mats zuccarello

Photo: Jim McIsaac/Newsday

The Rangers needed to answer back, and they did in a big way last night. The Rangers came out strong, completely dominating play in the first period and jumping out to a 2-0 lead. The Blueshirts let off the gas a little as they built 3-0 and 4-1 leads, which is relatively expected in the playoffs, seemingly content to just kill the clock instead of stepping on the Sens’ throats.

This was an up-and-down the lineup solid game for the Rangers, who desperately needed not only a win, but a dominating performance. The series through now has been close, but this game never felt out of the Rangers’ control, even when the Senators were pressing late. I would have preferred that the Rangers keep pressing, but it’s tough to really complain about this performance. The biggest thing will be repeating this on Thursday night.

On to the goals:

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Categories : Game Wrap-ups
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May
02

Atlantic Division Final, Game 3: A must win

May 2, 2017, by · Comments (59)
derek stepan

Photo: AP / Fred Chartrand

There is no way to slice it, this is a must win for the Rangers. Down in an 0-2 hole is bad enough, but coming back from 0-3 would be virtually impossible. The good news is there is still plenty to be optimistic about. This is a very tight series, with both games decided late. Poor roster management has plagued throughout the playoffs though, so if the coaches can get out of their own way, then the series is still winnable.

That said, we have history to say they won’t. So this needs to fall on the players, specifically the goaltender now. Henrik Lundqvist had a weak Game 2, but has been outstanding aside from that. He’s been the only consistent player up and down the lineup. Perhaps with goals on Saturday, Chris Kreider and Derek Stepan wake up. The Rangers certainly need it. The blue line isn’t going to help much.

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Categories : Game Thread
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rangers senators zibanejad skjei

Credit: AP / Fred Chartrand

We’ve all had a few days to let the dust from Game 2 settle. I’m sure a lot are still steaming over the in-game deployment choices by Alain Vigneault. I’m also sure there’s a good number of people who want the Rangers to come out firing on all cylinders tonight. I’m sure there are members of both factions too.

But despite the 0-2 series deficit, this is a pretty tight series. Game 2 went to double overtime with both teams playing fairly sloppy hockey. Game 1 was decided on a lucky bounce in the final ten minutes. So there are plenty of reasons to be positive heading into Game 3.

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Categories : Playoffs
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neal pionk

Photo: Getty

Per Elliotte Friedman, the Rangers have made a big splash in the undrafted free agent market. They have signed defenseman Neal Pionk of Minnesota-Duluth to en entry level deal, a much sought after UDFA. Josh profiled him last month, and that’s definitely worth the read. For the cliff notes version: Pionk is a right handed puck moving defenseman that put up 34 (7-27-34) points in 42 games as one of the NCAA’s top scoring defensemen. He was also a second team All Star.

Pionk, at 6’0 and 190 lbs, plays with a bit of a mean streak as well. While his joy for laying people out with open ice hits can cause him to be out of position from time to time, Pionk is a three-zone defenseman who piqued the interest of most of the league. He will need some seasoning, having just completed his sophomore season, but this is a big time win for the Rangers in landing him.

I’m going to open up a can of worms here, but between Alexei Bereglazov, Radim Simek, and now Pionk, there’s some change coming to the Rangers’ blue line.

Categories : Transactions
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radim simek

The Rangers have decided that they want to make their prospect pool to model the United Nation. After signing three NCAA prospects in the spring, the Rangers followed up by signing the highly coveted Alexei Bereglazov from Russia and are believed to be in contention to potentially sign Swedish defenseman Andreas Borgman. I believe that the Rangers may be adding a Czech defenseman in the coming days to the prospect pool as well.

Radim Simek is one of the top Czech defensemen not in the NHL, and at 24 years old he wants to take a chance in North America. It was originally speculated that the San Jose Sharks will be the team that will be able to sign Simek to a contract, which makes sense. Good team, good weather, they have a history of signing good Euros to deals (Rangers should sign Tim Heed away from them this summer), and they have a Czech on the team. Apparently, that all changed a few days ago as seen in this article. Here is the interesting quote thanks to Google translate:

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henrik lundqvist mark stone

Credit: AP / Sean Kilpatrick

The Rangers are in a pretty pickle right now, down 0-2 to the Senators and coming back to MSG for a must-win Game 3.The good news is that the series in not out of reach, and both games could have gone either way. The bad news is that the Rangers need some breaks. After the debacle that was Game 2, where terrible coaching, poor defense, and an off-night by Henrik Lundqvist cost them the tie, the Rangers need to make some adjustments to have a chance of coming back.

