Ryan Callahan made his return known to the Rangers, potting two goals –including the eventual game winner– as the Tampa Bay Lightning blew out the New York Rangers 5-1. This game could have been a lot worse, as I can count at least two other opportunities where Henrik Lundqvist came up huge, including once in the second that kept the game at 2-1. I know that you guys are expecting a goal breakdown, but I was at the game, and didn’t get home until 10:30. I do have a full time job that I need to be awake for, and bullet points are significantly quicker than goal breakdowns. So here we go:
- The Rangers really didn’t show much last night. They looked sluggish, were getting beat to every loose puck, getting outmuscled in the corners, shying away from contact and from body checks. No one covered the slot, bad turnovers, minimal forecheck, terrible defense. This team really hung Hank out to dry.
- That said, Tampa Bay is really good. They shut down the zone entries. They forced turnovers. They neutralized the Rangers speed by cutting off passing lanes and forcing the play to the outside. They got in shooting lanes. This is a very balanced team playing without its best defenseman (Victor Hedman). There’s a reason why we all went “oh crap” when we saw the moves they made.
- On the second Cally goal, the defense was nowhere to be found. Marc Staal and Dan Girardi were behind the net, despite only one Lightning player (Steven Stamkos) in that area.
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Tonight’s game against the Tamp Bay Lightning comes with some added drama. Former captain Ryan Callahan, Brian Boyle, and Anton Stralman all make their MSG returns after departing the club last season. Cally left in the MSL trade, and Boyle/Stralman joined him via free agency. Cally played most of his first eight years in New York, and was named captain after Chris Drury was bought out. Boyle (five years) and Stralman (three years) revived their careers on Broadway under John Tortorella. All three were key cogs in making hockey relevant in New York once again.
As for the team itself, Jon Cooper has the Lightning playing a pretty similar system as the Rangers. They run an overload 1-2-2 forecheck, but will mix in a 2-1-2 as well. In the defensive zone, they mix zone and overload coverage depending on puck location. On special teams, they run a 1-3-1 power play and rotate between a diamond and box penalty kill depending on opposition setup.
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Update: Per Larry Brooks, the Rangers are not expected to make Kaberle an offer.
The Hartford Wolf Pack have terminated the PTO for defenseman Tomas Kaberle. Kaberle played two games for the Pack, putting up a pair of powerplay assists and a -3 rating in the two losses to Manchester (4-3 in overtime) and Bridgeport (6-1). With the PTO terminated, this means that the Rangers will either offer him a contract, or that the PTO has ended and the two sides will part ways. Andrew Gross thinks that the Rangers will offer him a contract.
Personally, I don’t believe Kaberle is the answer. He hasn’t been relevant in the NHL since the 2011-2012 season. This is a speed game now, and Kaberle won’t add anything to the blue line that Matt Hunwick or Mike Kostka can’t. With the Rangers at 49 contracts, signing Kaberle would put them at the maximum 50 contracts, and make trades that much more difficult.
Per Andrew Gross, Anthony Duclair will play tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning, skating on the third line with Kevin Hayes and Carl Hagelin. Lee Stempniak was shifted to the fourth line with Dominic Moore and Tanner Glass. Jesper Fast will be the healthy scratch.
The defensive pairs will be Marc Staal-Dan Boyle, John Moore-Dan Girardi, and Matt Hunwick-Kevin Klein.
Tonight is just another game in the Rangers action-packed, though sometimes exhausting November, right? Sure, they’re up against the best offensive team in hockey, a team tied for second in points in the entire National Hockey League, so it’ll be a tough one, but otherwise, nothing crazy happening tonight at the Garden.
The talent here at BSB later today will post about what kind of special teams they throw and exactly who to watch for (spoiler alert: it’s still Steven Stamkos.. and Tyler Johnson, who you’ve probably never heard of), but this morning we need to focus on what MSG has been pushing for weeks, the big elephant in the room. Tonight marks the return of former captain Ryan Callahan, along with Anton Stralman and Brian Boyle, and much like ripping off a bandaid, I think we’ll all feel better once it’s done.
