Per our very own Josh Khalfin, citing Igor Eronko, the Rangers are likely to sign Russian defenseman Alexei Bereglazov once his KHL deal expires. Bereglazov is a big dude at 6’4″ and 220 lbs, but is a very mobile skater. Josh did a full breakdown of him earlier this month, and you should definitely check it out.
Should he sign with the Rangers, he will likely need a little time in the AHL to get accustomed to the North American rink and game. However he is a solid player and could slide into the lineup almost right away. The added benefit –aside from just landing a solid prospect, even at 22 years old– is that Bereglazov played in the KHL, and is someone that Pavel Buchnevich is familiar with. Buchnevich passed on all bonuses to have a KHL-out clause in his deal. This could be a move to keep Buchnevich comfortable as well.
These are just rumors for now, but very strong rumors. Nothing can be official until his contract in the KHL officially expires.
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.
There’s only so much Henrik Lundqvist can do. If he doesn’t pitch a shutout, the Rangers lose. It doesn’t help that they can’t win at home either. But this was just an inexcusable performance by all Rangers not named Lundqvist or Rick Nash. Sure, the Rangers had hits, but that’s what happens when you never have the puck. Heck, even when they were down three in the third and the Habs were backing off, they still couldn’t get anything going.
Carey Price wasn’t tested in this game. The powerplay was atrocious. The penalty killing was just as bad. But the 5v5 play was probably the worst. They couldn’t sustain anything at all. No offensive pressure. Not making Price move. Nothing. This was embarrassing. And in the playoffs no less.
This team needs more speed and skill. Yet Pavel Buchnevich and Adam Clendening, who have both, are not playing. This isn’t even about replacing a bad player in the lineup. It’s about playing the lineup that gives you the best chance to score on Price. This lineup isn’t it.
On to the goals:
The Rangers blew a chance to take a commanding 2-0 series lead the other night, and are now at home to try to take a pivotal Game Three. Alain Vigneault, who made the single most boneheaded coaching move in recent Rangers’ history is going to have to be better. He’s going to have to adjust.
Part of that adjustment is putting his loyalties aside and playing his best defense pairings. No more loyalty to players playing like crap. If not, then this will be a short series. We all know what the team is, but does the coach?
It’s playoff time, and that means over-analyzing absolutely everything there is to analyze about hockey. Whether it’s a particular goal, a bad call, or the decision to play Nick Holden and Marc Staal in the twilight of a close game, it all deserves our intense scrutiny because well, we’re talking about a chance at a Stanley Cup here. One thing that’s especially crucial in the playoffs, and thus warranting our obsessive analysis, is chemistry.
A couple of weeks back the excellent Ryan Stimson put up a piece on just that. For those of you who don’t know, Stimson runs the Passing Project, which is an effort to track passes that take place during hockey games in order to better understand the little things that make a big difference over the course of a season. While the Passing Project doesn’t quite have every game tracked, they do have a substantial amount of work done already (almost 900 games) and Ryan’s work is worth your attention. The piece can be found over on hockey-graphs.com, and I highly recommend you read it. Read More→
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→
The Rangers have a rare opportunity tonight. They can go up 2-0 on the Habs, taking both games on the road. All of the pressure is on the Habs.
That said, the rangers are going to need to repeat the performance from Game One. That is for everyone, up and down the lineup. Forechecking, defense, goaltending, forwards. Everyone.
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.
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→
The question of whether the Rangers could flip the proverbial switch had been asked, rightly, of a team that had little to play for over the last six weeks of the regular season. It took about a period, but the Rangers did just that, playing a very solid road game and taking a 1-0 series lead over the favored Canadiens, winning game one by the final score of 2-0.
The winning goal came from an unlikely source: Tanner Glass. Glass has been a lightning rod for debate among the Blueshirts faithful since his acquisition, but there was no questioning his impact on this game. Read More→
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.