The New York Rangers-Tom Wilson Fiasco will not go away Silently

In a normal season, the New York Rangers may not have to see Tom Wilson and the Washington Capitals for a little while after just playing them on Monday night. However, in the pandemic-adjusted NHL schedule, the Rangers will get to see Mr. Wilson again on Wednesday night.

Of course, this is just more than a team trying to win a game. This contest will come off the heels of a second-period melee that earned Wilson four minutes for roughing, a 10-minute misconduct, and sent Artemi Panarin to the dressing room for the rest of the game. It started with Wilson pinning Pavel Buchnevich to the ice with his stick and punching him in the head a couple of times.

The NHL did not do much about this incident, recently releasing a statement saying that Wilson was fined $5000 for the incident. This appears to be the extent of his punishment.

The whole situation did not sit well in Ranger nation, and the fine folks running the Capital’s social media account added fuel to fire by posting this on Twitter:

The Capitals deleted the post after about 30 minutes, telling members of the Washington media that the post did not meet the team’s social media standards.

Even though it could be more of a coach standing up for his player, the Capitals head coach’s comment after the game did not help either.

“I thought it was just a scrum, like a physical play,” Capitals coach Peter Laviolette said. “There was something going on originally with the goalie and they’re jamming at the goalie and a bunch of players jump in there. It happens a lot.”

Those who watch a lot of hockey are scratching their heads at this comment.

The New York Rangers have a genuine concern about player safety

Head coach David Quinn had a different take on the situation. “There are lines that can’t be crossed in this game. There’s just zero respect for the game in general. You got one of the star players in this league now that could have gotten seriously, seriously hurt in that incident.”

This statement was not without exaggeration, as veteran Ranger’s beat writer Larry Brooks of the New York Post re-tweeted a slow-motion video of the incident.

Unfortunately, the small fine seems to be the only punishment Wilson will receive for this.

This brings into question, how serious the NHL about the safety of their players, especially as everyone has learned about the serious effects surrounding people who suffer concussions.

Wilson is no stranger to suspensions. Earlier this season, he was suspended seven games for an illegal check to the head of Boston Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo. In his career, Wilson has received a total of 30 games in suspensions and forfeited nearly $1.3 million in salary for his actions.

Despite the video showing what he did to Panarin, the people who run the NHL Department of public safety stated they didn’t find any compelling evidence that Wilson threw Panarin to the ice by pulling on his hair.

So Wednesday night’s game has just added some more intrigue to the contest. There is no truth to the rumor that the Rangers will call Ogie Ogilthorpe out of retirement.

 

 

The New York Rangers roll for a Second Straight win over New Jersey

Artemi Panarin scored two goals and added an assist to lead the New York Rangers to a 4-0 victory over the New Jersey Devils. The Blueshirts started the game hot as they scored three of their goals in the first period.

Igor Shesterkin shut out the Devils for the second game in a row, stopping all 16 shots. This was the first time that a Ranger goaltender has shut out a team in two consecutive games since it was last done in 1955.

Ranger nation was a little worried when the team announced that Panarin missed the morning skate due to maintenance. However, head coach David Quinn confirmed that he would be playing on Thursday night.

Quinn seemed very prophetic about Panarin’s performance as he discussed his star player in his pre-game Zoom conference.  “Artemi is a special player. There are not a lot of players in this league that can do what he does.”

Panarin scored the third and fourth goals for the Rangers. Jacob Trouba started the scoring for the Rangers and Ryan Lindgren tallied his first goal of the season for the first two Ranger tallies. Panarin has posted seven different three-point games at MSG this season. He is the first Ranger to post at least seven three-point games at home in the same season since Jaromir Jagr in 2006-07.

Colin Blackwell continues to do well with his promotion to Panarin’s line, adding three assists for the Rangers. Blackwell has established single-game career-highs with three assists and three points. Blackwell and Panarin were on the ice for each of the Ranger’s four goals.

