New York Rangers could be one of the scariest teams to face in NHL playoffs

New York Rangers

With many questions dominating the return of the NHL one thing is very clear, the New York Rangers would be one of the scariest teams to play against come playoff time.

The Rangers have come a long way since their opening night win against the Winnipeg Jets in October. This team started the year with a bunch of rookies, strong veteran leadership, and a second-year head coach in David Quinn who seemed more comfortable behind the bench.

With a powerful offense led by potential MVP candidates in Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad, the Blueshirts quickly provided a scoring punch they had been missing since the days of Jaromir Jagr. They both made the rest of the club better in all areas of the ice. What was even more surprising was the emergence of the team’s top duo on the blueline.

Adam Fox and Ryan Lindgren became the top defensive pair for the team. The two rookies proved they belonged in the NHL early on and thanks to a switch in the pairings midway through November, they two have become a dominant force playing against the opposition’s top players.

The goaltending tandem of Henrik Lundqvist and Alexandar Georgiev kept the Rangers above water early on until the team’s decision to recall their top. goalie prospect in the AHL Igor Shesterkin.

Shesterkin played his first game the day after his recall defeating the Colorado Avalanche and winning 10 out of his first 12 games in the NHL before the NHL paused. its schedule.

The team went on a tear beginning the start of the new year in January winning 18 of their final 29 games played to bring the team within two points of a wildcard spot.

Their hard nose never gives up style of play makes them a dangerous opponent against any team. They should be an exciting club to watch when the league resumes play this summer.

Lindgren And Fox Have Become A Solid Pairing for the New York Rangers

Brady Skjei, New York Rangers

Ryan Lindgren and Adam Fox have worked their way up through the season and were becoming one of the more trusted blueline pairings for the New York Rangers. Many did not even give Lindgren much of a thought when the season started, but his hard work and chemistry with Fox have turned them into trusted and reliable Blueshirts.

Lindgren started the season in Hartford

After a brief call up in the 2018-19 season, Lindgren started the season in Hartford where he posted one goal and one assist in nine games with the Wolf Pack. His hard work in the offseason had paid off, as when he returned to the Rangers, he looked much more comfortable getting back to defend and more confident pinching in the offensive zone. Lindgren also looked much more decisive with and without the puck. He excelled on the penalty kill and quickly formed chemistry with his defense partner and former developmental teammate Adam Fox. The two were nearly inseparable after Lindgren got called up from Hartford on Oct. 28. Coach David Quinn put them together, and they remained together for 58 of the 60 games Lindgren played.

Lindgren’s role with the team became even bigger when Brady Skjei was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes for a first-round pick at the trade deadline. Following the trade, Lindgren became the top and most trusted left-handed defenseman. In addition to being essential on the penalty kill, he also became a steady presence in big situations and late in games. Lindgren has one goal, 13 assists and is plus-16 in 60 games with the Blueshirts this season. He has also helped Fox thrive, as he has eight goals, 34 assists in 70 games.

The Fox-Lindgren pairing has thrived

The two 22-year-olds have a close friendship that goes back to the days when they played together as teenagers in the U.S. national team development program. That friendship has shown during their improved play this year and was mentioned in a recent Zoom conference call that was sponsored by the NHL. Fox jokingly said when asked about the physical pounding Lindgren, has taken this season: “He had a streak of getting pucks to the face, high sticks — and it wasn’t even the way he plays, it was just unfortunate bounces, so his face probably needed this quarantine a little bit to heal up.’’ He was a bit more serious when he was asked about Lindgren’s style. “He thinks the game really well, and he compliments me so much. And he’s willing to stay back and make smart outlet passes. And he’s a tough guy. And I think the way I play, he just suits me really well as a ‘D’ partner.’’ As well it should as Fox has been mentioned as a candidate for the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s Rookie of the Year.

New York Ranger fans are happily realizing that Lindgren and Fox are both just 22-years-old and they have the potential to be the Rangers’ top defense pair for years to come.

