Tag: Blueshirt nation blog

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.

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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.

A Look At The New York Rangers Upcoming Road Trip

The New York Rangers have touched down in Denver, Colorado to begin their three-game road trip. The Rangers are coming into this road trip having dropped three of their last ten in regulation but another four in overtime/shootout. The Rangers have won just three games in their last ten games and to make matters worse they are not a favorable road team. Posting a 6-10-2 record on the road, and of their last ten games four have come on the road, in which they have lost two and won two (Nashville, St. Louis). Despite a big win in Nashville the other week, the Rangers have not done a great job in terms of scoring. In their last ten they have averaged, 2.3 goals per game, while allowing 3.3 goals per game. Sure, Penguins scoring seven Wednesday night does not help the case but even so they still have allowed 2.89 goals per game.

The Rangers head to Colorado Friday night, a team that is struggling greatly, on a six-game skid, 2-5-3 in their last ten and not playing the Colorado hockey we saw earlier in the year. They then travel to Arizona Sunday for an afternoon game vs a team that is subpar at home (7-12-1 at the moment) and cap the trip with one of the better home teams and best team of the three in this trip, Vegas Tuesday night. Vegas has lost three games at home this season (at the moment 13-3-3) and is starting to become the team we saw go on a immaculate run last season.

The big takeaway for this Rangers team and this road trip is be better than last road trip which they lost 2 of 3 and two of those games lost were to the leagues worst. Point two, how this young team responds to a rather difficult task at hand. This is not bizarre to see a team travel for three-straight away games but they get rest and a day in between each game yet with this young line up we will see how they fair in the thick of the schedule.

I would honestly expect the Rangers to take 2 of 3 this trip, the Avalanche struggling a win Friday is possible, a win in Arizona is more than possible and a loss to Vegas is likely. But at the same time the Rangers could lose all three, get a struggling Colorado team that needs a win badly, an Arizona team that is no cake-walk and the best home team in the NHL in Vegas. It will be interesting, that is why as writers we just sit here, drink a beer, relax and let the players do the playing.

Players to watch…

Kevin Hayes, Hayes is coming off a 8-point streak that was snapped vs St. Louis December 31st but this season Hayes has been one of the Rangers overall best players. He has 10 goals, 23 assists in 39 games and has honestly been the most noticeable and all around best player for the Rangers this season.

Neal Pionk-Marc Staal combination, the Rangers number one d-pairing has been to the test this season and it has been very surprising to see Staal’s game elevated this season and Pionk rise to the occasion. Pionk has 5 goals and 14 assists on the season with a -2 plus/minus rating and 12 power play points While Staal has 3 goals and 7 assists (already surpassed his total of 8 pts from last year) with a +1 plus/minus and zero power play points.

Chris Kreider, the 20 goal scorer has been involved in every Rangers scoring play it seems this year. Kreider has finally started to use his speed and quick shot to his advantage this year and keeping his game a little simpler than he has in years past. It will be interesting to see how Kreider comes out this trip.

Dan Quinn, the Rangers new head coach and former college coach has taken this team above expectations thus far, posting a 17-15-7 (41 points) record, eight points behind the last wild card spot and not dead last in the division or conference. He has head-scratching moments when he constantly shifts lines, dresses Cody McLeod more often than not, plays Filip Chytil on the fourth line, etc. But overall he has done a good job but this road trip will be a nice test for the young head coach and we’ll see how he can rally the troops to play on the road for three-straight.

Rangers upcoming schedule after road trip before All-Star break: 

New York Islanders @ MSG

New York Islanders @ Coliseum

Columbus Blue Jackets @ Nation Wide Arena

Carolina Hurricanes @ MSG

Chicago Blackhawks @ MSG

Boston Bruins @ TD Garden

 

 

Rangers earn 13th win over Ottawa Senators off goals from Andersson, Staal and Kreider

The New York Rangers people, sure it was a win over the Ottawa Senators but it is extremely satisfying to see this team score goals and have it done by people of all different names. As well as seeing this team play as a unit, everyone chip in and never give up or look out of it. 

