New York Rangers lose four-games on road

Rangers Drop All Four Road Games…Great For Rebuild

The New York Rangers embarked on their four-game road rip starting Monday. They kicked off the four-game series in Alberta with the Edmonton Oilers. After Edmonton the Rangers traveled to Vancouver, Calgary and finished it off Saturday night with the Minnesota Wild.

Rangers last four-games

The Oilers, were the closest and most evenly matched opponent for the Rangers in the four-game series. A team very similar in talent compared to the Rangers and close in the league standings. The Rangers ended losing the first game of the four game road series 3-2 in overtime vs Edmonton. Alexander Georgiev stopped 30-33 shots, Brendan Lemieux scored and showed Rangers fans why they are going to love him after fighting Jujhar Khaira. Also Brett Howden got the monkey off his back scoring his first goal in 35 games.

The Rangers traveled to Vancouver to face an extremely young but talented Canucks team. A game in which the Rangers held off the Canucks in the first period, but managed to allow three 2nd period goals. That was the deal breaker in the Rangers 4-1 loss Wednesday night. In hindsight, Pavel Buchnevich found the back of the net for his 16th goal of the year and his 5th goal in eight games.

After a days rest it was off to Calgary for New York. The Rangers took on the top team in the Western Conference and one of the best/most consistent NHL teams this season the Flames. After leaving the first tied 1-1 off a Neal Pionk rocket from Ryan Strome. The Rangers allowed two second period goals as that would be the dagger in the game. Resulting in a 5-1 lose.

The Rangers went back to back, Friday and Saturday night. Traveling from Calgary to Minnesota to play a game within a 24-hour notice was not easy and it clearly showed Saturday for New York. The Rangers were out shot heavily 46-28 in the game and left Henrik Lundqvist out to dry. The Wild took advantage of a tired Rangers team as they controlled the pace of the game and used their speed to get on the Rangers early. The Wild scored two 1st period goals from Ryan Donato and two 3rd period goals from Jared Spurgeon and J.T. Brown for a 5-2 Wild win. On the bright side Buchnevich scored his 17th of the season for his sixth goal in 10 games.

Why is it good for the rebuild?

Well the Rangers are allowing these young guys like Filip Chytil, Lias Andersson, Brett Howden, Neal Pionk to play a little more freely, see how important it is to play consistent every night and what late season, playoff push hockey looks like. Although the Rangers have lost 10 of their last 11 games it really is not as big as some of us may be making it. The Rangers were playing .500 hockey all season and around the 22nd mark in the NHL, well they have dropped three spots and are getting closer to the bottom of the league. AND a better 2019 draft pick. The Rangers are in no shape to win.

The consistent losing is never easy to handle but the games have been close besides for 10-12 minutes of every game where the opposing team gets an advantage. The Rangers are competing, their young players are able to play more loosely, make mistakes and learn from them. Plus we are 10-games away from the end of the 2018-19 season, there is no need to win. Compete, yes but Rangers fans would rather a top-5 draft pick than number 12, 13 draft pick. There is no benefit in winning right now. Plenty of years to come when the Rangers will need to push for the playoffs but right now Rangers fans know that is not advantageous for the big picture.

NHL Trade Deadline 2019

Looking Back At 2019 NHL Trade Deadline Deals…

Matt Duchene: Since Duchene has came to the Blue Jackets he has been a little quite and so have the Blue Jackets. Since coming to the Jackets Feb. 22 Duchene has 2 goals and 3 assists. He recorded two points on February 23rd and since then he has recorded 1 goal and 2 assists in nine games…

Ryan Dzingel: Also a member of the Senators who was sent to Columbus for a playoff push/Stanley Cup run has been better than Duchene actually. Since coming to Blue Jackets Dzingel has 1 goal and 5 assists in 9 games. Better production compared to Duchene certainly.

Mark Stone: Stone was the big deadline acquisition. Coming to Vegas on February 25th the team has been not only playing better since he arrived but Stone has been a big help it seems too. Stone has 2 goals and 3 assists in 7 games. The Golden Knights are 6-1 with Stone.

Mikael Granlund: This was a trade that came out of left field sort of. The Predators sent over young Kevin Fiala for a more seasoned Granlund. Both play similar styles but Granlund has a bit more experience and the edge over Fiala. Granlund joined the Predators on March 1st. Since then he has 1 goal and 3 assists in 6 games. The Predators since acquiring Granlund are 3-3 through six games.