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I was going to do a goal breakdown for this game. I actually DVR’d the right channel this time around. I didn’t get home until the beginning of the third period, so I caught that, the overtime, and the shootout. And honestly, a goal breakdown won’t do this game justice. The 25 minutes of actual hockey I watched were entertaining, then the shootout made me headdesk a lot. Let’s get to bullet points, because my brain is about to explode:
- First things first: The Rangers never even should have got to the shootout. Henrik Lundqvist was unreal, making 36 saves before the shootout.
- The Dan Boyle non-shootout goal was the right call. Yes, it sucked, but it was the right call. The puck hit the post, that was the end of the attempt. The puck wound up going off the post, off Boyle’s stick, then back in the net. It is what it is. Toronto actually had to call the arena and get the teams back on the ice. The refs missed it. Somewhere, Brett Hull is laughing hysterically.
- I think the Rangers invented a new way to lose with that one. I honestly thought I’d seen it all.
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Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images
The New York Rangers are in Pittsburgh for the first time since Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semis last year, and just four days after blowing out the Pens 5-0 at MSG. The Rangers have won four straight against the Pittsburgh Penguins, dating back to the playoffs last year, and have allowed just three goals in those four games. But, the Rangers blew a golden opportunity to build on that shutout against Colorado on Thursday. So, it’s tough to know what to expect from this team tonight.
Suit’s System Preview: The Penguins are playing a slightly different system under Mike Johnston than it did under Bylsma. Johnston has Pittsburgh running a stacked 1-2-2 forecheck, which is what AV runs. Everyone attacks and breaks-out in packs. Short, quick passes and attacking the blueline with speed is preferred over dump and chase hockey and home run passes. Pretty much everyone is playing this way now.
Not much has changed in the DZ. They still run a basic zone defense, a 1-3-1 power play and a hybrid penalty kill depending on puck location. It’s a copy cat league kids.
There are no changes to the lineup from the past two games, which means Anthony Duclair is still a healthy scratch for some inexplicable reason.
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The Rangers were absolutely decimated by injuries in October and November, at one point skating without their top line center and four of their top-six defensemen. When you’re dressing options seven, eight, nine, and ten on the blue line, you need better contributions from those in the lineup. Luckily for the Rangers, four guys stepped up their games offensively to fill the void. Rick Nash (12-6-18), Derick Brassard (6-7-13), Martin St. Louis (6-6-12), and Kevin Klein (3-2-5) were major contributors in keeping the Rangers afloat.
Nash has been a force all season, looking like the Rick Nash the Rangers traded for in 2012. MSL has been contributing at his normal career pace despite playing a good number of the games at center this year. Brassard has shown great chemistry with them as well, looking like that $5 million center they re-signed in the offseason. As for Klein, he’s never cracked the five goal mark in a season, and he looks to be well on his way this year.
But these four players have one thing in common – unsustainable SH%, that is surely to regress as the season bears on.
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Here is the info for today’s FanDuel league: Sign up here, the league link is here.
For those unfamiliar with Fanduel, 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 (for example. Johnny Boychuck is not going to continue at his pace).
Rotowire has a lineup optimizer, as does DangleFactory. They are good resources if this intrigues you, but 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.
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
There was a time last season that Henrik Lundqvist was playing so poorly, and Cam Talbot was playing so well, that a very small but very vocal segment of the fan base was calling for a change at the number one spot. Imagine that. Crazy, right? But, it happened. Small sample sizes can do wacky things to people’s perceptions. Talbot had a phenomenal 2013-2014 season, but has struggled so far (relatively speaking) in the new campaign.
Last year, Talbot ended the season with a 1.64 GAA and a .941 save percentage in 21 games played. If he had put up those numbers over a starter’s workload, he would have run away with the Vezina. We all knew (hopefully) that these flawed metrics, although nice to see from our backup, were not reflective of his true talent level. In fairness, they aren’t reflective of anyone’s true talent level.
In 4 games so far this season, Talbot’s GAA has ballooned to 3.48 and his save percentage has slid to .880. Neither of those numbers are particularly pretty. I’ve seen comments on the Twitters and other social media about how hard regression is hitting Talbot, which naturally begs the question: what is the mean he is regressing to?
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