The Rangers picked up their 13th win of the year vs the Ottawa Senators at Madison Square Garden winning 4-2. It was a back and forth game until the end. The Rangers and Senators combined for 64 shots on net total, Rangers with 33, Senators with 31, neither team scored a power play goal as the Rangers went 0/4 and Senators 0/2. Despite the numerous turnovers between the two, the Rangers managed to pull ahead in this game and take control of third place in the Metropolitan division. 

First period scoring

Tonight’s scoring led off with Marc Staal (1). The play originally starts with a Staal shot that got blocked into the corner, Staal followed his shot kicked it to Mika Zibanejad behind the net, as Zib walked the front, Staal was back door waiting for a one-timer, where he netted the first goal of the game and of the year for him. The second goal of the game and the Senators first to tie it at one a piece was off the only Senator goal scorer of the night. Mark Stone, who led the rush in the zone and made a beautiful saucer pass to Brady Tkachuk coming in late to the zone, Tkachuk just threw it to the net as Stone cleaned up garbage for his 10th of the year. There was nothing in the second period just an even period where both teams registered 9 shots on net. 

Third period scoring

The third opened with nothing in the first 3.5 minutes until the Rangers struck first to make it 2-1 off a Lias Andersson goal and Ryan Strome assist. Music to Rangers fan ears. Andersson scored his first of the year off Strome’s second assist with the Rangers. This was an odd goal as it came off a shot from and just happened to bank off Andersson’s back and just like that the Rangers went up 2-1. Not a pretty way to score your first of the year but a goal is a goal for the young Rangers forward. The next goal was the Rangers to make it 3-1, off a two on one, Filip Chytil with Chris Kreider a simple, saucer pass over the defenseman right on Kreider’s stick made it 3-1 and Kreider’s 13th of the year, as well as the game winning goal. Senators scored late but it would not be enough. Mark Stone scored his second of the night but the Rangers would eventually score an empty netter to seal the deal and make it 4-2. 

Rangers can thank Henrik Lundqvist for his 29 save performance helping the Rangers get their 13th win and Hank’s 9th win of the year. Lundqvist improves to 9-7-2 on the year and a .927 save percentage. The Rangers hit the road to play in Ottawa on Thursday and Montreal on Saturday before returning home to face the Jets on Sunday. 

All around a gritty win for the Rangers getting insurance from Andersson, Staal and having their top performers show up when they need it most is exactly what has made the Rangers successful. The Rangers top players are there when they need them, Lundqvist is playing great and their role players are chipping in when it is needed. Another win, and another Ranger prospect making a mark on the game.

New York Rangers; Rebuilding update through thirteen games

The real reason I am here to write this article is for multiple reasons. I will come out and admit I am a long-time Rangers supporter, I’ve watched them for now nearly 14 years, I’ve seen them through their lows and highs like the Stanley Cup final loss. I am a die-hard hockey fan, but also more importantly a very realistic and down to earth hockey fan. I am not your typical Ranger fan though. You may be imagining a stuck up, New York accent screaming “remember 2014 bro” fan you are thinking of. I will be the first to admit when the Rangers are struggling and right now they are. But the big reason I am here is because how cynical and disloyal some Rangers fans are. Listen and hear me out.

New York Rangers rebuild…

The Rangers hired a college coach, a Boston University coach, someone with no NHL experience as their head coach. This was for the reason to yes develop young players and get the rebuild going. I don’t think anyone had expectations of this team being a playoff team this season (2018-19) year and many fans knew it would be a rough and bumpy season. The part that disappoints me is that after a win vs the Ducks Thursday night and coming off a win vs the Sharks Tuesday night, Ranger fans were clearly not happy.

Head Coach David Quinn has scratched Pavel Buchnevich two games in a row and played Filip Chytil 10:05 in the game vs Anaheim Thursday and 8:53 vs San Jose Tuesday night. After seeing the minutes Chytil played Ranger fans and blog reporters turned to the internet and wrote articles like “Dan Quinn is failing Filip Chytil” this type of knee jerk reaction is what makes me scratch my head. What did Rangers fan expect? If the kid is not playing well to see 18 minutes a game? I understand the rebuild part but you don’t go into games and lose every game as a first year head coach, you still need to be competitive. The fact Quinn has taken two on the road now this week is a good sign. It is 13 games into the season, Chytil is in dry spell right now he will bounce out of it and Quinn will play him the minutes all fans want to see.

