Archive for Game Thread

Feb
26

Game 60: Beat a bad Arizona team

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The New York Rangers, winners of their last three, 7-1-2 in their last ten, and 26-6-2 in their last 34, take on a pretty terrible Arizona Coyotes team that is entering full scale fire sale mode. The Yotes haven’t made any trades yet, but they will. GM Don Maloney said no one on the team is untouchable, except for Shane Doan of course. The Yotes have lost seven in a row. They are not a good team. Their goaltending stinks, the team can’t score, and they don’t drive puck possession. That’s the trifecta right there.

As for the Rangers, a win tonight puts them in a virtual tie for first with the Isles, but the Rangers have a few games in hand on their rival. Of course, since today’s game is against a bad team that has significant playoff implications, this is another one of those quintessential trap games. The Rangers have done well in these kinds of games before though.

What have they done lately?

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Feb
24

Game 59: Keep it going against Calgary

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The New York Rangers are back in action tonight, taking on the surprising Calgary Flames who, and I can’t believe these words are coming out of my mouth this late in the season, are still in the playoff hunt. With 68 points through 59 games, the Flames are tied with the Kings for fourth in the Pacific Division, but LA has one game in hand. The Flames are also one point behind Minnesota for the second wild card spot. I’m not the only one hoping one of Calgary, Minnesota, or San Jose (68 points) goes on a run to ensure the Kings miss the playoffs, but that’s besides the point.

As for the Rangers, well they aren’t doing too shabby at the moment. They are 25-6-2 over their last 33 games. That’s right, 25-6-2, despite what the underlying numbers say. It is truly amazing, but I’m still cautiously optimistic. A win tonight would put them in a virtual tie for first place with the Isles, but the Isles take on Arizona tonight, so a win will likely just help them keep pace.

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The New York Rangers are back at MSG tonight to take on the Columbus Blue Jackets, looking to make it two in a row, both against the Blue Jackets and overall, having beaten the Buffalo Sabres on Friday night. The Blue Jackets have been completely decimated by injuries this season, and really aren’t as bad as their record. I think they’ve lost about 300 man games to injury, something to that effect.

The biggest injury they’ve had to deal with is Sergei Bobrovsky, who has missed about half the season with different injuries. That means Curtis McElhinney is in net for the Jackets, and while solid, he’s not the best backup in the world. Of course, Cam Talbot is in for the injured Henrik Lundqvist, but I’ll give the edge to the Rangers here. This is one of those games that the Rangers need to win to keep pace with the Isles, Pens, and Caps, who were/are all in action.

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Feb
20

Game 57: Rebound in Buffalo

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The New York Rangers are in Buffalo tonight to take on the woeful Sabres. This game is actually a makeup game from November 21, when Buffalo became Siberia for a few weeks. The Rangers lost in a shootout last night to the Vancouver Canucks in their second straight poor defensive showing. In fact, the Rangers have allowed three or more goals in six of their last seven games. This is in part due to the Henrik Lundqvist injury, but the defense isn’t doing Cam Talbot any favors.

The Sabres are the worst team in the league, and it’s not even close. This should be a good rebound game and a chance for the Rangers to turn one of their games in hand on Washington, Pittsburgh, and the Islanders into two points. With the Rangers five points back with three games in hand, this is a critical game if the Rangers want a realistic chance of winning the division.

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Feb
19

Game 56: Continue the winning streak against Vancouver

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The New York Rangers are back at MSG tonight to take on the Vancouver Canucks, looking to extend their winning streak to five games in a row. The Rangers have really stepped it up a notch without Henrik Lundqvist, putting up at least five goals in their last four games, and going 5-1-1 with Talbot in net (6-1-1 in February).  They haven’t all been pretty, but they’ve been wins.

Wins, of course, are the most important aspect of this game. The Rangers need to keep pace with the Isles and the Penguins (and ahead of the Caps) to avoid that dreaded wild card spot. Tonight’s game is the first of six in a row against mediocre or bad teams, so –hopefully– this game continues a streak of W’s. Of course, the argument can be made that all of these are trap games, but let’s stay positive.