 

New York Ranger’s Adam Fox: “It’s Special to Play for the Team I Rooted For”

New York Rangers

The New York Rangers should get many kudos for giving fans some kind of access to players at this time when hockey and other sports are on hold due to COVID-19. On Wednesday, Ranger’s defenseman Adam Fox took the time to answer questions on the Rangers twitter page. When the season was paused in March, Fox was having a solid season. He had scored eight goals with 34 assists and had a +22 on the plus/minus scale.

The Jericho NY native grew up a New York Ranger fan

Fox attended Pioneer High School before enrolling and playing hockey for Harvard. He was selected by the Calgary Flames in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. In June 2018, Fox’s NHL rights were traded to the Carolina Hurricanes and were then traded to the New York Rangers in April 2019. When asked about that trade, Fox replied that “I was obviously super excited getting traded to the Rangers but also was a little bittersweet because I had to leave school.” His first special memory was scoring his first goal for the Rangers, and he remembered that “Scoring my first goal was a feeling of just pure excitement. I pretty much blacked out after it went in.” 

In the terms of his memory about the Rangers, Fox could not remember anything specific about any early games he attended, but he did there was one game that stood out the most for him. “I don’t know my first memory but my favorite was going to a Stanley Cup Final game against LA. They lost the game but the atmosphere was unlike anything I’ve seen before.”

An astute fan remembered that while Fox was at Harvard, current Ranger head coach David Quinn was the head coach at Boston University and the two were on opposite benches during the historic Beanpot Hockey tournament, where Fox’s Crimson team was victorious over Quinn’s Terriers. When asked if Fox ever brings this up to coach Quinn, he diplomatically replied: “I probably wouldn’t bring up that game to Coach Quinn, probably one that he wants to forget about. It is good to have a coach though that understands the transition from college hockey and the adjustments that need to be made to be a good pro player.”

Looking Back at the Pre-Season Predictions for the New York Rangers

New York Rangers

This was supposed to be the week that the New York Rangers played their final set of regular-season games for the 2019-2020 season, with the hope of many that it would be a springboard to the playoffs. But of course, we all know that the NHL as are most sports around the world are in a holding pattern. So with the normal regular season all but done, let’s take a look back to see what some experts predicted what the season would look like for the Rangers.

Some Experts had the New York Rangers doing well

A bit understandable, even as most realized that the Rangers were in a rebuilding mode. In the Sporting News, very few experts had the Rangers making the playoffs. One pundit who did was Jackie Speigel of the sportingnews.ca, who predicted the Blueshirts would capture the second wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference. She even selected Kaapo Kakko as the winner for the Calder Trophy, awarded to the league’s top rookie. Many might remember Jackie for her wonderful work at SNY, so it could be a bit of regional bias but at least the Rangers were knocking at the door when the season shut down. Jace Mallory took it a step further and predicted that the Rangers would secure the third spot in the Metropolitan Division.  Brooklyn native Sammi Silber of NBC Sports even had the Blueshirts winning the Metro. Dave McCarthy of NHL.com and SiriusXM-NHL picked the Rangers second in the Metro.  Overall, less than half of the experts polled had the Rangers making the playoffs.

In looking at some articles that had more in-depth features, Adam Gretz stated in his article for NBCsports.com that: “They should be significantly better. How could they not be after adding Artemi Panarin, Jacob Trouba, Adam Fox, and two potential rookie of the year contenders at forward in Kaapo Kakko and Vitali Kravtsov? That is a ton of talent to enter the organization in one summer and it should be enough to have the team at least in contention for a playoff spot.”

The SI.com staff predicted that the Rangers would finish seventh in the Metropolitan Division and wrote that “It’s easy to imagine the Rangers playing above their station, and it’s also easy to see them hit growing pains.”

They also wrote that “Each season always brings its own surprises”. I don’t think they had our current predicament in mind when they wrote that!

