The Rangers had plenty to celebrate tonight.
The Rangers rode an offensively strong first period and turned it into a pretty dominant 5-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Aside from a somewhat defensively suspect first period (which gave Lundqvist some nice practice time…) and a brain fart on the Lightning goal, this was as near to a complete game as you’ll get.
The Rangers had strong performances all over the ice. Led by Hagelin followed by Nash, Staal, Lundqvist, the fourth line and Ryan McDonagh, but in particular Girardi was up there with Hagelin displaying his exceptional decision making all game long. The Rangers controlled the boards, controlled the tempo and controlled a highly skilled team allowing them just 20 shots. This game makes you excited to be a Ranger fan as the depth really came to the fore tonight.
On to the breakdown folks.
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Hagelin won’t be goal-less for long.
With the Rangers offense appearing to finally be coming to form, the attention shifts focus to the goal count for the newcomers and those with high expectations. Many expect the offense to come primarily from Rick Nash, Marian Gaborik, Brad Richards, Ryan Callahan, and Derek Stepan. But to the surprise of many, Taylor Pyatt (three goals) has thrown his name into the mix, and Carl Hagelin has been MIA on the score sheet.
Pyatt has been the second best offseason acquisition thus far. His three goals are a product of his hard work and his ability to be in the right place at the right time. Pyatt’s three goals have come off seven shots, good for a 42.9% conversion rate. Obviously that won’t continue, especially when you look at his career 11% conversion rate. A regression to the mean is bound to happen, and while seven shots is a small sample size, those expecting Pyatt to continue scoring at this pace will be in for a rude awakening.
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If you want one word to sum up the New York Rangers tonight feel free to use sloppy. The Rangers were defeated 3-1 by the Boston Bruins and were second best in almost every facet. Throughout the season the goals in each game (as well as a brief game summary) will be broken down right here so keep on coming back. Let’s get in to it.
Boston 1 Rangers 0
The Rangers got caught on a line change for Boston’s first goal. David Krejci was fed the puck, cross ice, from Andrew Ference and being completely wide open, was able to get off a low shot from the boards which Henrik Lundqvist was only able to push out in front to a streaking Lucic who banked it home from the top of the crease around the fourteen mark of the first. It was a sloppy goal all round from the Rangers especially when you consider how Staal failed to cover Lucic in front. Missed coverage, easy finish.
Boston 2 Rangers 0
The Bruins got their second (midway through the second) once again, directly off a bad change by the Rangers. Following a breakout by the Bruins, essentially Dan Paille was wide open because the back checking Ranger was late back because of the poorly timed change. Whether it was traffic or a deflection (actually, both) Lundqvist was unable to stop Paille’s high shot which hit the post and proceeded to bank off Lundqvist before trickling over the goal line. Boston’s second was another sloppy goal conceded by the Rangers given the badly timed change and poor coverage. Several breakdowns occurred on the goal.
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We know Ryan McDonagh is back in the US and we know Carl Hagelin has terminated his deal with his hometown team back in Sweden. We also know Rick Nash has had his own injury issues despite scoring at an impressive rate in Switzerland. It goes without saying that the NHL is the best league in the world when they’re actually playing hockey. So why then are so many Rangers players struggling to adapt to playing in inferior leagues with inferior players?
Rick Nash aside, and perhaps Hagelin – although in Sweden’s second tier, don’t forget – no Ranger has exactly set the world alight in Europe thus far. In one way it’s hard to be overly critical. After all with little practice time, familiarisation to their clubs, their leagues’ playing style and teammates and a lack of long term perspective (given the short term deals struck with clubs) there isn’t a great basis for success for players heading to Europe.
Again, to be fair it’s not just Rangers players that have failed to make a significant impact. For example Ilya Bryzgalov hasn’t exactly got his game back on track in the KHL, Evander Kane suffered a torrid time in Russia while Max Paciorettey had a miserable time in Europe and came back at the first opportunity following a somewhat bitter divorce with his Euro employers.
