Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
The San Jose Sharks, one of the leagues better teams, came to The Garden yesterday on the heels of back-to-back and three-in-four nights. Regardless of the fatigue factor (all teams have stretches like that), the Rangers put on a dominating performance, blanking the Sharks 4-0 and taking advantage of some critical defensive mistakes. Alex Stalock, who had been solid in net for San Jose, had rebound control all game and got burned on a pair of them.
Kevin Hayes notched his first NHL goal, Carl Hagelin and Martin St. Louis notched their first goals of the year, and Rick Nash continued on his hot start to provide the offense for the Rangers. Henrik Lundqvist made 33 saves as he appears to have regained his form after a slow start. After three losses in a row, the Rangers have won two straight to put them back to .500.
On to the goals:
Read more »
Almost every prospect was in action over the weekend. The Hartford Wolf Pack went 1-0-1 to stay unbeaten in regulation to start the season. The Pack beat Portland 2-1 and lost in overtime to Hersey 1-0. The Pack have allowed five goals over three games to start the season, but have scored just six. The defense appears to be improved from last year, and the offense should come around. See below for the full stat lines from the weekend.
In the NCAA ranks, Steven Fogarty racked up five points in two games, including a four point performance as he captained Notre Dame to a combined 10-4 pair of victories.
- Hartford Wolf Pack (W 2-1, OTL 1-0):
- Jesper Fast: 0 G, 0 A, 0 PIM, Even
- J.T. Miller: 1 G, 0 A, 0 PIM, Even
- Mat Bodie: 0 G, 0 A, 0 PIM, Even
- Conor Allen: 0 G, 0 A, 2 PIM, Even
- Sam Noreau: 0 G, 0 A, 5 PIM, Even
- Dylan McIlrath: 0 G, 0 A, 13 PIM, Even
- Ryan Bourque: 0 G, 0 A, 4 PIM, Even
- Marek Hrivik: 0 G, 0 A, 0 PIM, Even
- Oscar Lindberg: 0 G, 1 A, 0 PIM, -1
- Danny Kristo: 0 G, 0 A, 0 PIM, Even
- Ryan Haggerty: 1 G, 0 A, 2 PIM, Even
Read more »
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
After a much-needed win against the woeful Carolina Hurricanes, the San Jose Sharks –one of the Western Conference’s best– is coming to town for an afternoon showdown with the New York Rangers. The Sharks are 4-0-1 to start the season, riding hot goaltending and absurd scoring (20 goals so far). The Sharks, particularly Tomas Hertl, gained fame last year among Rangers fans by deking Martin Biron into retirement. That won’t happen today (he can’t retire again), but the Rangers need to avoid that same kind of embarrassment, preferably with a big W.
On the ice, coach Todd McLellan has his Sharks mostly running an aggressive 2-1-2 forecheck, but will mix in some 1-2-2 depending on game situation. In the defensive zone schemes they overload the boards and play zone defense when the puck is at the points or down low. The power play is a 1-3-1 and their penalty kill formations are hybrid (depends on puck location/opposition setup).
Read more »
Coming to a Garden near you…
We’re almost two weeks into the regular season, giving teams a light litmus test of where they stand against the league. It’s important to remember that it is still very, very early in the season, but 5 or 6 games gives coaches enough of an idea of which lines are working and which aren’t.
Here in Rangerland, we’ve spent a lot of time analyzing defensive woes and arguing over whether or not we should be worried. It’s easy to forget that there’s a whole league out there, even though there’s a team only 15 miles away from us. In the spirit of keeping our friends close and our enemies closer, we should take a look at what’s going on around the league.
