Chris Kreider 2

November Looks Tougher

As reassuring as October’s schedule was, particularly with the team struggling to get their offense going under Gerard Gallant, November looks somewhat more intimidating.  The Rangers finish off their second four game road trip of this young season, with a swing through Western Canada, and then return to face the red hot Panthers at home.  

Four of their next nine are then against Metropolitan Division rivals, including two against the Islanders and one against the resurgent Devils.  Throw in there a game against Boston and a road trip to Ontario, and the Rangers could be in for a tough time this month.

With thirteen games in twenty seven days, against a stronger line-up, we’re going to go a lot more pessibmistically in this one, with a projected 5-5-3 record.

November 2nd – RANGERS at CANUCKS
The Canucks started the year with a six game road trip, returning home with a 3-2-1 record including a shootout loss to Edmonton and then a win in the shootout over the Flyers.  Since then they’ve gone 0-3-0 at home, losing three consecutive games by a goal.

Thatcher Demko has been their starter in net, and has registed a respectable .924 Save Percentage along with a 2.56 GAA.  The Canucks also have Ranger killing netminder Jaroslav Halak on their roster, and he’s 0-2-0 to start the year despite a .917% Save percentage and a 2.07 GAA.

Former Rangers J.T. Miller leads the Canucks in points, with 1 goal and 8 assists in 9 games, and Bo Horvat leads them in goals with 4.  Off-season acquisition Conor Garland has 3G and 5A, while defenseman Quinn Hughes has 2G and 4A in eight games.

New York has lost three straight to the Canucks, including two straight in Vancouver.  The last victory in B.C. coming back on February 18th, 2018 about a month after the intent to rebuild was announced.  John Gilmour getting the OT winner in a 6-5 contest.

New York is coming into this game on a five game road-win streak, but many of those wins have been unconvincing, relying mostly on the play of Igor Shesterkin.  Rangers coach Gerard Gallant might be tempted to give Alexandar Georgiev another outing against Vancouver, or perhaps more likely he’ll wait to the back to back games in Alberta later in the week.

Prediction: Rangers WIN

November 4th – RANGERS at OILERS
Edmonton cruised through October with a 6-1-0 record in their seven games, and lead the league with 4.14 goals a game, along with the St Louis Blues.  Perhaps more surprisingly, they also rank 10th on the defensive side with a 2.71 goals against average through the first month.

The Oilers have five players who are averaging a point a game, with Connor McDavid going at over two points a game with 16 points, and a goal a game with 7, in his first seven games of the season.  Zach Hyman has fit in well too, recording six goals and an assist in his first seven in his first season with the Oilers, bookending the likes of Leon Draisaitl (13 points), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (10) and Jesse Puljujavi (9).

Mikko Koskinen leads them in net, with a 4-1-0 record on the season, a .934 Save Percentage and 2.26 GAA.  Veteran Mike Smith is 2-0-0 through the first month, and also has a respectable Save Percentage at .920, though he’s given up 3.08 goals against on average.

Most impressively, the Oilers have converted on 11 of their 23 power play opportunities through October, for a ridiculously high 47.8% efficiency rating, almost 13 points better than the second placed Blues.

The Rangers have lost four straight to the Oilers, and last won in Edmonton back in March of 2018 by the score of 3-2.  Alexandar Georgiev posted that win, stopping 35 of 37, while both Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad had goals.

Prediction: Rangers loss

November 5th – RANGERS at FLAMES
Alberta is a tough place to be for visiting teams early in the year, with the two teams a combined 12-2-1 to start the year.  The Flames already beat the Rangers at MSG, in a pretty clinical 5-1 victory.  The Rangers committed nine turnovers in the first period alone, and it ultimately cost them any chance to compete.

While Edmonton will simply blow you away offensively, Calgary will simply outwork you and wait for their opportunity to strike.  With the loss last Monday, the Rangers have now lost four straight to the Flames, having last won in Calgary back in March of 2018 when they beat both Albertan teams.

Perhaps the Rangers have learned a lesson this time around, but after playing Edmonton the night before, it will take a significant effort for them to overcome Darryl Sutter’s Flames.

Prediction: Rangers shootout loss

November 8th – RANGERS v PANTHERS
Florida is off to their best start in franchise history, going 8-0-1 through the month of October, with the solitary loss coming to Boston in the Shootout in their final game.  As good as this team has been, they underwent significant turmoil last week when Joel Quenneville left the organization following revelations of his part in the sexual assault incident in Chicago in 2010.

How the Panthers will do without Quenneville remains to be seen, but it’s clear they have it all going early on in the year, following a pretty good season last year.  Six of the eight wins to date, have come by a margin of two or more goals, with the other two wins coming in OT.

Fourteen players have so far scored goals this season for the Panthers, lead by former Rangers Anthony Duclair with 6.  Offensively the team is averaging 4.00 goals a game, to place fourth in the league through October, whilst on the defensive side they are one spot better, giving up 2.00 goals for the third best in the league.

The Rangers have lost two straight to the Panthers, including a 6-5 shootout loss in November of 2019 at MSG.  This isn’t your father’s Panthers though, and while the Rangers have a 55-33-14 record, including 28-15-4 at home, this team is likely to give the Rangers a lot more troubles.

Prediction: Rangers loss

November 13th – RANGERS at BLUE JACKETS
In their first match-up, the Rangers were coming off a four day break following a 5-1 loss to the Flames, this time they will have had five days without a game.  The Jackets remain a work in progress, and have shown some positive signs under first year coach Brad Larsen, despite several roster changes.  

With a 5-3-0 record through October, and a 4-1-0 record at home – the sole loss coming at the hands of the unbeaten Carolina Hurricanes.  In terms of head to head matchup, the Rangers have won the last two meetings between the two teams, and have also won their last two in Ohio.