The New York Rangers defensive unit has been excellent in all aspects.

In addition to Shesterkin’s fine play, the Rangers defense played well in front of him. The Blueshirts only allowed the Devils three shots in the first period and four shots in the third. The  Rangers were also credited for blocking 20 shots in the game.

The unit has not only been solid in their defensive end, but they have also contributed on the offensive end as well. Five different defensemen have tallied a goal over the last four games (K’Andre Miller, Libor Hajek, Brendan Smith, Trouba, and Lindgren), and each of the six NYR defensemen (Adam Fox, Miller, Hajek, Smith, Trouba, and Lindgren) have recorded a goal over the last six games.

Leading this offensive output has been Fox, who recorded his 35th assist of the season, establishing a career-high. He is the first Ranger defenseman 23 years old or younger to tally at least 35 assists in a season since Sergei Zubov in 1993-94.

The two teams meet again in a Saturday afternoon matinee at MSG.

 

 

 

New York Rangers pick up an Important Victory over the Islanders

After a difficult loss on Thursday night, the New York Rangers rebounded to defeat the New York Islanders by a score of 4-1. Alexandar Georgiev was outstanding in goal after not seeing action for the last 11 games.

The Rangers are the second NHL team that has earned a regulation win at Nassau Coliseum this season. The Islanders came into the game with a 17-1-2 home record on the season. They have won each of their last five games at Nassau Coliseum, dating back to Feb. 16, 2015.

Alexis Lafreniere opened the scoring for the Rangers by scoring at 6:05 of the first period.

Colin Blackwell scored the second goal for the Rangers, extending his goal streak to three games, which is a new career-high. He ranks third on the Rangers in even-strength goals this season with nine.

K’Andre Miller scored the third goal for the Rangers as Mika Zibanejad added an empty-net goal to finish up the Blueshirts scoring. Miller now leads all rookie defenders in scoring.

Artemi Panarin had two assists on the night. He has 93 career assists, passing Mark Messier for the most assists by a player within his first 100 games with the franchise.

Georgiev was a big factor in the New York Rangers win.

The young Russian made 31 saves on the game, only giving up an Andy Greene goal in the second period. Georgiev hadn’t started a game since March 19.

“I haven’t played for a while,” Georgiev said in his post-game Zoom conference. “But I felt comfortable coming into it. I just did my job, the same as I usually do. It felt like kind of like a playoff game and it was really fun to take part in it.”

Georgiev gave credit to Ranger’s goaltending coach Benoit Allaire for keeping him ready while he waited to get his turn in goal. “Every practice I would come out early and spend with Benny,” Georgiev said. “A lot was more mental, trying to be better every day. Tried to take it one day at a time to make my game better.”

Head coach David Quinn was very pleased with his goaltender’s performance. “I liked a lot about his game tonight. I thought Georgie was sharp, as he usually is against the Islanders. It is not easy to sit as long as he has and come out and play the way that he did.”

The New York Rangers will face their cross-town rival again on Sunday afternoon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

New York Rangers Struggle in loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins

What a difference a couple of days makes. Two days ago, the New York Rangers scored four goals in the first period and chased Pittsburgh goaltender Tristan Jarry. On Thursday, the Blueshirts could only muster two goals against Jarry in a 5-2 loss to the Penguins.

Colin Blackwell scored the first Ranger goal at 2:02 of the second period. His power-play goal has given him six points in the last six games.

After falling behind by the score of 4-1, Kevin Rooney scored at 13:48 of the third period to close the gap. Adam Fox had the only assist. With the assist, Fox extended his point streak to 12 games. Per the @PR_NHL, his streak is the sixth time that a Ranger defenseman has posted a 12-game point streak or longer in franchise history.

The Rangers had plenty of chances to score more than two goals. Both Mika Zibanejad and Filip Chytil missed open nets. Chris Kreider came up empty on a penalty shot.

