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Weekly Preview: To Tank or Not To Tank?

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The Rangers are 2-0 since releasing the memo and waving a symbolic white flag on the season.  Professional athletes are proud people however, and the Rangers responded by playing four pretty good periods out of their next six.  They largely deserved Friday night’s win over Calgary, and Henrik Lundqvist did his thing in Winnipeg, carrying the Rangers to a second straight victory.

Yesterday, the one and only @HockeyStatMiner posted this:

The schedule ahead, in terms of opponent’s record, isn’t exactly difficult.  It is conceivable that the Rangers head into the trade deadline on a bit of a run, which would be something.  But first things first, let’s take a look at the week ahead.

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The Rangers’ west coast swing has opened with a thud.  The undermanned Blueshirts lost 3-1 to the Avalanche on Saturday, then fell to the Kings last night 4-2.  The team was lethargic in Denver, and while last night’s effort was a bit more spirited, the process (NYR were badly out-attempted and out-chanced in both games) and results were bad.

As Dave mentioned earlier today, all of the signals are there that the front office is lining up the pieces to sell at the deadline.  And yet, this is the Rangers, so we’ll see.

In any event, the Blueshirts have two more games out west before the weeklong All-Star Break.  Before we get to the Skills Competition with a side of Kid Rock, let’s take a quick look at the next two opponents.

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Apologies, loyal readers, if the attitude of the BSB staff seems particularly dour right now.  But it’s pretty clear why that is: the New York Rangers have given us nothing to get excited about.

Recent results have been demonstrably mediocre, and the on-ice process has been horrid.  The Rangers, who have not won a game in regulation since December 19 at home against Anaheim, now find themselves in a pickle for playoff positioning.  Here are the Metropolitan Division and Wild Card Standings, as of Monday January 15.

Metropolitan Division Standings – January 15, 2018

Wild Card Standings – January 15, 2018

The Rangers begin the week with two games on home ice, before hitting the road for a four-game west coast road trip.  Let’s take a quick look at this week’s slate of games.

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MSG until Saturday

Good news folks: there’s no Rangers hockey until Saturday, so we get to look at Michael Grabner’s Bahamas vacation and not Paul Carey on the second line. Sadly, eventually Saturday will come. Let’s look at the Metro standings:

Metro Standings as of 1/8/18


Wild Card as of 1/8/18

Far be it for someone who’s #neverplayedthegame to state why the Rangers aren’t picking up easy points, but only picking up two points last week is clearly hurting them now. Not fancy stats. Not shot attempts. Actual Points.

When the Rangers come back from their hard-earned vacation, they’ll have two Metropolitan Division matches. Let’s take a look.

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Memories.. light the corners of my mind

Coming off the heels of another great outdoor win, the Rangers only have three games that separate them from their week-long break. They also only have three more games until the effective halfway point of their season, as Saturday’s melee in Vegas will be their 42nd game of the year. Time flies, folks.

As we do, let’s take a look at the ever-so-tight Division Standings along with the Wild Card picture:

Metro Division, January 2 2018

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Weekly Preview: A Potpourri of Opponents

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mats zuccarello

The Rangers have a lighter week than last, playing two home games and one on the “road”: road being in quotation marks as Newark is historically heavily Ranger-land. With a brief reprise from a hectic week, the Rangers don’t have to think about a back-to-back until the new year.

This week features an array of opponents from different divisions: one Pacific (ANA), one Metropolitan rival (NJD), and one Atlantic (TOR). As always, let’s take a look at the Metro and the Rangers playoff standings (as of Sunday afternoon):

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Your Friday Night Matchup

As mentioned last week, and as will be likely be mentioned every week until April, the Metropolitan Division is tighter than Ron Duguay’s blazers. Despite a divisional matchup week last week for the Rangers, there hasn’t been much movement going on either way, so the Rangers just need to keep their heads up and win win win.

Here’s what the Divison standings look like as of Sunday night:

The Rangers are still shy of the playoffs, but certainly not out of the picture entirely – surprisngly, nobody really is with the division being separated by only ten points. The Rangers have four games this week, starting tonight, against mostly subpar opponents. The question will be whether they can cash in on easier games. The second question is if Henrik Lundqvist will play every game (my vote’s on yes).

Let’s take a look at the opponents.

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The Rangers won’t be seeing this face

The Rangers enter another week of work with just three games, two on the road, but both within 400 miles of the bright lights of Broadway. The Rangers will be facing divisional rivals, first in Pittsburgh, then in Washington, and finally the Devils… and these are not the matchups that we’re used to in years past.

The Metropolitan Division is extraordinarily tight, with the top six teams separated by only five points. Of course, only about a third of the way through the season is not the ideal time to discuss playoff seeding, but it’s likely that this will be a nail biter all the way through April. Here are the standings as of last night:

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Weekly Preview: win another two at home

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Photo Credit: Chris Seward

The Rangers are doing whatever is necessary to rake out two points each game lately, at times more theatrically than others. At the same time, they’re seemingly investing heavily in high blood pressure medication for their fans, which has become a requirement. The past two games have taught us that this team is magical at the Garden… magical in that they pull wins out of nowhere.

This week is relatively quiet, with games only tonight and Friday, and can help launch the Rangers higher in the rankings of a tight Metropolitan Division. As of Tuesday morning, the Metropolitan looks like this:

Listen: both of the games this week are easily winnable. Easily. In fact, the Rangers have already beaten both of these teams, and scored 11 goals between those two games. We aren’t in “must win” territory anymore, but it’d be silly not to win these.

On to the games:

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McDavid has been a one man show in Edmonton so far.

Folks, we finally have a winning streak.  Last week, the Rangers took care of an expansion Vegas team on its fourth-string goalie (though they needed a late comeback effort to do it), and then swept the always-difficult Florida road trip.  While none of the games were perfect, the team’s process has been noticeably better since the third period of last Tuesday’s game against the Golden Knights.

This week, the Rangers continue what’s been a home-heavy early season schedule, with home games against Columbus, Boston and Edmonton.  The Garden has hardly been a fortress so far, with the Blueshirts posting a mediocre 4-4-2 record.  Despite success on the road in recent seasons, it would behoove the Rangers improve their home form, as the schedule will obviously include more road games than home games moving forward.

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