Prediction: Rangers WIN

November 14th – RANGERS v DEVILS
The Rangers dominated the Devils last year, winning six in a row after losing the first two.  Like the Rangers, the Devils are searching for a way back to the playoffs after just one appearance four years ago – a 1st round loss, in the last nine years.

This year they added Dougie Hamilton to help with the offense, and through October he had the joint lead on the team with 6 points in 7 games, including 2 power play assists.  Having Nico Hischier back in the line-up after playing just 21 games last season.  Offensively, the Devils have taken a collective approach this year, averaging 3.00 goals a game, with 10 different goal scorers through seven games.

Defensively though, they still have some struggles, and sit just below the middle of the league with 3.00 goals against, and a PK that has allowed 7 goals on 25 shorthanded opportunities.  That places them 27th after the first month.

In net, off-season acquisition Jonathan Bernier is a perfect 3-0-0 to start the year, posting a .923 Save Percentage and a 2.32 GAA.  With Mackenzie Blackwood having missed the first month, the Devils have had a tough time with their back-up, Scott Wedgewood and Nico Daws combining for 1-2-1 and goals against average north of 3.

Prediction: Rangers loss in overtime

November 16th – RANGERS v CANADIENS
New York ground out a win in Montreal in the first matchup between these two teams, keeping the Canadiens winless at the time.  After a month, Montreal has finally won a couple of games, but remains near the bottom of the league after going to the Stanley Cup Finals last season.

With a 2-8-0 record through the first month, Montreal continues to struggle scoring goals, averaging 1.90 which is actually an improvement after the first five games, when they couldn’t even break the 1.00 mark.  It’s hard to see the Canadiens continue to struggle as much as they have, but in this case you still would expect that this is a game the Rangers should win.

Prediction: Rangers WIN

November 18th – RANGERS at MAPLE LEAFS
In their previous matchup, Igor Shesterkin stole a win from the Maple Leafs, holding back 40 of the 41 shots sent his way, and allowing Artemi Panarin to win it 2-1 in OT.  The Leafs have struggled through October, with a 4-4-1 record, surprisingly scoring just at a rate of 2.33 goals.

With the talent this team has, it’s hard to believe that they won’t figure it out, so would have to expect that by the time these two meet again, the Rangers will be facing a changed team.  With that said, the Rangers also have room to improve, and perhaps have the edge in net despite Jack Campbell’s heroics to date.

Prediction: Rangers OT loss

November 20th – RANGERS v SENATORS
Not much was expected of the Senators this season, with the team firmly in rebuild mode, but they did start with two wins in their first three games, but then lost their next three, including that remarkable 3-2 comeback win with less than six minutes remaining.

Can the Rangers go back into Ottawa and pry another 2 points away from them?

Prediction: Rangers WIN

November 21st – RANGERS v SABRES
The first match of the year with a team that was thought to challenge the Arizona Cardinals for worst record in the league.  Buffalo has upset those notions, putting together a 5-2-1 record to start the season, including a win over the defending Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning.  To be fair, the Sabre had an easier schedule in October than most, but they still found ways to win.

The Rangers went 6-1-1 against Buffalo last season, and are 6-0-1 in their last seven.  In fact, they’re 26-8-1 in their last 35 games, going back to 2011.  Expect the Sabres to come back to earth in November though, as they’re a couple of years away from being potentially good again.

Prediction: Rangers WIN

November 24th – RANGERS at ISLANDERS
If Washington was the team that ultimately triggered a reactionary overhaul of the Rangers, then the Islanders and Bruins were the ones that set the stage.  Shutout in four of the eight contests last season, the Rangers had tremendous difficult coping with the pressure game that their Island neighbours took all the way to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Having lost Jordan Eberle and Nick Leddy over the season, the Isles have gotten off to a slower than expected start, going 3-2-2 through the month of October, with an offense that has struggled as much as the Rangers.  

It’s a bit misleading though, as the Islanders have played all of their games to date on the road, as they wait for their new stadium to be opened.  The Islanders will open that stadium the night before against Calgary, and Toronto the next night, before welcoming the Rangers to their new home.

It’s hard to see at this stage how the Rangers will beat the Islanders.  As we saw against the Flames, who in many ways play a similar style, the Blueshirts have yet to figure out how to play patiently against a grinding team.  The Isles are not infallible, and have not been in top form yet, so there’s room for a win here, but the odds are that the Rangers will struggle again.

Prediction: Rangers LOSS

November 26th – RANGERS at BRUINS
Coming into this game, the Rangers carry a 3-7-2 record in their last 12 matchups between the two teams dating back to March 2019, but perhaps surprisingly they are 2-3-1 in Boston during that period.  The Bruins remain mostly a one-line team, but it’s a good one, and they use the other lines to wear you down.

They’re also a team that can appear out of a game and then come back, and though they’ve moved on from Tukka Rask, the young Jeremy Swayman has started his NHL career positively.  The Bruins have not started the season strongly, with a 4-3-0 record through October, giving up 2.86 goals a game, and are certainly beatable if the Rangers play the game smartly.  

Prediction: Rangers LOSS

November 28th – RANGERS v ISLANDERS
It’s a tough stretch to end the month, with the Islanders visiting MSG to cap off a three games in five nights against grinding teams.

Prediction: Rangers LOSS

As noted above, this is going to be a tougher month, and despite their recent history of doing well in November, it’s likely to be a harder lift this time round.  A successful month would probably be where the team posts seven wins in the month, and picks up another couple of OT/SO losses.  Anything above that, and this team could be legitimately coming together.  More likely November is going to pull the Rangers back into the pack and perhaps drive some more soul searching ahead of a busy December/January before the Olympic break.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x