So… what exactly is happening outside of the Garden? Read more »
Per Pat Leonard, the Rangers have new lines following three roster moves yesterday, and Anthony Duclair will be the odd man out, at least for tomorrow night’s game. The lines:
Mats Zuccarello-Derick Brassard-Martin St. Louis
Chris Kreider-Kevin Hayes-Rick Nash
Carl Hagelin-Dominic Moore-Lee Stempniak
Tanner Glass-Chris Mueller-Ryan Malone
It’s very early in the season, and Alain Vigneault also said that Duclair may not play every game to start the season. There is value in watching games from above to see how plays develop in the NHL and in AV’s systems. It’s one game, so there’s no reason to panic over Duclair sitting. The staff will make the best possible decision to ensure his growth isn’t stunted by rushing him.
Al Bello/Getty Images
Since we often preach patience and the long-view around here, I find it very difficult to identify specific narrative topics when the season is only five games old. Many of our observations will normalize or end up a blip on the big picture radar. Most sample sizes are too small, trends too tenuous and in the case of the Rangers, too injury dependent. Once Stepan and Boyle return, we will start to see the true colors of this team, but until then, I feel like some random thoughts are more appropriate than digging into too much data or player performance numbers. I’ll be curious to see if your thoughts are consistent with mine during this time of upheaval…
- Is it wrong that I was excited just to see that second win so things didn’t spiral out of control like last October?
- Man, Lee Stempniak has been great. We all were fully on-board with the signing when it happened, but he has gotten off to a much better start than we could have reasonably expected.
- Ryan McDonagh played over 30 minutes last night. In October. Loco.
- Rick Nash is a monster. I had a feeling that the post-concussion symptoms were holding him back last season. He was horribly snake bitten in the playoffs, but has broken out again in a big way to start this year. Goals aside, he had made strong moves to the net, utilizing his size and reach with great results. If he can stay healthy, he will be an absolute force this season.
Read more »
The New York Rangers have recalled forward Chris Mueller from the Hartford Wolf Pack, returning forwards Jesper Fast and J.T. Miller in the process. Miller and Fast have been healthy scratches for the past two games, so getting them playing time in the AHL is a good idea. Mueller had a strong camp, and Alain Vigneault probably figures he can get more out of him than he can Fast/Miller at this point of the season.
Personally, I think Fast was just fine in his two games, but clearly the coach wants him to work on some things. As for Miller, well I still think he’s best suited for the wing. Maybe he gets time there with the Pack.
Since Mueller is a center, this could mean the end of the Martin St. Louis at center experiment, especially since Kevin Hayes has looked quite comfortable there.
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America
This past offseason, the Rangers let Anton Stralman walk via free agency and a five-year, $4.5 million deal in Tampa Bay. They replaced him with Dan Boyle on a shorter term deal, two years at $4.5 million. While the move was hotly contested by many, and created a divide for the pro-Stralman and anti-Stralman debate, the fact is that Boyle was still a serviceable replacement, and someone who would certainly help the team on the powerplay.
But then, 40 minutes into the season, Boyle broke his hand. Mike Kostka and Matt Hunwick have been called upon to replace him in the lineup, paired with either Marc Staal or John Moore. For the first month of the season, the Rangers are replacing Stralman with the Kostka/Hunwick combination, and no matter which way you slice it, that was never part of the plan.
Read more »
Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images
After three straight dismal games, the Rangers righted the ship with two big points against a pretty bad Carolina Hurricanes club. It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t what we would like to see on a regular basis, but it was two points, and that’s all that matters. Henrik Lundqvist was very sharp, finally returning to form after his defense failed him in the three previous games. Hank stopped 29 and then all three in the shootout.
The lone Rangers goal came from crashing the net, as Mats Zuccarello and Derick Brassard combined for a double deflection to tie the game in the third period. Rick Nash also had a strong game, which has come as no surprise this season. Hopefully this is a win the team can build on.
On to the goals:
Read more »
Brandon Halverson was the only prospect in action last night, as Ryan Mantha was scratched for Niagra. Halverson and the 7-0-0 Soo Greyhounds made it 8-0-0 as they squeaked by North Bay by a score of 5-4. Halverson stopped 29 of 33 shots.
- Brandon Halverson (Soo Greyhounds, W 5-4): 33 shots, 29 saves