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OTG POLL

How will the Rangers do this season?

Win the Cup
Cup Finalist
Division Finalist
Playoffs
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RUMOR MILL

Wednesday - February 10th

Bob Mackenzie was on the intermission tonight in the Bruins - Rangers game and said that there are still teams interested in Tony DeAngelo, but that maybe it'll take a little distance from his recent incident for a deal to get made.

Part of the reported hesitation has been over potential backlash from the fanbase and local media to an acquisition from prospective teams, and with time, any heat would be mitigated a little.

No doubt things will mellow a little over time, but if you're a team/GM willing to make the move, then you're probably going to have to deal with a certain level of backlash, should you make the acquisition...as well as risk

  MORE RUMORS...
 INJURY REPORT
Filip Chytil 2/25
Chytil skated for the first time today, though appears like he won't be ready for tomorrow. Oh yeah, he also had COVID while he was out.
 
Jacob Trouba 2/23
Skated this morning, but still weeks away from a return
 
Kaapo Kakko 2/20
Placed in NHL COVID Prtotocol
 
  MORE INJURY NEWS...
SEPTEMBER 24TH, 2014
CAPTION THIS
Read the submissions so far and see if you can come up with the best caption for today's photo

Best Of:
2014-15 ~ 2013-14
2012-13 ~ 2011-12
2010-11 ~ 2009-10


Question Of The Day

September 29th, 2017

How many rostered players were on the ice for opening night 2016-17

Answer...
  BIRTHDAYS

Eddie Johnstone - 1954
Peter Andersson - 1962
Darren Turcotte - 1968
Joby Messier - 1970
Henrik Lundqvist - 1982

  SEARCH BIRTHDAYS
  RANDOM RANGER

PETER POPOVIC
(1998-1999)
  Born: Feb 10 - 1968  
  Pos: Defense  
  GP: 68  
  G: 1  
  A: 4  
  Pts: 5  
  PIMs: 40  
 
Antti Raanta will start in Boston

Time To Take This Show On The Road
Posted by Toby Ivey ≡ 3:12:29 PM - November 4, 2016

The Rangers are off to a flying 8-3-0 record, and are second in the league with 16 points.  They've won six of their last seven, and have dismantled some good teams in the process, including the Capitals, Lightning, Blues and the surprising Oilers last night.  In the process they've put together a 7-1-0 record at MSG, with the only a 2-1 defeat to the Detroit Red Wings.

By contrast the Blueshirts have only had to play three games on the road, with .  Their 1-2-0 record is identical to the Chicago Blackhawks, who along with the Rangers, have played the fewest road games of any team in the league.

The heavily weighted schedule has no doubt been a boon to the team early in the year.  MSG has become a tough place for opponents to win in the past three seasons, with New York posting a 59-22-9 record going back to the 2014-15 season.  On the road over the same period, they've been a respectable 48-30-7 though most of that was a result of their team record 28-11-2 in 2014-15.

With the schedule the way it is - only seven of the remaining thirtten games this month are on the road - the Rangers have a chance to continue to build momentum and avoid the slump that saw their fast start undone a year ago.

If you will recall, the Blueshirts raced out to a 16-3-2 record in their first twenty games, but finished out the calendar year with a 6-6-2 streak that undone much of their good work.  The change in pace ultimately pushed them into the middle of the playoff race, and a first round match-up against the red hot Penguins.

Certainly this year's team has a number of differences, most obviously lead by an offense that is firing on all cylinders.  The team leads the league with 4.09 goals per game, is generating three more shots per game than last season, and has a +20 goal differential, good enough for a share of the league lead with Montreal.  Note: 5 of the 45 goals scored were into an empty net, and excluding them would drop the average down to 3.63 a game, still healthy.

The ability for the team to score across the line-up has been a key component of the Rangers success, with no fewer than eight players on pace for 29 goals or more in the season.  Nine players are on pace for 60+ points this season, which would be unprecedented on the team.

And remarkably, there's still room for improvement.  Mika Zibanejad has just two goals in his first eleven games as a Ranger, and has had more than his share of near misses.  Derek Stepan has no goals yet, unusual for a consistent 20 goal scorer, and on the blueline only last year's maligned duo of Marc Staal and Dan Girardi have tallied for a total of three goals in the season to date.

Despite these inidividual areas, history tells us the overall pace is not sustainable, and with 39 of the remaining 71 games on the road, you'd expect some moderation to occur over the course of the season.

Which brings us to the defensive side of the equation.  Remarkably the Rangers sit fifth in the league in goals allowed, with just 2.27 goals given up each game, even while they've allowed three or more goals in five of the contest to date.  To put that into perspective, they allowed three or more in just five of the first twenty one games last season when you exclude shootout losses.

In two of those instances - against the Islanders and Sharks - the Rangers already had three goal leads and perhaps eased up a little allowing their opposition to add one or two bonus goals, while two others came against offensively gifted teams in the Capitals and Oilers.

Last year's hot start was largely backstopped by the performance of Henrik Lundqvist, who stopped an impressive 94.9% of the shots he faced, while allowing just 1.67 goals a game.  This year he's below his career average with just a 91.3% save percentage and a close to career average of 2.24 goals a game.

The difference is mostly a direct reflection of the way Lundqvist is playing, and if the offense should drop off, it would become an area of concern.  That's not to say it's all on Lundqvist, the Rangers have depressed the shot count from 30.4 last year to 26.6 this year, ranking them fourth in the NHL, which often has the effect of hurting a goalie's save percentage.  They're also generating more offensive pressure in the oppoition zone, with a three shot improvement the other way, keeping the puck out of the defensive zone for longer periods.

Add to that, a league leading fewest penalty minutes per game - 6:38 - which is almost two minutes fewer per game, and a forward unit that is better committed to coming back, and the Rangers are finding a way to get the job done.

There's little question that the Rangers - and Lundqvist - will be looking for improvements as the ratio of road games increases.  The pressure will increase on the road to play more conservatively to counter the modest advantages that a home team has.

If Lundqvist, and Raanta to a lesser extent, can ramp up the goaltending, then the team has an insurance policy that can sustain themr through the inevitable return to a more sustainable scoring level.  Lundqvist has done it before, but at 34 years old, it's getting to the time of his career when people start wondering how much longer he can be an elite goaltender.

The Rangers depth on offense has relieved the pressure early on, and may yet represent his best chance at the elusive title he came to North America to secure.



Profile of the Author:
Has been an active follower of the New York Rangers since the 1996-97 season. Began OutsideTheGarden.com in 2001, and has continued to collect data and provide analysis on the team through to the current day.

 Additional stories from Toby Ivey:


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