Portland Pirates 3, Hartford Wolf Pack 2
Portland, ME, November 13, 2015 – The Hartford Wolf Pack suffered its franchise-record sixth straight regulation loss Friday night at the Cross Insurance Arena, falling 3-2 to the Portland Pirates in the second of back-to-back games between the two teams.
The Pirates defeated the Wolf Pack 6-2 on Wednesday night in Portland.
Wolf Pack goal-scoring leader Adam Tambellini tallied his fifth of the season, and captain Ryan Bourque also scored, but John McFarland had a goal and an assist to lead the Pirates, who also got scores from Sena Acolatse and Logan Shaw.
Mackenzie Skapski saw his first Wolf Pack action of the season in net and stopped 25 shots.
After a strong win against St. Louis the other night, the Rangers are in Ottawa to take on the Senators in a Saturday matinee. The Rangers have won seven in a row behind elite goaltending and opportunistic shooting, and are 9-0-2 in their last 11 games. Much of this is thanks to Henrik Lundqvist and an offense that makes the most of their chances. The defense still needs to improve, as they’ve been shaky through the first 16 games.
The Sens are second in the Atlantic at 8-5-3, and have actually struggled a bit at home (3-3-2). They are not a good possession team (45.6 CF%), sitting in the bottom-three in the NHL in both even strength CF% and score-adjusted even strength CF%. However this is a team that can put the puck in the net. They have six guys in double-digit points already. But after those six the Sens are very thin, with no one over five points.
The Rangers usually feast on teams that lack depth and have poor goaltending. The Sens certainly lack depth, and Anderson has been shaky to start the year. That said, the Rangers have been playing above their heads for a while now. This should be a fun game to watch, I’m expecting a lot of chances on both sides. So….it’ll be a boring 2-1 game.
New York Rangers’ general manager Jeff Gorton must be watching his team win game after game to start the new season while wondering what he’s done to deserve such luck. Why luck? The Rangers are likely headed toward a tough offseason with several young, but key, roster players due new contracts. The lucky part for Gorton right now, is that none of those players are making a strong case for (key word) significant pay rises.
As we enter mid-November, Chris Kreider, Kevin Hayes, J.T. Miller, Emerson Etem and veteran defenseman Keith Yandle are all approaching next summer with their future’s unclear. Particularly in the cases of Kreider, Hayes and Yandle all three should be significant parts of the Rangers future. Kreider is the power forward, goalscorer in waiting, Hayes has quickly become an integral and flexible part of the top nine while Yandle is the best puck mover the Rangers can turn to.
What a strange ride this 2015-2016 season has been so far. After last night’s victory over the eminently talented St. Louis Blues, the Rangers sit just two points behind the mighty Montreal Canadiens for the best record in the entire NHL. However, it has not been a stream of endless adulation and bold championship predictions on Broadway. In fact, most pundits expect the Rangers to take a severe step back due to their unsustainable combination of low possession and high PDO.
Be sure to check out our “Metrics we use” tab for useful information on possession statistics, but PDO is much simpler. Basically it creates a “normalized” statistic by combining shooting percentage and save percentage and theorizing they will both regress to a league average of 100. The theory is that over time, unsustainably high or low shooting and save percentages will regress to the mean, and performance can be predicted to improve or decline as regression takes place. It’s hockey best attempt at quantifying “luck”.
Henrik Lundqvist sat down with Bloomberg Television’s Scarlet Fu the other day to speak about his philanthropic efforts. He said “I wanted to reach people back home and other places around the world and also start thinking about life after my career.”
The full interview can be viewed here.
The transcript, courtesy of Bloomberg TV, is below.
Despite heavy pressure from a formidable St Louis team, the Rangers held out and maintained their win streak, taking advantage of their offensive opportunities and scoring six goals in the process. The game easily could have been closer for the Rangers had it not been for some phenomenal saves by Henrik Lundqvist. While the Rangers definitely need to tighten up their game in a lot of aspects, especially defensively, it’s hard to be upset with six goals against one of the toughest teams in the NHL.
This was yet another game where the Rangers did not trail, which is becoming a great trend during this win streak. Goaltending is hot, scoring is hot, and both are picking up a troubled blue line that is struggling. This is a team that isn’t even clicking on all cylinders yet.
Rangers 1, Blues 0
The Ranges have just kept on rolling, extending their win streak to six games and 8-0-2 in their last ten. But St. Louis comes to town tonight, a true playoff team that is just as hot as the Rangers. The Blues are very similar to the Rangers, relying on elite goaltending and transition rushes.
The Blues are 7-2-1 in their last ten games, including impressive wins over Minnesota, Anaheim, Tampa Bay, Chicago, and Nashville. Four players have double-digit scoring totals, and Jake Allen has been lights-out in net. This is the first really hot goaltender the Rangers have faced in their recent 8-0-2 run.
The Rangers haven’t played perfect hockey, and some are quick to point out they played down to their competition over the last three games. This is a big test for the Blueshirts. A statement win would keep a lot of those complaints at bay.
On Tuesday night, the Rangers scratched Dominic Moore so that Emerson Etem could get into the lineup again. There was a certain level of surprise at the move, as Moore has been one of the Rangers best and most consistent forwards for the past few years. It wasn’t a question about getting Etem into the lineup, it was about scratching Moore.
But the fourth line played a strong game, generating scoring chances and giving Rangers extra punch in the lineup. Etem was a machine, going to corners, driving to the net. It was capped by his very subtle tip pass off the boards to Jesper Fast for the first goal of the game. Etem made some mistakes as his hockey IQ isn’t optimal yet, but overall it was hard to not be impressed.
Speculation has begun to swirl around San Jose Sharks star Patrick Marleau, after reports came out earlier in the week that he would waive his no trade clause for the LA Kings, the Anaheim Ducks, or our beloved Rangers. Elliotte Friedman noted on TV that there is little evidence to suggest that the Sharks have asked Marleau to waive his NTC, and Bob McKenzie echoed the sentiment on Twitter, saying that it is “more likely that Marleau asked SJ to explore trade possibilities to select teams”. All of this suggests that Marleau is potentially interested in a trade to New York, which might raise some fans’ eyebrows given a few factors.
The first is what it would cost to acquire to speedy winger, who’s registered 30 goals or more in seven different seasons with San Jose. The Rangers don’t exactly have a wealth of draft picks to give up due to past trades, and given that Anthony Duclair was sent to Arizona in the Keith Yandle deal it’s not likely that the Rangers would deal their next best prospect Pavel Bucchnevich. That would mean any player or players going the other way would be roster players, and while I by no means have any inkling of who it would be I would imagine that the price for a player like Marleau would not be cheap.
Portland Pirates 6, Hartford Wolf Pack 2
Portland, ME, November 11, 2015 – The Hartford Wolf Pack snapped a franchise-record streak of three straight shutouts-against Wednesday night at the Cross Insurance Arena, but couldn’t avoid a fifth consecutive loss, a 6-2 defeat at the hands of the Portland Pirates.
Logan Shaw scored twice for Portland, and Kyle Rau had a goal and two assists. Tanner Glass and Luke Adam both scored their first Wolf Pack goals, in the first of back-to-back games between the Wolf Pack and Pirates.
“As a group we’re working hard right now, but you can talk about bounces, obviously those aren’t coming across very often for us right now,” Wolf Pack captain Ryan Bourque said. “But ultimately we’ve just got to continue to grow each day and we’ve got to fight through this. It’s definitely a tough time for us as a team, but I think from this you can almost look at it as a positive and learn from it, so that down the road, if we do face adversity like this, we know how to handle it.”