Igor Shesterkin made 27 saves as the Rangers’ four-game point streak and Artemi Panarin‘s streak of four straight multi-point games ended.

After the game in his Zoom conference, Zibanejad talked about the difference from the game two nights ago. “I think they (Pittsburgh) were obviously better this game. They made it hard for us and we might have been a little too stubborn with the puck. I thought we were trying to force plays too much.”

“I thought we had a bunch of things lacking tonight'” head coach David Quinn said in his Zoom conference. “Certainly taking advantage of a bunch of opportunities we had tonight and certainly it wasn’t what it was two nights ago. There were other issues that we had that caused us to be in this position.”

The New York Rangers and their road to the playoffs gets a bit tougher as they head out to Long Island to take on the Islanders on Friday night. The Islanders are 17-1-2 on the season at home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The New York Rangers use big First Period in Victory over Pittsburgh

The New York Rangers jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the first period and cruised to an 8-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Eight different Rangers scored goals, which happened for the first time since Jan. 19, 2010, vs. Tampa Bay.

Artemi Panarin had three assists and a goal to lead the Blueshirts in their scoring outburst. Panarin has certainly enjoyed the Broadway spotlight as he has recorded a three-point game in six different games this season. All of these have been at MSG Arena.

Pittsburgh goaltender Tristan Jarry allowed four goals in the first period before being replaced by Casey DeSmith to start the second period. The Rangers also scored four times off of DeSmith.

Colin Blackwell celebrated his promotion to the second line by scoring the first Rangers goal and providing one of the assists on Kappo Kakko’s goal.

Adam Fox continues his red-hot play as he added a goal and two assists on the night. Per NYR Stats&Info, Fox has registered 30 or more assists in each of his first two NHL seasons. He is the first Rangers defenseman who has tallied at least 30 assists in each of his first two NHL seasons since Reijo Ruotsalainen in 1981-82 and 1982-83. He also has an 11-game point streak, the longest by a Rangers defenseman since Brian Leetch had a 14-game streak in the 1996-97 season.

Ryan Strome, Alexis Lafreniere, Pavel Buchnevich and Mika Zibanejad also scored goals for the Rangers. Igor Shesterkin had 41 saves on the night.

The New York Rangers discuss their offensive outburst.

In his post-game Zoom conference, Fox talked about the Ranger’s fast start. “I think when the power-play scores goals, it helps,” Fox said. “I think we just capitalized on our chances and got some goals around the crease.”

“I thought we were very opportunistic, our power-play was very good,” said head coach David Quinn in his post-game Zoom conference. “It was a funny game. We found a way to win tonight but we are going to have to play better than that if we want to win consistently.”

The Rangers went three for three on their power-play, which tied their single-game season-high.

The two teams square off again on Thursday night at MSG.

 

Colin Blackwell: Player on the Rise for the New York Rangers?

Nothing separates the New York Rangers fan base, as well as all of New York sports, like questioning the decisions Big Apple coaches make in their lineups. Today, the Rangers raised a few eyebrows when head coach David Quinn shuffled his lineups in practice, as posted by lohud.com’s Vince Mercogliano:

Of course one of the first things that everyone noticed was the “demotions” of Kappo Kakko to the third line and newcomer Vitali Kravtsov to the fourth line.

It was not like either player deserved to be demoted and Quinn explained after practice in his Zoom conference that neither player should look at the line shuffles in this manner. “We like Kakko, it is certainly nothing with the way he has played,” Quinn said. “I am anxious to see how they (Kakko, Alexis Lafreniere, and Filip Chytil) play together.”

As far as Kravtsov going to the fourth line, Quinn said “That doesn’t mean that Kravstov will be down there forever, or even during the whole game, you can move people around. Right now we feel that it is the best lineup we have at our disposal.”

The New York Rangers shift Blackwell to the second line.

The other move was to put Colin Blackwell to the second line with Artemi Panarin and Ryan Strome. Blackwell also received some time with the second power-play unit during Tuesday’s practice.

