Nov
17

Game 20: Brendan Smith returns, hopefully plays better

November 17, 2017, by · Comments (46)

rangers blue jackets ryan mcdonagh brandon dubinsky

The Rangers are in Columbus tonight to take on the very potent Blue Jackets, who are a threat to win the Metro this year. The Blueshirts just had their six game win streak snapped, so Alain Vigneault deemed it the right time to get the optimal lineup dressed. So Brendan Smith will return tonight, and Steven Kampfer will sit.

The story will be on how the Rangers rebound after an atrocious third period against Chicago. The slot area was basically free for the Hawks as they tacked on three goals in five minutes, all from that area. For the Rangers to win, they will need to be better at team defense. It’s not on any particular player anymore, it’s on the team and on the coach to figure stuff out.

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Categories : Game Thread
Comments (46)
Nov
17

Defensive struggles overshadow Rangers offensive abilities

November 17, 2017, by · Comments (8)
pavel buchnevich chris kreider

Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac/AP

The Rangers are a weird team. From the players to the coaches to the GM, they are both great and terrible at the same time. The good news it that we can begin to quantify things this year, as 20 games is usually when we can begin seeing what the Rangers truly are, where they will improve, and where they might be over achieving.

Total Rank
GF 35 13
GA 42 28
SH% 7.76% 16
SV% 90.81% 27

*-All stats are at even strength.

Let’s get the easy stuff out of the way. Based on just raw goal totals, the Rangers a horrendous defensively and league average offensively, at least at even strength. However just looking at goals for and against doesn’t tell the whole story.

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Categories : Analysis
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Nov
17

Some quick Friday thoughts

November 17, 2017, by · Comments (63)

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Happy Friday, BSB faithful!  Through more or less the quarter season mark, it has been the tale of two campaigns for the Rangers thus far: the tire fire first twelve games, which saw the Blueshirts go 3-7-2 and the much improved last seven games, when they went 6-1-0.  The Rangers have jumped back into the playoff picture with the win streak, so naturally, I have some thoughts…

1. As Dave has mentioned several times, the need for another center (or forward depth in general) just isn’t going away.  Mika Zibanejad has been a revelation and Kevin Hayes has been a much more effective 2C than I would have imagined.  However, for this team to actually contend, they need to be able to create matchup headaches lower in the lineup. Read More→

Nov
16

Lettieri nets seventh goal of year in Pack OT loss

November 16, 2017, by · Comments (4)

Bridgeport Sound Tigers 2, Hartford Wolf Pack 1 (OT)

By Ben Harff

Hartford, CT, November 15, 2017 – Despite two scoreless periods to start the game, fans still got to see plenty of action between the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and the Hartford Wolf Pack Wednesday night at the XL Center, in a game the Sound Tigers won 2-1 in overtime.

Devon Toews’ second goal of the game made winners of the Sound Tigers with 4.3 seconds left in the extra session.
Both goalies were nearly perfect, allowing only one goal each in regulation. Alexandar Georgiev got the start for the Pack, stopping 27 shots. Meanwhile, Christopher Gibson started for the Tigers and stopped 35 shots. Both goalies were assisted heavily by their respective team’s defense and several blocked shots on each side.

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Categories : AHL
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Nov
16

Why You Shouldn’t Always Yell “Shoot the Puck!”

November 16, 2017, by · Comments (9)

It is a rite of passage as a hockey fan to desperately scream “Shoot the puck!” at the team you root for.  It’s heard in arenas, bars and living rooms the world over, and why not?  After all, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.  Getting the puck to the net is never a bad play.  Insert hockey cliche here.  

Last night during the Rangers/Blackhawks game, Eddie Olczyk (who is currently battling colon cancer, and working for NBC Sports during his 24-weeks of chemotherapy – get well, Edzo!) pointed out several 2-on-1 chances for the Rangers that didn’t result in a shot on goal.  On the surface, this seems both insane and infuriating.  But if you’ve watched the Rangers closely, especially in the Alain Vigneault era, you know that this isn’t necessarily something new.