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First, I hope that everyone who reads this blog and all of your families are safe. Hurricane Sandy did a number on the tri-state area, and it was by far the worst storm we have ever encountered. I had a close call myself, as a tree that is (was) three feet from my bedroom window snapped, and the top half came crashing down, missing my apartment by about five feet. There was also another tree that was leaning, but did not go down. Both trees have been removed thankfully.
Now back to some semblance of Ranger hockey: Carl Hagelin had a bit of a scare last night, as he took a hit to the shoulder and was removed from the game. It was a precautionary move, but like Rick Nash before him, his shoulder injury is day-to-day.
Additionally, MSG is planning on airing more KHL games on the MSG network as the lockout continues. There will be a total of eight games aired on MSG throughout the month of November:
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Amid the brief optimism and subsequent let down of the lockout negotiations (aka ‘far apart’) Rangers prospects have been getting it done and, which has been the case all season long, the Swedish contingent are shining bright.
Jesper Fasth continued his strong start to the SEL season and now has 9 points in 14 games for HV71. Fast grabbed two goals on Wednesday as HV71 beat Färjestad 4-3. The most encouraging thing in regard to Fasth is the fact he’s producing on the powerplay (2 of his 6 goals so far) and is seeing considerable ice time at close to 20 minutes/game.
Clearly, Fasth is becoming a go-to option for his club which should stand him in good stead long term. With Oscar Lindberg still scoring at a point/game clip (now 14 in 14) come next season there will likely be another two Swedes making a serious case for inclusion on the Rangers roster.
So how does this affect the roster, aside from player turnover?
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Last night, Ryan McDonagh made his KHL debut for Barys Astana, notching some significant ice time and finishing the 5-1 victory with a +1 rating. Some names that you might notice that are playing with McDonagh on Barys: Nik Antropov, Brandon Bochenski, Dustin Boyes, Nigel Dawes, Victor Hedman, and Andrew Hutchinson. Not exactly a lineup lacking in NHL and/or North American players.
Carl Hagelin also continued his great play in Allsvenskan, notching a goal and an assist in Södertälje SK 5-1 win. That update comes courtesy of Bill Meltzer, who has been doing a great job of tweeting updates from all around Europe and Russia. Definitely give him a follow, as he gives updates on leagues, like Hagelin’s Allsvenskan, that we find it difficult to locate game stats.
Carl Hagelin is off to a good start in the second-tier Swedish league HockeyAllsvenskan, as he finished his first game with his hometown Södertälje SK with two assists. This update comes courtesy of Matias Strozyk, who was tweeting updates throughout the game. Considering how difficult it is to find updates of the second-tier leagues in Sweden, finding Matias’ Twitter account was a bit of a savior.
Also, Rick Nash returned tonight for HC Davos in the Swiss NLA. Nash, who sat out for a week with a bruised shoulder, scored the tying goal in Davos’ 3-2 overtime win over Henrik Zetterberg’s EV Zug. When Nash is in the lineup, Davos wins. When he isn’t, they lose. Interesting phenomenon.
Carl Hagelin returning to Sweden to play with his hometown team helps him stay in hockey shape.
Carl Hagelin signing in his hometown for Södertälje SK of HockeyAllsvenskan (second tier league) is some of the best news to have happened in recent weeks for the Rangers. With the end of the lockout not to be seen on the NHL horizon the key thing for the Rangers future right now is likely to be the development of the prospects as well as the younger roster players at the NHL level. With Chris Kreider learning the pro game with the CT Whale in the AHL, perhaps the next brightest young thing on the Rangers roster is Hagelin.
While the SEL – and particularly the second tier where Södertälje currently reside –is not of the calibre of the NHL it does offer Hagelin several opportunities to improve his game. The first opportunity is the added ice time and games at the pro level. While Hagelin has made an excellent, immediate impact with the Rangers he is still a young player who has little pro experience and given the length of a NCAA college season, Hagelin can still benefit from as much game time as possible.
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The lockout is now real and some New York Rangers have begun to make commitments to other teams for the 2012 season.
Already Rick Nash has inked a deal with HC Davos to reunite with Ranger hater Joe Thornton, where they both played in the last lockout.
The Fourth Period also reports that Carl Hagelin is in talks with Sodertalje SK of the Swedish Div II League.
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