The New York Rangers Pick Up a Big Point, but the Coronavirus Threatens Season

New York Rangers

The New York Rangers picked up a critical point to keep in the NHL playoff race, but that situation may be the least of everyone’s concern for the near future. The Rangers fell 3-2 to the Colorado Avalanche in overtime as the red-hot Mika Zibanejad scored his 41st goal. Pavel Buchnevich also scored while Adam Fox had two assists. Alexandar Georgiev had 25 saves. Buchnevich scored his goal with just 13 seconds left in the game to send the game into overtime.  The Rangers currently sit two points behind the Hurricanes and Blue Jackets, but it might be the coronavirus that derails their season.

The New York Rangers waiting on coronavirus decision from the NHL

On Wednesday night, The NBA suspended their season after Utah Jazz players Rudy Goebert tested positive for coronavirus. While those players involved are being examined, the NBA is suggesting that the rest of the players go into a 14-day self-quarantine.

The NHL responded by saying that they are examining all options and will make a decision soon. After the game, head coach David Quinn was asked about the situation and he responded by saying: “We can’t speculate on the course of action will be taken by the NHL. Logistically, we’ll stay here tonight and make a decision following the NHL update Thursday morning.”

The league was already faced with two teams, the San Jose Sharks and the Columbus Blue Jackets, who had planned to play games without fans in their arenas. The Rangers will wait in Denver before waiting for word on the Saturday night game in Arizona. Most believe that the league will follow the NBA and suspend the season.

Another option would be to play games without fans. As necessary as it might be, the biggest impact could be felt by It’s the people who work at the buildings across the league, such as MSG who could lose both the Knicks and Rangers, who will truly do without, if this expected stoppage is extended into the summer.

New York Rangers Come Out On Fire: Beat Stars to Keep Playoff Hopes Alive

New York Rangers, Ryan Strome

The New York Rangers really stepped up to the plate on Tuesday night. After putting up a stinker of an effort against the New Jersey Devils, the Rangers traveled to Dallas and put up four goals in the first two periods to defeat the Stars 4-2.

Kaapo Kakko scored twice, and Adam Fox and Mika Zibanejad each had a goal and an assist for the Rangers, who have won two of their past three games and remained three points shy of a wild card in the Eastern Conference. Igor Shesterkin made 31 saves to rebound from a disappointing performance on Saturday against New Jersey.

Mika Zibanejad and Kaapo Kakko lead the New York Rangers

As to what should be a surprise to nobody, Mika Zibanejad scored a goal tonight. In doing so, he has reached the 40-goal plateau in a season in fewer games than any other player in franchise history. Just think about that.

In the entire history of the New York Rangers, he reached the 40 goal plateau faster than anybody. In addition, Zibanejad is the second Ranger in franchise history who has registered a goal in 11 games over a 12-game span. However, the biggest news of the night might be that Kaapo Kakko had two goals, stepping up in a way that many had hoped that he would when he was drafted second overall.

In hoping for some scoring balance, Kakko tallied his 10th goal of the season. He is one of nine Rangers who have recorded 10 or more goals in 2019-20. And let’s not forget defenseman Adam Fox. Upon scoring the first goal of the season, as registered 39 points this season, which is tied for the fifth-most by a rookie defenseman in Rangers history.

Think the future is bright? How about that bounce-back performance for Igor Shesterkin. With his win tonight, Shesterkin is the sixth goaltender in NHL history who has earned 10 wins in his first 12 career NHL appearances. The Rangers will travel up to Colorado to face the Avalanche in back-to-back games in their quest to make the playoffs.

Red-Hot Mika Zibanejad leads New York Rangers to their Ninth Straight Road Win

New York Rangers, Mika Zibanejad

Maybe it was the Poutine that caused the New York Rangers to be a bit sluggish but they rallied in the third period with four goals to defeat the Montreal Canadiens 5-2. Mika Zibanejad started the four-goal rally by scoring at the 11-minute mark of the third period.

Ryan Strome scored twice and added an assist while Phillip Di Giuseppe and Adam Fox each added a goal.  Third-period rallies are nothing new for the Rangers now have outscored opponents 81-56 in the third period this season, and their plus-25 goal differential in the third period this season is the best in the NHL.