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Well this sure was an entertaining game. The New York Rangers overcame three separate two-goal leads and scored three straight goals in the third period to beat the New York Islanders for the first time this season by a score of 6-5. Both Cam Talbot and Jaroslav Halak put on a clinic of how not to goalie, allowing a couple of weak goals a piece. But both goalies also made some big saves, so there’s that.

Ryan McDonagh scored twice for the first time in his career. Derek Stepan had a goal and two assists. Martin St. Louis, Chris Kreider, and Kevin Klein –who scored the game winner, Mr. Clutch– all added a goal and an assist.

This was an absolutely wild game with the Isles scoring 11 seconds in, getting three separate two goal leads, only to have the Rangers come back from each one of them. Then the Rangers just said, you know what, we want to win, and scored three straight as Isles fans chanted “You can’t beat us.” That’s always fun.

On to the goals:

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The New York Rangers are winner of three in a row against teams that are not making the playoffs, but now are on Long Island to take on the New York Islanders to try and at least win one game against them this season. The Isles have owned the Rangers this season, going 3-0 in games that weren’t really close, with the Isles winning by three goals each time (6-3, 3-0, 4-1). The Isles are a lot like the Lightning –who also own the Rangers– in that they are young, incredibly skilled, and patched up a lot of holes this offseason.

The Isles now roll four lines without fear, and have 2 1/2 solid pairs on defense. Jaro Halak has solidified the net, and made the Isles into the Metropolitan Division leading team they are today. However, the Rangers are within four points, and a win tonight puts them within two points with two games in hand. Suffice it to say, if the Rangers want to win the division, a win tonight is critical.

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The New York Rangers tonight are in Glendale to take on the Arizona Coyotes, as they look to make it three in a row against pretty bad teams. The issue though, is that the Rangers, while still putting up W’s, aren’t really playing that well. Yea, they beat Colorado, and they beat Toronto, but both of those wins were ugly, especially that Toronto win. Better teams beat the Rangers in those games, luckily the ‘Yotes aren’t a better team.

Simply put, the Coyotes can’t score at all, and their goaltending has been horrific. The goalie with the best SV% for the ‘Yotes is now with the Minnesota Wild (Devan Dubnyk), while the Wild suffer through a .897 SV% with Mike Smith. That’s not just horrific, that’s worse than backup horrific. Only the Sabres have allowed more goals (Oilers are tied with the ‘Yotes), and only the Sabres, Devils, and Hurricanes have scored fewer goals. Simply put, this team is quite terrible.

So naturally, this is a trap game.

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After barely squeaking out a win in Toronto, the Rangers are in Denver tonight to take on the Colorado Avalanche. The Avs sit in last place in the Central Division after making the playoffs last season. This isn’t that surprising, as most #fancystats folks predicted a monumental fall from grace, which was followed up by multiple humorous attempts to grab their first round pick.

Despite being a bottom feeder, the Avs have a scary amount of high-end offensive talent that can make you pay if you’re lazy. The issue with the Avs is with their defense and depth. Outside of that offensive talent, they don’t have much depth in their forward ranks. Their defense is questionable at best. Semyon Varlamov prevents a lot of goals though.

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Feb
10

Game 52: Easy stretch starts in Toronto

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The New York Rangers have a stretch of three games against pretty easy opponents, and the first of them is the Toronto Maple Leafs. Of course, it’s funny because the Rangers have lost twice to Toronto, but it’s all about when you play your opponent. The Leafs were off to a ridiculously hot start and the Rangers were off to a slow start. Both losses came before the Rangers basically won December.

It was right around that time that the Leafs fired Randy Carlyle and promoted Peter Horachek to interim head coach. The Leafs haven’t scored under Horachek. but they’ve played much better defense. Of course, they’ve been pretty god awful in that stretch. Before the win against Edmonton, the Leafs had lost 11 (!!!) in a row, with one coming in a shootout. Eleven losses in which they scored just 11 goals, getting shutout four times as well. Yeesh.

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