Archive for Game Thread

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The Rangers escaped with a win against Washington, and are now 5-0-2 in their last seven games. They are in Denver tonight to take on the Colorado Avalanche. The Avs are pretty bad this year, as expected. They can score goals (33 in 12 games), but allow even more (36) due to porous defense and shaky goaltending.

With the Rangers rolling and the Avs struggling, on paper this seems to be a mismatch. The Rangers are incredibly deep and should be able to exploit poor goaltending and bad defense. Even against good teams, the Rangers are able to exploit teams that can’t match their depth. The Avs also played last night, so they should be a bit tired.

Fun fact: This is one of those games where we get to say, “Oh wow, the Avs still have Alex Tanguay?”

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The Rangers are back in action tonight, taking on the Washington Capitals for the first time since Derek Stepan completed a 3-1 series comeback. That’s the back story behind this game, that the Caps are out for revenge. But let’s be honest here. The revenge they seek would be in the playoffs, not in Game 12 of the regular season.

The Caps bolstered their forward depth this offseason by signing Justin Williams and trading Joel Ward for T.J. Oshie. They lost Mike Green, but between Nate Schmidt and Dmitry Orlov –and John Carlson on the powerplay– they haven’t really missed a beat. It will likely be the Rangers and Caps in a bloodbath for the Metro Division as the season progresses.

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mats zuccarello

After what seems like a month off, the Rangers are back in action tonight against the lowly Toronto Maple Leafs. The Rangers are 6-2-2 and sitting pretty with the leaders in the Eastern Conference. The Rangers have been relying heavily on stellar goaltending to start the season, as the defense has been suspect and inconsistent. They have been hemorrhaging shots left and right. Shot hemorrhaging should level out a bit as the goaltending comes back to Earth. Hopefully that means the favorable results continue.

The Leafs are….bad. Like, real bad. Auston Matthews bad. They can’t score. Can’t play defense. Can’t stop shots. Nothing. So naturally, this feels like a trap game, especially after a long layover.

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AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

The Rangers lost in a shootout last night to the Flyers, and now are back at MSG to take on the Calgary Flames. Calgary made headlines this summer with their high profile acquisition of Dougie Hamilton to compliment Mark Giordano and T.J. Brodie on the blue line. But their strong blue line means diddly if their goalies can’t stop the puck. Only Boston and Columbus have worse save percentages right now. That’s just bad.

As for the Rangers, they are without Viktor Stalberg tonight. Stalberg took a hit from Radko Gudas last night and is still shaken up. Emerson Etem will take his spot in the lineup. Stalberg’s injury is a concern, but a bigger concern is the blue line continuing to hemorrhage shot attempts. Philly launched 80 shot attempts, 46 on net, last night. It’s been a consistent theme this month, and it has to stop.

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Oct
24

Game 9: Keep rolling in Philly

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Mats Zuccarello

The Rangers have one two in a row, with strong showings at home against San Jose and Arizona. Now the Rangers travel to Philly to take on the Flyers, who are 3-2-1 but have been outscored by three goals thus far. The Flyers got better after demoting Andrew MacDonald (addition by subtraction), but their blue line is a mess and they have about six forwards who can actually do damage. So naturally this feels like a trap game.

Although the Rangers are rolling at 5-2-1, they can play better and get more from their blue line. More specifically, they need more from Dan Girardi, Ryan McDonagh, and Marc Staal. McDonagh seems to be coming on of late after being paired with Kevin Klein, but Girardi and Staal –coming off offseason surgeries– still need some work to find their games. The blue line has chipped in offensively lately, so that could be signs of a turnaround.

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Oct
22

Game 8: Slow down the Coyotes

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The Rangers play host to the Arizona Coyotes tonight, who are off to a hot start. Well, it’s a hot start considering everyone expects them to be a tire fire this year. But they have scored 18 goals in six games so far (allowing 14 in the process), so their offense has carried them to a 3-2-1 record. They are led by a lot of skilled rookies, including former Ranger Anthony Duclair. Duclair was the key piece in the Keith Yandle deal, which seemed to work out for both teams.

The Rangers played their best game of the year on Monday, and are looking to keep that ball rolling against the young ‘Yotes. Arizona still doesn’t have a good defense or goaltending, but they are pretty loaded with skill. The Rangers haven’t really done a good job at limiting shot attempts, but at least have limited scoring chances and high-danger scoring chances to an extent. This should be a fast paced game.

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Oct
19

Game 7: Please stop hemorrhaging shots

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AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

The Rangers have now lost three in a row, and are fresh off a pretty ugly loss to the Devils yesterday. It was a pretty lackluster effort against a bad team. Now they have a very good San Jose team that is pretty much scoring at will with a goalie that seems at home with his new team. Luckily for the Rangers, they are getting the Sharks without Logan Couture. Unfortunately, their defense is hemorrhaging shots.

This will be the second game with the new defensive pairings, and hopefully will yield some better results. I’m not even talking wins at the moment, I’m talking allowing fewer shots and scoring chances. The Rangers are one of the worst in the league right now when it comes to shots allowed. More consistent play and wins will come with better defense.

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rangers devils

AP Photo/John Minchillo

It’s been an interesting start for the New York Rangers who won three in a row to start the season, then dropped two in a row. They scored just one goal in the process while struggling on special teams. The Devils are in town in a matinee, and they are the perfect team for the Rangers to get back on track. The Devils are bad. There’s no other way to put it.

That said, the Rangers need to stop hemorrhaging shots on defense and need to give Henrik Lundqvist a break. He’s been forced to make countless highlight-reel saves in every single game thus far. The pairings have been shuffled, most notably with Kevin Klein taking Dan Girardi’s spot on the top pair. It’s about time this happened. Klein has been, by far, the best NYR defenseman this season. He may also be the best right-handed defenseman the Rangers have*.

*-I’ll take “words I never thought I’d say” for $200 Alex.

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Oct
15

Game 5: Rebound against Montreal

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Photo: AP

Photo: AP

The Rangers dropped their first game of the season on Tuesday night to Winnipeg. Their special teams really failed them, allowing two powerplay goals and a shorthanded goal. This came on the heels of three straight wins to start the season, so losses are to be expected. But the Rangers seem to have an issue on special teams to start the year. They’ve allowed a lot of powerplay goals already.

As per usual with Alain Vigneault, there is another lineup change tonight. Jesper Fast and Dan Boyle return to the lineup, and Emerson Etem will make his Rangers debut. Tanner Glass, Jarret Stoll, and Dylan McIlrath will sit.

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rangers jets 2015

John Woods / The Canadian Press

The Rangers are off to a hot start, having won their first three games of the season. Tonight the Jets are in town on the tail-end of a back-to-back. The Jets are 2-1, but really laid an egg last night in Brooklyn. They are a solid team, and would probably scrape together a few more wins if they played Hutchinson in net more often.

On paper, the Rangers are clearly a better team. That said, this has trap game written all over it. The Jets, fresh off a bad loss, will probably come out much stronger.

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