Their nine-game road winning streak is tied for the eighth-longest in NHL history. They are also the first NHL team that has posted a nine-game road winning streak since the Nashville Predators accomplished this during the 2017-18 season.

Mika Zibanejad leading the way for the New York Rangers

One of the keys to the third-period comeback was to place Zibanejad and Artemi Panarin together on a line. In post-game interviews, players mentioned that head coach David Quinn was less than pleased with their effort, especially with the first two lines, and this led to the pairing.

Zibanejad has now scored in six straight games for the Blueshirts. He is the first Ranger who has posted a six-game goal streak since Jaromir Jagr during the 2005-06 season.

That six-game goal streak is tied for the longest goal streak in the NHL this season, and he is one of four players who have posted a six-game goal streak in 2019-20 joining the likes of Patrick Kane, Sebastian Aho, and Max Domi.

Thursday night’s goal was his thirtieth of the season, making him the first Ranger who has registered 30 or more goals in two consecutive seasons since Jaromir Jagr in 2005-06 and 2006-07, and the first from a center since Mark Messier did this in 1995-96 and 1996-97.

After the game, Zibanejad said of the third-period line switch that the result of that was that they “Played harder, worked harder, played faster, and we saw the result of that today.”  They will need to continue that philosophy as they travel to Philadelphia to face the Flyers on Friday night.

 

The New York Rangers Need These Three Players to Mature in Order to Make Playoff Run

New York Rangers

As the New York Rangers continue with their All-Star/Bye week break, they will soon come upon a favorable part of their schedule that could get them within shouting distance of the NHL playoffs. In order for this to happen, three of their younger players will need to step up their game in the second half of the season.  This is even more important for a team that has 14 players who are 26 or younger and five of whom are 21 or younger.

Filip Chytil is making nice progress after the New York Rangers called him up

It would have been very easy to put your head down and pout after being demoted. We have seen that before. But that was not the case with Filip Chytil. he started this season in the AHL but was called up to New York after playing just nine games with the Wolf Pack. The Rangers rewarded him with the opportunity to have consistent ice time, including time on the power play. This time he has taken full advantage of it  Last year he finished with 11 goals and 12 assists but struggled to play with consistency and also was a minus-22, worst on the team. This year he already has 11 goals and has been sometimes paired Brett Howden and Kaapo Kakko, forming what has been termed “The Diaper Line”. The twenty-year-old will be expected to demonstrate the leadership and maturity needed in order for this third line to continue making contributions for the Blueshirts.

The New York Rangers continue to be patient with Brady Skjei

The Rangers were expecting a lot from Brady Skjei after a promising rookie season in 2017-18. They did not get that from the young defenseman in the next two seasons. Instead, the saw an inconsistent, mistake-prone young player struggling to play up to his potential.  The turn around may have come when the Rangers traded for longtime friend Jacob Trouba. The two 25-year-olds have been a duo on the ice in the back part of this season so far. For Skjei, this has led to some improvement this season. This season he already has seven goals and has added 14 assists in 47 games and he has still been much better with his decision-making and in the defensive zone than he was in previous seasons. This needs to continue as many times the Rangers have suffered from poor decision making. However, it is time to reward the Rangers for the patience they have shown him in previous years.

Adam Fox making a case for Rookie of the Year

His move from college to the NHL has gone better than most have anticipated. Fox has shown a level of poise with the puck that was always evident at Harvard, and his average north-south speed has not been an issue thanks to good edges and anticipation. Fox moves the puck remarkably well, racking up assists and aiding in the transition game. He recently took sole possession of the team lead in power-play assists with 11. Fox is having an outstanding season with 27 points. The process of the maturing of young NHL players is keeping this kind of play up for the entire season, especially as the Blueshirts gear up for a playoff run.

