Archive for Game Thread
After laying an egg at home against the lowly Canucks, the Rangers hit the road for their annual trip through Western Canada. First stop on the trip is Calgary, where the Flames and their Vancouver-esque record await. This is another trap game for the Rangers, as Calgary is a pretty bad team as well.
The Flames have some top end skill, but haven’t found a consistent winger that fits with Johnny Hockey and Boring Monahan. It’s been a rotation for the first 15 games of the year for Calgary, and outside of those two and their top three blue liners, this team is a train wreck.
So yes, it’s a trap game.
The Rangers have scored at least five goals in each of their last five games. The Rangers have failed to score at least three goals just three times this season. And as we know, Papa John’s gives out discounts when that happens. Long story short, Papa John’s is probably regretting this decision. We actually spoke about this in the podcast, which you should be listening to.
There’s no reason why the streak should stop –aside from, you know, regression– against the lowly Canucks either. Vancouver is terrible. They don’t score, they don’t defend. They don’t hockey well. They don’t hockey well at all.
So, this is a trap game. Let’s see if this year’s Rangers team gets caught.
The Rangers are back home tonight after dismantling the Bruins. Tonight it’s the Winnipeg Jets, who the Rangers seem to be talking to regularly concerning Jacob Trouba. Trouba wants out of Winnipeg, and the Rangers appear to be more than happy to take him off Winnipeg’s hands. However the asking price is too high at the moment. Perhaps tonight is a night where the Rangers showcase some players to sweeten the pot?
Winnipeg is sitting at a mediocre 5-6-1, but would likely be better if they had any kind of consistent goaltending. Connor Hellebuyck is sitting at a .913 SV%, best on the team. That’s not good at all. On paper, the Jets are pretty top heavy, with some serious talent in the top-six and top pair. However the talent level dips after that, making them another prime matchup for the Rangers and their speed.
After a dramatic comeback win against the Oilers on Thursday, the Rangers are in Boston to take on a fully healthy Bruins team. The last time these two faced off, the Rangers dismantled the Bruins, who were without a few of their starters. This time around, they will have Tuukka Rask in net, which instantly makes the game a better matchup for the Bs.
That said, the Rangers have been all over most teams this season with their speed. Outside of the Bruins top line, few players on their roster are going to be able to keep up. On their blue line, only Torey Krug has the skating ability to keep up with the Rangers forwards. If the Rangers can continue to use their speed through the neutral zone and relentless forecheck to their advantage, they should come out with the W.
At long last, Rangers fans get to see Connor McDavid live at MSG. But it’s not just his team, as the Oilers have come out of the gate strong with a 7-2-1 record. The interesting thing is that they’ve allowed 22 goals over those ten games, the same as the Rangers. Cam Talbot has had a good start as well.
The Oilers are a relatively deep club, with three dangerous scoring lines. However their blue line leaves a lot to be desired, and outside of two or three guys, aren’t very mobile. This should be a very high scoring game with a lot of action. Should be fun to watch.
After completely dismantling the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday, the Rangers are back at it tonight to wrap up the season series with the St. Louis Blues. These two teams squared off in St. Louis for the second game of the season, with St. Louis barely holding onto a 3-2 win despite being dominated by the Rangers from start to finish.
Tonight is also the last time Kevin Shattenkirk plays at MSG until he’s eventually traded to the Rangers this season or signs in the offseason. So get your looks in now and see how he can handle defensive zone coverage against a speedy team.
In all seriousness, the Blues are another great test for the Rangers, as they are again a top team in the Central Division and Western Conference.
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.