Kevin Fiala: Fiala was apart of the Granlund trade a 1 for 1 deal that left some confused. Fiala is only 22-years-old and already has some experience in the playoffs. Since joining the Wild on February 25th, Fiala has 2 goals, they also came in the same game. He has 2 points in 8 games and no points in seven of them. The Wild are also 3-5 since acquiring Fiala.

Charlie Coyle: The Coyle trade was a bit of surprise for some fans as the Bruins swapped out their young prospect Ryan Donato for a struggling Charlie Coyle. Since coming to the Bruins on February 20th Coyle has played in 10 games adding 1 goal and 1 assist. The Bruins are 7-4 since adding Coyle.

Ryan Donato: Apart of the Coyle deal, Donato was sent to Minnesota and has enjoyed his time there it seems. He was not seeing regular minutes in Boston like he is Minnesota. Therefore the young forward has thrived. Donato has 2 goals and 7 assists in 11 games. Also to note he had 2 goals and 5 assists in his first five-games with Minnesota.

Wayne Simmonds: Simmonds was another deadline deal for the Predators and another forward who bolstered their already deep roster and make their power play even more of a threat. Simmonds tough and gritty style is much needed when it comes playoff time. Simmonds has played in 7 games with the Predators and only has one assists so far. The Predators are also 3-4 since adding both Granlund and Simmonds.

Kevin Hayes: The Jets big deadline acquisition was adding depth down the middle and to their already stacked offense. Hayes was enjoying a career year in New York. He was sent to Winnipeg at the deadline and has played in 8 games, in those eight games he has 2 goals and 2 assists. The Jets are also 4-4 since acquiring Hayes.

Jake Muzzin: Muzzin was not a deadline deal but was a big trade that was around the deadline time frame. He has spent already a month on the time and has played in 21 games for the Leafs. In those 21 games the Leafs are 13-6-2 in that span, Muzzin has 2 goals and 10 assists with a +5 rating.

Nick Bjugstad/Jared McCann: The two came as a package, that is why they are together. McCann has surprisingly been the more successful one in Pittsburgh but Bjugstad still has been of significance to the team. Bjugstad has 7 goals and 4 assists in 21 games. McCann has 9 goals and 4 assists in 21 games. McCann’s share has come in the last nine games where has collected 6 goals and four assists. Bjugstad’s production has been spread out pretty evenly during his time in Pittsburgh though.

Pittsburgh Penguins 2018-19

HBK Line 2.0; McCann-Crosby-Guentzel..

Something a lot of fans do not talk about is Jake Guentzel. The 3rd round 77th overall in the 2013 NHL draft. Guentzel emerged in 2016-2017 when he scored 16 goals with 33 points in 40 games and continued his tear in the playoffs scoring 21 points in 25 games. The next season Guentzel scored 48 points, 22 goals in 82 games.

Since Guentzel emergence in the NHL he has been able to form a bond with captain Sidney Crosby and the two have been near inseparable since Guentzel joined Pittsburgh in 2016-17. Crosby and Guentzel had solid 2017-18 playoff runs but fell short. They struggled to find a third line mate all season but after the Jared McCann and Nick Bjugstad trade it seems they have found their third partner to help rally the Penguins.

One thing a lot of people credit the Penguins success to is Sidney Crosby byt Jake Guentzel has certainly been the main focal point of that lines success or could be an argument for being a major contributor to that McCann-Crosby-Guentzel success.

This season a lot of people clearly knew about Guentzel after his amazing playoff appearances and first 40 games in the NHL. But, not many fans had him on their radar as a potential 40+ goal scorer. On the year Guentzel has 36 goals in 71 games along with 68 points. Since the emergence of Jared McCann Guentzel has been on-fire, along with McCann himself. Since the February 1st acquisition of McCann, Guentzel has 12 goals in 21 games. The two paired up only a few games ago and since McCann has moved on the line of Guentzel and Crosby the three have propelled the Penguins to a top-three divisional spot and now definite playoff contenders.

