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Brassard has the mumps, sent home from club

So I missed this today, but Derick Brassard has been sent home from the road trip and will not partake in team activities after being diagnosed with the mumps. Tanner Glass replaced him in the lineup tonight.

Game 28: Build momentum in Edmonton

Photo by Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images

Photo by Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images

After a convincing 5-1 win last night in Vancouver, the Rangers are in Edmonton to take on the woeful Oilers. The Oilers are 1-8-1 in their last ten, but somehow managed to beat our Rangers at MSG last month. So despite their terrible record and the fact that they hemorrhage goals, they have enough talent to put together good games. Considering the offensive outburst last night, it’s expected that there won’t be any lineup changes.

On the forecheck the Oilers run an aggressive spread 2-1-2. The Oilers also play a man-on-man, zone defense hybrid depending on puck location. On special teams, they run a 1-3-1 power play and rotate between a box and diamond penalty kill depending on puck location.

Rangers lineup:

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Rangers roll through Canucks with offensive outburst

Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images

Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images

The New York Rangers started off their western road trip with an incredibly convincing 5-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks last night.  The Rangers blitzed the Canucks for five straight goals, including the first three of the game in a four-minute span. The Canucks gave the Rangers way too much room int he neutral zone, and the Rangers took every inch of ice given to them, gaining a boatload of carry-in zone entries.

The Rangers constantly turned that neutral zone open ice into odd-man rushes and goals, with the Canucks defense also picking inopportune times to pinch, resulting in more odd-man rushes. Give the Rangers credit, they capitalized on almost all of their prime opportunities, which ended this game very quickly.

Sorry this part of the post is light, but I’m starting to get delirious. On to the goals:

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Game 27: Lines shaken up in Vancouver

alain-vigneault-canucks

The New York Rangers have shaken up their lines for tonight’s late night extravaganza against the Vancouver Canucks. Tanner Glass is out, Chris Kreider is on the fourth line, and J.T. Miller will be on the second line with Martin St. Louis and Derek Stepan. We’ve been calling for Glass to sit for a while, so let’s hope it pays immediate dividends.

On the forecheck, the Canucks employ an overload 1-2-2, which is what the Rangers run. They also play a man-on-man defense depending on puck location. On special teams, they run a 1-3-1 power play and rotate between a box and diamond penalty kill depending on puck location.The Sedin twins have really clicked with Radim Vrbata for a very potent top line, and Nick Bonino –acquired in the Ryan Kesler trade– is slotting in nicely on the second line. Ex-Ranger Derek Dorsett has a line of 4-6-10, not bad.

Rangers lineup:

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Streaky Kreider in midst of a slump

Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images

Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images

In case you missed it yesterday, Chris Kreider skated on the fourth line with Dominic Moore and Jesper Fast, signaling that the winger’s continued lack of production is starting to catch the coaching staff’s ire. Kreider is certainly having an off-year thus far, with just 13 points (4-9-13) through 24 games. While that isn’t too far off his pace last year (13-20-37 in 66 games), the issue is a bit beyond his point pace.

Kreider hasn’t scored in 11 games, and has just 3 assists in that span. Considering his top-six minutes, primarily with Derek Stepan and Martin St. Louis, that’s a pretty bad slump. Kreider is shooting about 3% below his career average at the moment, with no goals on his last 19 shots.

The good news is that Kreider is still on the positive side of the puck possession arrow (50.8% CF), but that is in 56% offensive zone starts. His QoT is in the top-six on the team in terms of ice time, which is expected. However, Kreider is tops on the team in terms of linemate CF% at 52.6%.

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Lineup notes: Kreider to fourth line, Glass a healthy scratch?

Per the Rangers Twitter, Tanner Glass was skating with Matt Hunwick as the extra skaters at practice. Chris Kreider has been moved to the fourth line with Dominic Moore and Jesper Fast. That likely means J.T. Miller has moved up in the lineup to play top-nine minutes, presumably with Kevin Hayes and Lee Stempniak. Derek Stepan and Martin St. Louis, where he excelled last game.

The odd career arc of Marc Staal

Staal

Marc Staal has been a polarizing player for the New York Rangers this year. A pending free agent with a $3.975 cap hit, the Rangers are facing a critical decision involving another core piece –their third decision to make in two years. On one side of the coin, the Rangers can re-sign Staal, who is looking at a contract rivaling Dan Girardi’s deal (six years, $5.5 million per). On the other side of the coin, the Rangers can trade him, like they did with former captain Ryan Callahan.

On the surface, it’s not an easy decision to make. Trading Staal would mean that the entire leadership core from last season (Cally, Staal, Brad Richards) will have departed. However, Staal’s play has seriously regressed since the concussion and freak eye injury. Or at least, that’s what it seems. Staal has had a very weird career arc.

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Rangers approaching important stretch of the schedule

The Rangers have had a light schedule the past week and change or so. Now, they begin a stretch of six games in ten days leading up to Christmas. It starts with a west coast swing though Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary before heading back east for a home and home with lowly Carolina and finally finishing up against the Caps at the Garden. This stretch is going to be incredibly important, both in the standings and beginning to start to figure out how good this team actually is.

It’s been talked to death, but the beginning of this season was marred by significant injuries to multiple key players. A combination of injury fill-ins and guys playing out of their ideal roles have masked the talent level in relation to performance. Now, with guys starting to get healthy, we need to get a look at the defending Eastern Conference Champions for the first time, 25 games into the season. Read more »

BSB FanDuel: 12/11

Here is the info for today’s FanDuel league: Sign up here, the league link is here.

For those unfamiliar, you are given $55,000 to construct a team of 2 LW, 2 RW, 2 C, 2 D, and 1 G. The goal is to find some good bargains (my advice is to save money on defense and spend big on offense) and save money for some stars you know will put up points. High fantasy points per game (FPG) with low cost is a good way to go, but look for streaks as well.

Rotowire has a lineup optimizer, as does DangleFactory. They are good resources if this intrigues you, or you’re new to daily fantasy sports.

As always, if the league fills up before you can get in, let me know in the comments. I leave the league size at 10 people for now to ensure it fills up. If there is more interest, I will expand the size as this continues.

Thursday musings: Klein, Nash, injuries, and more

It's just an ear, he has two of them.

It’s just an ear, he has two of them.

It’s been a dead two weeks in Rangerland lately. The schedule is the reason behind this, as the Rangers played games on 11/29 and 12/1, followed by four days off. They then repeated the Saturday/Monday games with another four days off. Four games over a span of two weeks means significant rest. Considering how banged up the Rangers have been all season, this was a good time to get that rest.

You guys know me, I’m a fan of my bullet points for musings, so here we go.

  • Despite dealing with major injuries throughout the start of the year, the Rangers have emerged as one of the top-four teams in the Metropolitan Division. I expect them to finish in the top-three, behind the Penguins and the Islanders (who are for real). Washington has actually started to play defense for the first time in recent memory, so they could be a surprise. After that, the Devils have the same old issues as last year: Can’t score, despite fantastic possession numbers.

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