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OTG POLL

What do you think of the Rangers season so far?

Quite surprised
Modestly surprised
As expected
Worse than expected
Terrible

Previous Polls
 INJURY REPORT
Mats Zuccarello 11/19
Remains out for tonight against the Stars
 
Pavel Buchnevich 11/12
Broke his thumb in game against the Blue Jackets, will likely be back around Christmas to New Year's
 
Adam McQuaid 10/26
Left game in second period and did not return
 
  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

RUMOR MILL

Tuesday - October 25th

Either Josh Jooris (New York Daily News) or Dylan McIlrath are likely to find themselves on waivers when Pavel Buchnevich returns from back spasms.

The team is expected to cut the roster down to 22 players, and as such one of the two will need to be either moved or sent down.

  MORE RUMORS...

Question Of The Day

September 29th, 2017

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

Answer...
  BIRTHDAYS

John MacLean - 1964

  SEARCH BIRTHDAYS
  RANDOM RANGER

MAXIM GALANOV
(1997-1998)
  Born: Mar 13 - 1974  
  Pos: Defense  
  GP: 6  
  G: 0  
  A: 1  
  Pts: 1  
  PIMs: 2  
 
Rick Nash has begum scoring as the team got going

Better, But More Work To Do
Posted by Toby Ivey ≡ 5:14:47 PM - November 14, 2017

Eighteen games in, and the New York Rangers find themselves back in the mix for a playoff spot.  It's only early days, but the 2-8-2 record through the first 12 games really put them on the back foot and called into question the future of Head Coach Alain Vigneault, General Manager Jim Gorton and franchise netminder Henrik Lundqvist.

Were the Rangers done after a twelve year stretch where they missed the playoffs only once, and that by a single point in a shootout loss on the last day of the season? 

As it turns out, maybe not quite yet, thanks to a 6-0-0 run that includes wins over the league leading Tampa Bay Lightning in Tampa, as well as the expansion Vegas Golden Knights, who currently have the fifth best points per game of any team in the league.

The defense and goaltending remain a work in progress however, with the team giving up the lead on seven occasions over the six game streak, though conversely they have come back from deficits an equal number of times, lead primarily by their power play which has converted 8 of the 19 opportunities it has been presented.  In fact the power play has become such a critical part of the offense, registering two goals or more on six occasiosn this year, three times in the last six games. 

At the same time, the penalty kill has killed off 13 of the 14 shorthanded scenarios they've faced, a distinct improvement over the previous twelve games, where the Rangers allowed 10 goals on 45 penalties for a kill percentage of just 77.78%.

The margin for error for this team still remains small however, and that's where the challenge lies.  The 35 year old Henrik Lundqvist has been responsible for all six of the Ranger wins, with Ondrej Pavelec remaining as a question mark backup.  With a 1-3-0 record in four appearances - three starts - Pavelec is yet to prove he can be a reliable goaltender to spell Lundqvist.  His 3.64 Goals Against and .877 save percentage are a far cry from the performances of Antti Raanta and Cam Talbot, the two most recent baclkups for New York.

It's certainly not fair to put all the blame on Pavelec, as the defense has been a step below this year Brendan Smith struggling to find his game, and Kevin Shattenkirk a fair downgrade on the defensive side of the puck.  Ryan McDonagh's own struggles have contributed to a number of goals against, while sophomore Brady Skjei has yet to find the form that he displayed last year.

Perhaps what's more concerning, is that these same challenges were evident last Spring, when the Rangers struggled to hold leads late in games, especially against the Senators who ultimately made them pay the price by eliminating the Blueshirts.  Dispatching Dan Girardi and adding Shattenkirk has only amplified the results, and one wonders what will happen once the current offensive purple patch comes to an end.

Just twice this year, and once over the past six games, have the Rangers held their opposition to two goals or less, their 2-0 win over Montreal early on, and the 2-1 OT win against the Tampa Bay Lightning.  Meanwhile, New York has scored two goals or fewer in seven of the eighteen games played this season for a record of 2-5-0.

In games where they've allowed three or more goals, they're 3-7-2, though they did win their last two against Florida (5-4 OT) and Columbus (5-3).

Ultimately the Rangers have worked themselves back into a position where they can reclaim their season after a dismal start.  They sit right in the middle 16th position in terms of Standing Points per Game with 55.60% attaintment rate after 18, and just one point behid the Blue Jackets, Capitals and Penguins who sit tied for second in the Metropolitan Division.

It's hard though to keep winning streaks alive, and ultimately it's what the team does after they next lose, or are faced with a tough defensive game which will better define what they have this year.  The final seven games of November are a mixed bag of teams who have moderate records.  The Senators, Red Wings and Blue Jackets all currently sit in playoff spots, but have 21, 18 and 21 points respectively compared to the 20 that New York has.  

Chicago, Vancouver and Carolina are each just two points behind, but the latter two have 1 and 2 games respectively in hand.  Florida is the only "easy" game, but took New York to OT in their only meeting this season, a game in which both teams gave up the lead on two occasions.

Of the seven, only the Ottawa Senators really are in any sort of form, and as such the Rantgers should be looking for at least 10 of the 14 points on offer.  Anything less and the team runs the risk of giving one of the many other similarly placed teams an opportunity to get ahead again.



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:


YOUR COMMENTS

 
November 19th, 2018
MADISON SQUARE GARDEN
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0 1 1 2
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SECOND PERIOD: 1. DAL Seguin (Lindell,Spezza) DAL 1-0   2. NYR Vesey (Staal,Howden) Tied 1-1    THIRD PERIOD: 3. NYR Chytil (Smith) NYR 2-1   
Boxscore Game Thread
  HEADLINES
young-talent-continues-to-make-...
- The Athletic 11/7

Rangers rookie showed his worth...
- New York Post 11/7

What Rangers Lack In Skill, The...
- WFAN 11/7

Brady Skjei's finish makes up f...
- New York Newsday 10/12

Brett Howden is starting to sho...
- The Athletic 10/12

Rangers Rookie Brett Howden Tur...
- WFAN 10/12

Rangers reaction to first win p...
- New York Post 10/12

David Quinn picks up first Rang...
- New York Post 10/11

No goalie controversy here, des...
- The Athletic 10/11

How David Quinns tackling a per...
- New York Post 10/11

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  NEXT GAMES
Wednesday Nov 21st
7:00pm - Home

Friday Nov 23rd
1:00pm - Road

Saturday Nov 24th
2:00pm - Home

Monday Nov 26th
7:00pm - Home

Thursday Nov 29th
7:30pm - Road

Saturday Dec 1st
7:00pm - Road

Sunday Dec 2nd
6:00pm - Home

Saturday Dec 8th
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Complete Schedule
  STANDINGS
  Team GP W L OT Pts  
  Maple Leafs 21 15 6 0 30  
  Lightning 21 14 6 1 29  
  Sabres 21 13 6 2 28  
  Blue Jackets 21 12 7 2 26  
  Canadiens 21 11 6 4 26  
  Rangers 21 11 8 2 24  
  Bruins 20 11 6 3 25  
  Capitals 20 10 7 3 23  
  Islanders 19 10 7 2 22  
  Hurricanes 20 9 8 3 21  
  Senators 21 9 9 3 21  
  Flyers 20 9 9 2 20  
  Red Wings 20 9 9 2 20  
  Panthers 18 8 7 3 19  
  Devils 19 8 9 2 18  
  Penguins 19 7 8 4 18  
FULL STANDINGS

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