You need to take a breather and watch something. The article only gets more brutally honest.

Another reason I am writing this article is because before the game Thursday night Larry Brooks the reporter for the Rangers tweeted

“Buchnevich remains out of the lineup. Quinn said players who were in for victory at San Jose deserve to get another shot, “for their effort”.”

Brooks exaggerated the quote a little with the quotation marks over “for their effort”, indicating it to be a comical comment(in my opinion). To me, I don’t see the wrong in this, your team won against what is to be the best in the Western Conference therefore the guys who played that game obviously did something correct therefore they get another look next game and see what they can do. I think that is called playing the hand you have and giving everyone an opportunity. Fans are making it seem like Buchnevich has been scratched for 13 games straight, its an 82 game season people he will play. We have seen the guy for three years now and he is not showing anyone in the Rangers organization a reason to be a consistent player in the line up year in and year out everyone comes in with high hopes for Buchnevich and he does not live up to expectations.

After that tweet from Brooks fans started tweeting at him stuff like…

“4th line duty for Chytil. He will get his usual 8 minutes. Rebuilding is different with the Rangers.”

“The problem here is he was way to hyped way too much before he got here, and so far hasn’t really shown any consistency at the NHL level.” (Assuming this is Buchnevich)

“I agree, I’m almost at the point where I want him to be traded and flourish elsewhere so that the Rangers can see how badly he was managed in NY.”

“Yeah let’s continue to play bums instead of a struggling prospect. He will learn so much from the bench. AV 2.0.”

“Brotha. We need to lose every game and trade everybody in the pro. Cess. Wtf u talkin about.” 

To be fair, I did see some comments stating that Buchnevich is not ready for the NHL, he doesn’t show consistency ever and he is just not gelling in NY right now. As well as comments like “yup, that’s my coach. #accountability #bebetter” But a majority of these fans either one think Buchnevich is some Wayne Gretzky that is sitting on the bench and Quinn is doing this purposefully to torture the kid or that he should be traded and out of New York. Ranger fans are known for their knee jerk reactions, with very little logic/knowledge about the game. If you are not a Rangers fan, and from the NY area you probably joke about Madison Square Garden being filed with “suit fans” who just come to games because their company had tickets. Tons of suit fans screaming “shoot” while the shooter has 2 defenders in front of him is exactly how you imagine Ranger fans.

New York Rangers rebuild 2018-19Anyways back to Buchnevich, I agree with Quinn here, Buch is a player that does not show consistency and just seems to be the player who can easily be edged due to his effort and what he brings to the table, put someone else in and try something new. As for Chytil, people the kid is not an Elias Pettersson, all NYR fans are way to high on this kid and think he is going to be like a Pettersson or other top NHL prospect. Ranger fans they stretched on taking Chytil in 2017 at 21st overall. The kid is 19-years-old he is not going to be a Matt Barzal, Auston Matthews, Patrick Laine, Brock Boeser, Alex Wennberg, etc and come in at 18-y/o and dominate. He needs sometime to adjust and get used to the speed, not to mention he is a 6’2 around 190 lbs, once he gets some size, confidence and more experience at the  NHL level, he’ll be fine. Drop your expectations for these players and here’s your reality check. Buchnevich is not as great as everyone thought he was going to be, he showed an inconsistent pace since he has come into the league, he shows some great signs in the offensive end, moving with the puck, creating offense an using his size/speed but then there are times when he has nothing. Chytil has played a total of 22 NHL games, relax. He is a second rounder who we stretched to in the first round. He will come around and do just fine. He showed great development in Hartford last season and now is adjusting to a whole different nature.

This rebuild will take time, the more you jump the ship on your coach and put him down and don’t trust what he is doing the longer this process will be. They have great talent coming up and brewing right now, they are playing competitive also which is a great sign. On top of that all, they are getting used to this rebuild phase, Quinn is a brand new NHL coach he will make mistakes and he will learn from them. Relax, NYR fans, enjoy the rebuild and stay off Twitter some of you, sheesh.