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Categories : Hockey Tactics
Comments (9)
Nov
16

Sloppy third period ends Rangers win streak at six

November 16, 2017, by · Comments (42)

AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

Henrik Lundqvist and Corey Crawford were the stories of the first 40 minutes in what was actually a fast paced game. The Rangers got on the board early with a Mika Zibanejad goal, and looked to be rolling. It was Crawford who made some stellar stops to keep the Hawks in it.

In the second period, it was Hank’s turn to keep his team in it. He made multiple brilliant saves to preserve a 1-0 lead, until an Alex Debrincat shot snuck though his wickets before the period ended.

Then the third came. Within five minutes it was 4-1 Hawks and Hank was resting. There were multiple defensive breakdowns, as all three goals came from the slot area. And the win streak was snapped.

On to the goals.

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Categories : Game Wrap-ups
Comments (42)
Nov
15

Game 19: Lucky 7’s

November 15, 2017, by · Comments (65)

AP Photo/Julie Jacobson

The Rangers are in Chicago for “Wednesday Night Rivalry” night against their bitter Blackhawks rival that they play twice a year and haven’t seen in the playoffs since there were 50 states in the Union (I don’t know if that’s true or not). That’s a very long winded way of saying the Rangers have a chance to extend their win streak to seven games.

Chicago is a weird team. They are very top heavy, but lack the depth and defense to be a legitimate contender. They also lack cap space to make moves, thanks to $23 million invested in Toews and Kane. They are a beatable team, but still potent. The defense will be tested.

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Categories : Game Thread
Comments (65)
Nov
15

Kevin Hayes is actually good

November 15, 2017, by · Comments (87)

One of the more polarizing players on the Rangers is Kevin Hayes. Hayes is viewed as an inconsistent center who “is not good defensively” and “lazy” by some. Others see Hayes as a talented middle-six center who plays a balanced game. The reality is the latter, not the former.

After an impressive rookie campaign, Hayes had what was perceived as a down year in 2015-2016. He followed that up with a strong third year in New York, recording career highs in assists (32) and points (49) while tying his career high in goals (17). The team rewarded his season and improvement with the 2C role following the Derek Stepan trade.

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Categories : Players
Comments (87)
Nov
14

There’s always room for improvement

November 14, 2017, by · Comments (37)

brendan smith

In case you missed it, the Rangers have won six in a row and have stormed back into relevancy for this year’s NHL season. They’ve done it on the backs of the KZB line, balanced secondary/tertiary scoring, and a Henrik Lundqvist that is giving the middle finger to his doubters. What they haven’t done, though, is optimize the lineup and improve where there are clear improvements to be made.

It’s no coincidence that the winning streak started when Alain Vigneault stopped with the silliness of dressing eleven forwards and seven defensemen. That was one improvement that helped turn the team around (a regression to the mean for SH% is also a primary catalyst for this as well). But one thing to note, something that applies to life as well as sports, is that bad decisions may net good results sometimes in the short term, but in the long run will lead to bad results.

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Categories : Players
Comments (37)
Nov
14

Can Patrik Virta Push for an NHL Spot?

November 14, 2017, by · Comments (8)

As most of you know, one of the main hobbies I have regarding hockey is creating visuals for other leagues. Prior to this year I have been mostly focusing on North America and Russia but I will now be seeping into most other leagues. While doing my research to try to get the most information possible, I truly became a big fan of the New York Rangers’ 7th round pick Patrik Virta.

For the new readers, Virta is a buzzsaw type player, he gets in on the forecheck and is defensively responsible. Over the last couple of years, he also began to generate points as well. Seen as a good playmaker mostly from behind the net given his adept forechecking ability Virta also has a pretty strong shot that has been used on the PP.

Overall he has been growing as a player and the Rangers felt it would be worth drafting his rights before other people can sign him. One other thing about Patrik Virta, he is becoming an absolute possession monster and given that he is 21 years old, Virta may be pushing for a roster spot sooner than we may expect from a 7th rounder.

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Categories : Prospects
Comments (8)