Archive for Game Thread


Game 68: Build on the Florida win

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AP Photo/Gerry Broome

The Rangers are in Carolina tonight looking to extend their winning streak to three in a row. They will be even more shorthanded though, as they are without Rick Nash and Henrik Lundqvist. Luckily Carolina has awful goaltending and trouble scoring. This is the third in a row against weak teams as well. So this win streak was easily predictable. Naturally, hello trap game.

If the Rangers are aiming to mirror a performance, they’d be best aiming to mirror the performance on Tuesday against Florida. Antti Raanta stood on his head on Monday to get the win over Tampa Bay in a game that was riddled with bad process. At this time of the year, with a playoff spot solidified, getting consistent and stable process means more than points. Play the right way, and wins in the playoffs will come.

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Game 67: Play better?

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jt miller jussi jokinen

The Rangers won last night despite being outplayed, but a win is a win. Tonight they continue their trip through Florida with a date in Sunrise against the Panthers. The Panthers have been riddled by injuries all year, but are finally healthy now and in the thick of it for the final playoff spot.

The big thing for the Rangers will be to consistently apply offensive pressure. In the NHL, the best defense is a good offense, and a good offense controls the puck and applies pressure regularly. That begins with a forecheck and continues with a good cycle and getting numerous quality chances. It’s something they haven’t done consistently this month.

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Game 66: Rebounding in Tampa

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kevin hayes

AP Photo/Seth Wenig

The struggling Rangers are in Tampa tonight looking to rebound against an injured and under achieving Bolts team. The Rangers are sporting a new look, with Steven Kampfer and Tanner Glass up to bring some “toughness” to the lineup. They will play in favor of Matt Puempel and Adam Clendening.

As for the Bolts, they are without Ryan Callahan and Steven Stamkos. They also traded Valtteri Filppula, Brian Boyle and Ben Bishop at the deadline. They¬†are still a dangerous team though, so don’t take the standings lightly. That said, they are not what they were the past two years due to injuries. This should be a game where the Rangers get back on track, and Glass/Kampfer get all the credit.

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mats zuccarello

The Rangers are at home tonight to take on Montreal in what is a likely playoff –potentially first round– matchup. The Habs added Jordie Benn and Dwight King at the trade deadline, rounding out the bottom of the lineup. They still lack scoring talent, which is going to be their Achilles Heel.

As for the Rangers, Brendan Smith is still getting acquainted to the lineup and the system. It’s not a quick lesson either. He will have ups and downs for a little bit. The good news is that the Rangers have 15 games this month for him to learn the system. I’m not overly concerned.

As for the game itself, process is more important than results. If the Rangers can use their skill advantage, which is significant, then they should be able to dominate the chances. Dominate scoring chances, and it bodes well for a seven game series.

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Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The Rangers are in Boston tonight to take on the Bruins, another potential playoff matchup. Brendan Smith will make his Rangers debut as well, paired with Ryan McDonagh on the top pair. The game is on NBCSN, so expect Pierre to lose his mind over the Wisconsin connection between McDonagh, Smith, and Derek Stepan.

The Bruins are better than their record. They’ve had some goaltending issues this year, and their scoring luck is also down. Part of the scoring issue is a lack of skill outside their top line, though, even if both are starting to come around. That said they are still a good team that will likely make the playoffs. With Tuukka Rask in net, anything is possible.

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Game 63: Future Ranger Kevin Shattenkirk

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Well the Rangers are going to see Kevin Shattenkirk at MSG tonight. Except he will be in a Caps jersey. Certainly the ironic twist to a sure-thing, isn’t it? But here we are. The Rangers did get Brendan Smith, but he’s likely not going to make it to New York in time for tonight’s game.

Aside from the trade deadline shenanigans, there is a hockey game to be played. The Rangers have recalled Steven Kampfer, as Dan Girardi is joining Kevin Klein in Club Walking Wounded. Washington appears to be the team to beat right now, and their lineup is ridiculously stacked. But they are without a few forwards. So hey, that’s good.

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Photo by David Hahn/Icon Sportswire

The Rangers have played three overtime games in a row, winning two and getting a possible five of six points. Today they take on Columbus in an attempt to possibly avoid the extra period. That said, the Rangers are now on the second of a back-to-back, and the third in four nights. They also have a game Tuesday night against Washington. That’s a lot of hockey.

As for the Blue Jackets, they are also on the second of a back-to-back, having completely dismantled the Islanders last night. Maybe they got all of their scoring out of the way in that game. This is a potential playoff matchup, so while many want the Rangers to ensure they get that top wild card seed, don’t expect the Rangers to just roll over.

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Game 61: Nobody likes Jersey anyway

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jesper fast

Ed Mulholland/USA Today Sports, via Reuters

The Rangers are in the middle of a tough run in the schedule right now. Today’s game against the Devils is their fourth in seven nights, and the first of a back-to-back, a three-in-four, and a four-in-six. And of all these games, only one comes against a non-playoff team, and that’s today. That’s a lot of hockey for any team. Luckily for the Rangers, they are also locked into the playoffs barring an epic collapse.

While today’s game is one of division rivals, the focus is on the trade deadline. The Rangers are highly interested in a pair of defensemen – Kevin Shattenkirk and Brendan Smith. Both deals –not individually, they need both to happen– make the Rangers a legitimate Cup contender. But no one knows if the Rangers are going to pull off both moves.

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rangers leafs mika zibanejad

The Rangers are in Toronto tonight, taking on a very potent Leafs team that has some solid scoring talent. The Rangers caught a break, as Mitch Marner is not in the lineup, but the Leafs are still one of the better offensive teams in the league. They are certainly high-event, like the Rangers, so this should be a back and forth type of game.

Alain Vigneault made one lineup change, subbing in Brandon Pirri for Pavel Buchnevich. The goal is to jump-start the powerplay, which has been in a slump lately. It also helps to get Pirri some game time, since he hasn’t played all month. It’s a switch that doesn’t move the needle much for one game, but certainly has fans up in arms.

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Game 60: Likely first round matchup

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rangers canadiens

Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP

The Rangers have won seven of eight, and are now hosting their likely first round opponent in Montreal tonight. Montreal is fresh off a coaching change, swapping out Michel Therrien for Claude Julien. That’s a major upgrade for them.

It’s tough to predict how Julien’s Habs are going to play, but looking at the lineups it appears the Rangers probably have the edge on paper. The Habs are certainly a top-heavy flawed team being carried by their goaltender, much like Rangers teams of the past. I honestly don’t remember any time where Lundqvist vs. Price turned into a goalie showdown. Would love to see one.

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