reason why the KZB line should be stuck with defensive zone starts with McDonagh/Holden while the fourth line –assembled as a defense-first unit– gets offensive zone starts with Shattenkirk/Skjei. It’s mind boggling. But whatever. Water under the bridge. Just get points.

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Oct
13

Game 5: Someone please help Mika

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rangers blue jackets ryan mcdonagh brandon dubinsky

The Rangers are off to a slow start this season, and things aren’t going to get any easier. They are in Columbus to take on a strong Jackets team that should be a playoff contender again this season. The Blue Jackets have a very strong blue line, goaltender, and top-nine. Their fourth line can be exploited, though.

As for the Rangers, they are going with another variation of blue liners tonight. Tony DeAngelo is still out, and Nick Holden gets a boost to the top pairing. Poor Ryan McDonagh. The forwards are still a little shallow, as the need for another center grows with every game someone not named Mika Zibanejad can’t score.

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rangers blues

Photo: AP

The Rangers won their first game of the season on Sunday night, but did so in a manner that wasn’t that impressive. It looks like Alain Vigneault backed off the 11F/7D train for now, which is good. The Rangers also limited quality chances and Royal Road chances against, which is good. However they were crushed in possession, which is bad.

If they keep the quality chances down and get more sustained offense/breakouts/zone exits, then it’s a huge step in the right direction. It’s about both quantity and quality. They’ve had one or the other so far, but never both. St. Louis is going to be a tough challenge to try to find consistency, but the Rangers are too good to be as bad as they have been. Perhaps this is the opponent they need to get things going.

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Oct
08

Game 3: Right the ship

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mats zuccarello

Photo: Jim McIsaac/Newsday

The Rangers are off to an inauspicious start to the season, losing to a bad Colorado team and then no-showing most of the game in Toronto. Now they are home against Montreal, a team that has allowed eight goals in two games. However offense doesn’t seem to be the problem for the Rangers, at least in the short term. This is still a team that is hemorrhaging quality chances against and hanging Henrik Lundqvist out to dry.

There’s going to be a learning curve with all the new faces, but this is not quite what was expected to start the season. The Rangers went through similar issues to start the 2013-2014 season, AV’s first in New York. However that was for a whole new system. This is the same system, but a good number of different guys. Perhaps it’ll straighten itself out, because this team is too good to be this bad.

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Oct
07

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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Oct
05

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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