 

New York Rangers High Scoring Defense Following NHL Trend

Brady Skjei, New York Rangers

There are many, rightly so, who believe that the New York Rangers defenseman should be playing a little harder on… that’s right, defense.  However, the Rangers are just following a trend in the NHL that is seeing an increase in actual vs. expected scoring this season, and it is paying off for their defenseman. Rangers defensemen have 133 points (38 goals, 95 assists) this season, the most goals and points by defensemen on any team.

How the New York Rangers Defense Have Excelled on Offense

The first and most obvious choice for this is that the Blueshirts tend to play a more wide-open style of hockey than many other teams. Not only is this going to create opportunities for your forwards, but it will also lead to increase chances for a defenseman who join that rush up ice.

This has paid off big for their defense. For example, when Tony DeAngelo tallied his 12th goal of the season a few nights ago, he became one of only a handful of Ranger defensemen who have recorded at least 12 goals in the team’s first 46 games of a season within the past 40 years. The others on the list include Leetch (three times), Greschner (twice), and Ruotsalainen (twice). Remember that hat trick D’Angelo netted a little more than a week ago? That hat trick is the ninth instance of a Rangers defenseman recording a hat trick in franchise history. His five-point game is the third by a defenseman in franchise history and the first by a defenseman other than Brian Leetch. He is not the only d-man scoring.

When Adam Fox picked up a point on Jan 15, he has registered nine points (one goal, eight assists) over the last seven games. Since Dec. 31, Fox’s eight assists and nine points are both the second-most among NHL defensemen.

The New York Rangers are following a trend

So we don’t bore you too much and send Tony DeAngelo into an analytic style frenzy, the upward trend is scoring has been well analyzed and documented. If you like this stuff, check out Larry Yost’s column at TSN.com, where he goes into much more detail. The best takeaway from this was that there are several on-ice theories as to why scoring rates have increased, and/or why expected goal rates are underwhelming relative to those numbers. The goaltenders did experience a downsizing in equipment.

Teams did get more sophisticated with matters like power play deployment (and the associated four forward approach on those power plays), or when to pull the goalie when trailing late, or the emphasis of hockey skill over toughness and physicality in the bottom-six of Forwards and to some extent, defensive groups. All are contributing factors, and all have led to an increase not only all across the league but certainly a factor in the offensive prowess of the Blueshirt defenseman.

The New York Rangers Will Face an Agitated Islanders Team Thursday Night and Sparks Should Fly

New York Rangers, Brad Skjei

The New York Rangers realize that their task will not be as easy Thursday night as it was during their last game against the Islanders. After the Islanders quickly scored the first goal, the Rangers responded hard and often, finishing the night with a resounding 6-2 victory that left a bad taste with the Isles.

Captain Calls Out His Islander Teammates

After the game, the Islander captain was angry, mainly upset with the lack of effort in a rivalry game. They got the message, and the following night they crushed the lowly Detroit Red Wings 8-2. Even if it was against a last-place team, the Isles skated with much more purpose then they did in their loss against the Rangers. They also vow to bring that effort into Thursday night’ rematch.  “Any time you get beat like that, you want another crack at them,” said Jordan Eberle. This should mean a much more physical match in Long Island, which may or may not include a couple of fisticuffs like was witnessed Monday night.

What the New York Rangers Will Bring to the Table Against the Isles

One of the more significant issues that have dogged the Rangers for a bit is the question on what to do with the three goaltenders.  During the Wednesday morning skating session, Henrik Lundqvist and Alexandar Georgiev spend most of the time in net. This generally means that those two will dress for the game, with the prevailing notion that Georgiev will get the start due to his excellent record against the Islanders. Regardless of who starts in net, the Rangers still expect to unleash their potent offense.

The offense that has allowed ten Rangers to 20 or more points this season. They are one of six NHL teams that have ten or more players who have recorded at least 20 points this season.  This includes Adam Fox, who has registered a goal and eight assists over the last seven games. Since Dec. 31, Fox’s eight assists and nine points are both the second-most among NHL defensemen. As a team, the Rangers have registered 44 goals over the last 11 games, and those 44 goals are tied for the most in the NHL over the span (tied with Tampa Bay).