Guentzel has not received the necessary praise due to McCann catching fire plus anytime you play with Crosby it is hard to stand out. Since February 19th Guentzel has 8 goals and 6 assists over 12-games. McCann has 5 goals and 4 assists in 12 games and Crosby has 8 goals and 12 assists in 12-games. The HBK line that helped surge the Penguins to their 2015-16 Stanley Cup could be in the making once again, this time with Guentzel-Crosby-McCann. They do not have a witty name like the HBK line but this trio could possibly be a huge deal breaker for the Penguins come playoff time.

Right now the Penguins are looking to be playing the Islanders. Their first round will not be an easy opponent no matter what but with the veteran ship of the Penguins and now their offense finally starting to pick up they could be a force to be wrecking with come April…

Eastern Conference Wild Card Race

Predicting Eastern Conference Wild Card Teams

The Eastern Conference Wild Card race is extremely close and looking to come down to the wire. As of now the Hurricanes have the first spot (83 pts), Blue Jackets second spot (81 pts) tied with Montreal (81 pts) with the Flyers at 76 points.

As of now there are 12 games remaining for the Blue Jackets and Canadiens, and 13 remaining for the Hurricanes and Flyers. Let’s take a look at each teams schedule.

Carolina Hurricanes playoff outlook

The Hurricanes have 8 home games remaining and 5 away games remaining. The Hurricanes are 18-11-4 at home and 20-13-3 on the road. The host the Sabres, Penguins, Lightning, Wild, Canadiens, Capitals, Flyers and Devils. On the road vs the Blue Jackets, Capitals, Penguins, Leafs, Flyers. The Hurricanes play 8 playoff contending or definite playoff teams. They play two non-playoff teams (Devils, Sabres) in which they are 2-0 vs Buffalo and 1-2 vs New Jersey this season. Grading the Hurricanes strength of schedule one being easy, ten being difficult. We can probably agree on a 7.5/8 for them. The Lightning, Capitals, Penguins are top teams in the NHL. The Blue Jackets and Canadiens are going to be two blood bath games with the playoff implications it will hold. The Hurricanes can pull out 18 of the 26 potential points. Pushing them to 101 points on the season (around that mark of 99-101).

Columbus Blue Jackets have four home games remaining and seven away games remaining. The Blue Jackets 19-16-2 at home and 20-12-1 on the road. Clearly they play a lot better on the road, so seven road games may help. The Blue Jackets have Carolina, Boston, Flames, Edmonton, Islanders, Canadiens, Canucks, Nashville, Buffalo, Boston, Rangers, Ottawa. The Blue Jackets may have the easiest schedule of the four potential wild card teams. Columbus play five non-playoff teams and six playoff teams. Therefore the five non-playoff games should be a guaranteed two points at this point in the season. The Blue Jackets should definitely get 10 points there making it 91 on the season and probably pull out a few wins vs the playoff teams they play. Blue Jackets should finish with 100-102 points. There strength of schedule is a six.

Montreal has six road games and six home games remaining. The Canaidens have a 20-11-4 home record and 17-15-3 record on the road. The Canadiens play the Islanders, Blackhawks, Flyers, Islanders, Sabres, Hurricanes, Panthers, Blue Jackets, Jets, Lightning, Capitals, Leafs. The Canadiens have nine game vs playoff teams and three games vs non playoff teams. With potential of 24 points the Canadiens will take 12 points in my opinion possibly more. Pushing them to 93 points, they can probably get around 95-96 points but the Canadiens have a very tough schedule and have not been playing all that well lately. I would say they have a 8 strength of schedule, their non playoff teams they play are no slumps too which makes it more difficult.

Philadelphia Flyers have seven home games remaining and six road games remaining. They have a 18-13-4 home record and 16-14-4 road record. The Flyers play 10 playoff teams and three non-playoff teams. They play two extremely hot and hungry Western Conference teams at the end of the year and the Capitals two times, Penguins once and Rangers at the end of the year who will not go down lightly. The Flyers have a potential 26 points on the board. I see them taking possibly half of those points or more. I see the Flyers finishing with 96 points or less. They have the most difficult schedule for sure with a 8.5 strength of schedule. Plus they are already 5-7 points behind the two wild card teams right now therefore they will need to win 2-3 more games more than the other teams do which is not going to be easy.

Prediction: Hurricanes and Blue Jackets.

Alexander Georgiev

Rangers Alexander Georgiev Proving To Be A Possible #1 In New York

The Rangers recorded yet another loss in extended regulation play. Of the Rangers past 10 games they have lost in a shootout or overtime in five of them. The Rangers dropped a close 3-2 game to the Edmonton Oilers Monday night.