1. Goaltending

Sorry Hank, but you need to be the first item on this list. Hank did not have a good game on Saturday. He’s far from the main cause of the loss, as I went into yesterday, but when the Rangers score five goals, it’s a game you need to win. The weak first goal by JG Pageau really stands out to me as the type of shot Hank needs to stop. Does stopping that shot guarantee a win? Nope. But it’s one of those “what if” moments.

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Categories : Playoffs
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Apr
30

Alain Vigneault costs Rangers Game 2

April 30, 2017, by · Comments (178)
rangers senators

Photo Credit: Getty Images / Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photo

I initially wasn’t going to be covering this recap, but after watching the game, and watching Alain Vigneault blow this game with is lunacy, I insisted I cover it. The Rangers blew three separate two goal leads with idiotic deployment choices, and it burned them in the end. Yes, part of this game is on Henrik Lundqvist, who allowed six goals, four to JG Pageau, a nobody. But for the most part, I’m putting this on AV. Here are my reasons.

1. There is absolutely no excuse to sit Brady Skjei and Brendan Smith for the final five minutes of the game. This comes after the Marc Staal/Nick Holden duo cost the Rangers Game 2 in Montreal. AV simply does not learn from his mistakes. And this one cost them. Listen, I can understand wanting to rely on your vets, but when Skjei and Smith are having the best game of your defensive sextet, and you sit them, you deserve to be blasted. The Rangers got that far despite AV.

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Categories : Game Wrap-ups
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Apr
29

Atlantic Division Final Game 2: Come home with a split

April 29, 2017, by · Comments (87)
chris kreider rangers senators

Credit: AP / Fred Chartrand

The Rangers dropped Game 1 in Ottawa, and are now looking to salvage the split and prevent going in an 0-2 hole. The Senators are not the Habs, and you can argue are better than the Habs. Trade deadline acquisitions strengthened the bottom-six, and Clarke MacCarthur’s return added extra scoring bite. The Rangers, used to the slow Habs, looked sluggish in Game 1, and that will need to change in Game 2.

What won’t need to change is how well Henrik Lundqvist has been playing. As long as the Rangers can score two, he will ensure they at least have a chance to win. He’s been near perfect these playoffs so far, forced to make some spectacular saves regularly. His counterpart, Craig Anderson, wasn’t tested much in Game 1. The Rangers will look to change that today, as they will need to get back to their speed game and break through that 1-1-3 neutral zone trap the Senators use.

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Categories : Game Thread
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Apr
29

Gearing up for Rangers – Senators Game 2

April 29, 2017, by · Comments (13)

Don’t tell Kevin how good Marc Methot was in Game 1

Folks, I’m going to be honest with you. There is no reason to hit the panic button quite yet. I know this is very alarming for several people, because people are so romantic when the team wins and so mentally unhinged when the team loses, but I promise you don’t need to freak out.

As a team ventures deeper into the murky waters of the playoffs, they’re destined to meet teams that also deserve to be there. Though people may have dismissed the Senators as a hard hitting, slow team (ahh, the good old Chris Neil days), the team now is far from that. Their defense is not well established, but they make plenty of adjustments and play Erik Karlsson —who, if he is injured, as a robot is not affected — damn near 30 minutes a night.

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Categories : Rants
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Apr
28

Thoughts following Game 1

April 28, 2017, by · Comments (44)
henrik lundqvist mark stone

Credit: AP / Sean Kilpatrick

The Rangers laid an egg last night in Ottawa, coming out slow and looking sloppy all night in a 2-1 loss. Henrik Lundqvist did the best he could to keep the Rangers in it, but penalties and luck kept him from doing so. Luckily it was only Game 1, and the goal for the Blueshirts is to come away with a split in Ottawa. They have a chance to salvage that on Saturday, but they can’t come out the way they did last night. As usual, I have some thoughts.

1. Last night’s game was oddly reminiscent of Game 3 against Montreal. It wasn’t as bad as that game, it wasn’t even close honestly, but the issues gave me bad flashbacks. There was no consistent forecheck. There was no consistent speed through the neutral zone. There was no sustained offensive pressure. Craig Anderson barely had to move, and most of his saves were pretty simple shots. It wasn’t Rangers hockey, and Guy Boucher made Alain Vigneault’s Rangers play right into their 1-1-3 trap (remember, it’s a 1-1-3, not a 1-3-1). The Rangers need to take a long look at themselves in the mirror and remember what they did in Games 4-6 against Montreal. That’s how they will win.

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Categories : Playoffs
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