Archive for Playoffs


Rangers vs. Senators: Systems preview

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alain vigneault

The second round matchup is now set, as the Rangers will take on the Ottawa Senators in the Atlantic Division Final. The Sens closed out the Bruins in overtime last night, setting the stage for Game One in Ottawa this week. The Senators are going to pose a problem for the Rangers, as they have some pretty solid team speed and skill.

The last time these two teams faced off in the playoffs was in 2012, with the Rangers winning in seven games. Both teams are completely different now, so there isn’t much to go on from that series. While the Senators certainly do not have the forward depth to match the Blueshirts, they have a good amount of speed and skill throughout the lineup. Erik Karlsson looms large as well. They play very well and are a disciplined team under Guy Boucher.

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Categories : Hockey Tactics, Playoffs
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Thoughts before Game 6

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rick nash

Photo: Jim McIsaac/Newsday

We all know what happened the other night in Montreal, and we all know what we hope happens tonight at the Garden – I figured instead of a post stretching one thought out for too long I’d just hit you guys with some scattered thoughts before tomorrow’s game.

  • The Rangers really need to come out and play a full 60 minutes tomorrow night. They turned it on in the latter portions of Game 5, but for a while there Hank had to bail them out. Montreal is going to be playing desperate hockey, and the Rangers are going to need to counter that with a complete effort, because even taking their foot off the gas slightly will give Montreal all the opportunity they need to set up and attempt to alter the course of the game.

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Categories : Playoffs
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Thoughts heading into a pivotal Game Five

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chris kreider

Photo Credit: AP / Graham Hughes

The Rangers played their best game of the 2017 calendar year on Tuesday night, evening the series in the process. But now the series turns back to Montreal for a critical Game Five for both clubs. The Rangers are going to try to play the same way they did in Game Four. The Canadiens are probably going to adjust to prevent just that. Naturally, I have some thoughts.

1. Game Five is going to come down to coaching. Claude Julien is going to adjust. He’s going to ensure the Rangers don’t have as much time in the offensive zone. My guess is he’s going to have his defensemen attend to stand up at the blue line, stopping the zone entry and forcing a soft dump to Carey Price to handle. Alain Vigneault’s ability to adjust to Julien’s adjustments will have a huge impact. The most important thing for the Rangers is to continue to gain the zone with speed through the neutral zone.

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Categories : Playoffs
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alain vigneault

After a Game 3 that was embarrassing at every level, the Rangers pulled a complete 180 and played the best game we’ve seen them play in quite some time in Game 4. The score showed a close 2-1 game, but the Rangers controlled play in the final two periods. From an execution standpoint, they did everything right.

Aside from everything mentioned in the goal breakdown, the Rangers had a strong showing on the stat sheet too. Only three players sat below a 50% CF% last night: Jimmy Vesey, Dan Girardi, and Ryan McDonagh. That’s not to say that trio had bad games, it’s more that the whole team was able to keep the puck in the Montreal zone.

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Categories : Playoffs
Comments (102)
kevin klein rick nash mats zuccarello

Photo: Jim McIsaac/Newsday

I spend most of my posts talking about the Rangers’ prospects, but one thing has been eating me alive for the last year and a half. After being blessed by an incredible 2014 team, the New York Rangers seemed poised to become a Stanley Cup contender for the next few years. While I question some decisions made, that 2014 team still had a great 2015 campaign.

But then, all of a sudden, it all just seemed off. There was and still is something missing while watching our boys in blue. For a team that became one of the more successful teams of the decade –with much of it’s core playing more playoff games than most other teams– they seem to be lacking a certain oomph that makes organizations successful. This applies to both the players and the management, for all of the success these men have seen they still seem to have not learned from their experience.

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Categories : Playoffs
Comments (116)

pavel buchnevich

Per Dan Rosen, Pavel Buchnevich is skating on the top-six with Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider. That line is also skating on the top powerplay with Ryan McDonagh and Mats Zuccarello. This is a good indication that Buchnevich will be skating in Game 4, likely at the expense of Tanner Glass. Buch gives the Rangers a must needed skill and goal scoring boost. The full lines:

Jimmy Vesey-Derek Stepan-Rick Nash
JT Miller-Kevin Hayes-Mats Zuccarello
Michael Grabner-Oscar Lindberg-Jesper Fast

Nick Holden is back with Marc Staal, so it’s likely he plays Game 4 as well. Probably over Kevin Klein. But at least the forward lines look great.

Categories : Lineup Changes, Playoffs
Comments (28)
brady skjei henrik lundqvist

Photo: Jim McIsaac/Newsday

Last night’s loss was the worst playoff game the Rangers have played at home in quite some time. I put this as worse than any game against Pittsburgh last year, and even worse than the Tampa games in 2015. Why, you ask? Simple: Tampa and Pittsburgh were good, deep teams. Montreal is not good and is not deep. They have top-end talent, but their depth is terrible. The Rangers should at least be generating chances, which they are not. As usual, I have some thoughts.

1. I know I spend a lot of time harping on the defense, but every forward not named Rick Nash should be ashamed of themselves. You know what. I’ll even throw Tanner Glass into that mix as well. He was better than expected. But you’re telling me that this group of forwards, against that awful back line, couldn’t generate any scoring chances? Carey Price could have taken a nap in net and probably would have only allowed the one goal. There was no forecheck. No controlled zone entries. Missed passes by a mile. Missed fundamental plays. Lazy shots. No driving to the net. Nothing. That’s inexcusable.

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Categories : Playoffs
Comments (152)

The New York Rangers were 17 seconds away from grabbing a 2-0 stranglehold on their opening round series with the Montreal Canadiens, but the Stanley Cup Playoffs are rarely so straightforward.  Tomas Plekanec scored a late equalizer to send the game to overtime, and Alexander Radulov won it for the Habs in the first overtime period to tie the series at 1-1.

The Rangers were the masters of their own demise, playing an extremely tentative third period while holding a 3-2 lead, seemingly inviting pressure from the desperate hosts.  Rather than staying aggressive on the forecheck and holding onto possession – two things the Rangers had excelled in doing to start the series – the team chose a more conservative route, icing the puck constantly and rarely threatening Carey Price’s net.  Needless to say, the strategy backfired. Read More→

Categories : Game Wrap-ups, Playoffs
Comments (181)

Thoughts prior to Game 2

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Montreal Gazette

To the surprise of many, the Rangers went out and stole game one against the Canadiens at the Bell Centre on Wednesday night, shutting out the Habs 2-0 on the back of the ever so rare Tanner Glass goal and turn-back-the-clock brilliance from Henrik Lundqvist. With game two looming this evening, I have some thoughts on game one and where the team goes from here…

1. Forgive me for beating a dead horse, but the performance of the defense was nowhere near what is necessary to get past this round. Nick Holden was abysmal. I would like to see Clendening in for him, but honestly, I think I would take Klein over what I saw from Holden Wednesday night. Read More→

Categories : Musings, Playoffs
Comments (66)
derek stepan

Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire

The waiting is over. The 2017 playoffs have begun. The Rangers open in Montreal to take on a Canadiens team that has played significantly better under Claude Julien. We’ve spent the entire week breaking down this matchup, you can check all those posts here. But for all the analysis, all the breakdowns, it’s execution on the ice that matters most.

The Rangers are going to need to stay out of the box and do a much better job forechecking and maintaining sustained offense to have a chance in this series. Carey Price is probably the best in the game at the current moment. Henrik Lundqvist is going to have to be just as good, especially with the sizable advantage the Habs have on the blue line.

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Categories : Game Thread, Playoffs
Comments (67)