Aside from the Rangers 69th point and 13th overtime loss on the season, Alexander Georgiev the Rangers back up (or is he a backup?) goalie played another tremendous game in between the pipes. Georgiev turned away 30 of the 33 shots he faced in the Oilers game. Aside from the Oilers power play goal and extremely controversial goalie interference goal in the first period. Georgiev shut the door in the second and third period.

Georgiev pushed aside the Oilers 14 second period shots and 10 third period shots. These were not basic saves either, Georgiev was making desperation saves, keeping the Rangers in the game and a sole reason they even picked up a point Monday night.

This was not the only game we have seen Georgiev play well and be the difference maker for the Rangers this season. In his last five starts Georgiev has allowed 12 goals on 118 shots. On the season Georgiev has a 10-11-3 record, 3.03 save percentage and .907 save percentage.

His most recent loss vs Dallas, Georgiev showed excellence yet again. Making 31 saves in a Rangers 1-0 loss. Or perhaps his 55 save performance vs Toronto when the Rangers won on February 10th. His 24 save performance vs the Islanders on January 12th. Or when he shutout the Islanders on November 21st making 29 saves leading the Rangers to their first win in eight games vs the Islanders.

Georgiev has strung together some unreal games this season. The only issue we have seen in his game. When he lets in 2-3 goals early he often continues down that road and blows up for 5+ goals against. It is not all his fault for allowing 5+ goals in five games this season and four goals against in four games this season. But aside from a few bad games, Georgiev has shown that in two or more years he has the potential to be a #1 goaltender for the Rangers.

With the Rangers splitting time between Lundqvist and Georgiev it has given him a major confidence booster. This is only a positive as it is something to look forward on a down year for fans. If Georgiev continues to play this way it will relieve a ton of stress and anxiety from fans when Lundqvist retires and the Rangers need a number one.

DeSean Jackson Eagles

Philadelphia Eagles Off-Season Moves

The Philadelphia Eagles have been quite active over the last week or more. The biggest question was what they were going to do with Nick Foles. That has been answered. But, aside from Foles the Eagles have been making moves in the right and wrong direction.

Additions: Jackson, Peters back, Malik Jackson

The Eagles traded for former WR DeSean Jackson to bring the beloved Eagles received back to the city of Philadelphia. The Eagles added some speed on the wide out that will open the field up for Carson Wentz and give him a deep threat. Aside from Jackson’s from his age of 32, Jackson still has upside to his game. Jackson has 589 catches for 10,261 yards, averaging 17.4 yards per catch, and 53 touchdowns. Of those numbers, he recorded 356 catches for 6,117 yards and 32 touchdowns with the Eagles. The Eagles received DeSean Jackson and a 2020 7th round pick for a 2019 sixth round pick.

Eagles sign back big-time tackle Jason Peters. This will be Peters 11th season with the Eagles. Peters is 37-years-old and only signed a one-year deal, assuming that this may be his last NFL season. Peters is guaranteed 5.5 million dollars, this will be his 16th NFL season total.

Malik Jackson signs with the Eagles for 3-years, 30 million dollars. Jackson is 29-years-old a proven veteran who made his splash in 2016 and 2017 where he recorded 14.5 sacks in 32 games. Last season Jackson played in 16 games but started in 10 of them and recorded 3.5 sacks all season.

Subtractions: Nick Foles, Michael Bennett

Nick Foles, the Super Bowl MVP, the reason the Eagles had a run in the playoffs in 2019 and brought a championship to the city of Philadelphia has officially left the Eagles. Foles signed a 4-year $88 million deal. Foles will seemingly be the starter in Jacksonville as the Jaguars have transitioned away from Blake Bortles. Foles will now move to the AFC, going to a relatively weaker division than what he was exposed to in Philadelphia. Foles had 1,413 passing yards, 7 touchdowns and 4 interceptions in 2018 but has 11,165 yards, 68 touchdowns, 33 interceptions and 88.5 passer rating in his career.

Michael Bennett was traded to the Patriots. Bennett had 34 combined tackles, 25 total tackles and 9 sacks last season. The Eagles received the Patriots 2020 fifth round pick. This is a major loss for the Eagles.

Still to sign…

Ronald Darby, Golden Tate, Nelson Aghlor, Jordan Hicks,