As for Blackwell skating on the second line, Quinn said: “One of the things that we thought were getting Blackwell on that line with Strome and Bread, it gives that line a little bit of a different look. This is the best lineup we feel we have for tomorrow night.”

With the move up from the fourth line to the second, Blackwell will bring a little more of a defensive presence to that line. He has also been a little more opportunistic than some other players and is not afraid to shoot the puck, something that Quinn has stressed with the team in recent games.

Blackwell discussed his new role in his post-practice Zoom conference. “I was just kind of waiting for my chance,” Blackwell said. “I have done it in the American Hockey League on many different occasions. That chance doesn’t always come, and a lot of good players do get their chance but then they don’t necessarily make the most out of it.”

The Rangers signed Blackwell as a free agent on a two-year contract worth $725,000 annually.

Blackwell had one of his best games in the NHL on March 28, which also happened to be his birthday. On that night, he scored a career-high 2 goals against the Washington Capitals.

The Rangers will start Igor Shesterkin in goal as they begin a two-game set at MSG against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday.

 

 

 

 

 

Mika Zibanejad Helps the New York Rangers from Looking Foolish in Buffalo

Mika Zibanejad saved the New York Rangers from a really bad April Fools prank. Zibanejad scored off an Artemi Panarin pass to lead the Blueshirts to a 3-2 overtime win over the Buffalo Sabres. The Rangers appeared to be destined for a regulation win until Buffalo scored late in the third period to send the game to overtime.

The goal and the win spared the Rangers from a loss against the team with the worst record in the NHL. On Wednesday, the Sabres ended a shootout-era record of 18 games without a win by beating the Flyers 6-1.

In his post-game interview, Zibanejad talked about his overtime goal. “It’s a little bit of different game 3 on 3. We got a 2-on-1 and we took advantage of it. We took the two points and we move on.”

Zibanejad tallied his sixth overtime goal with the Rangers, which is the fourth-most in franchise history.

After giving up a first-period goal to Sabres Rasmus Asplund, Colin Blackwell tied the game with a goal in the second period. Blackwell has registered three goals/points in the last three games, according to NYR Stats&Info. He currently ranks fourth on the Rangers in even-strength goals and is tied for fifth on the team in goals his season with nine.

Ryan Strome assisted on Blackwell’s goal. Strome now has an 11-game point streak, which is the longest active point streak in the NHL. It is also tied for the third-longest point streak in the league this season.

The New York Rangers controlled the action in the last two periods

Filip Chytil scored at the 6:14 mark of the third period. His goal gave the Rangers the lead which held up until Buffalo’s Tage Thompson scored with 3.6 seconds left to send the game to overtime.

The Rangers controlled most of the action in the last two periods. The Blueshirts outshot the Sabres by a margin of 47-23, including a 37-11 margin in the final two periods and overtime.

Even though the Rangers had 47 shots on goal, head coach David Quinn still feels that the Rangers still need to shoot more often. After describing how the Sabres overtime goal gave them a kick in the butt, Quinn said in his post-game Zoom conference that “we still have to have more of a shooting mentality.”

Igor Shesterkin stopped 21 of the 23 Sabres shots on goal. He appeared to have been hurt when form Ranger Steven Fogarty was called for interference after sliding into Shesterkin. Shesterkin told the media after the game that he feels fine.

The two teams meet again in Buffalo on Saturday night with a 7 p.m. puck drop.

 

 

 

 

 

New York Rangers Rally Falls Short in David Quinn’s return

A slow start doomed the New York Rangers as they fell 5-4 to the Washington Capitals on Sunday afternoon. After falling behind by four goals early in the third period, the Rangers rallied in the third but fell just short in the comeback.

Colin Blackwell scored the first two goals in the Ranger’s comeback. Alexis Lafreniere also scored as Chris Kreider added a power-play goal to bring the Rangers within one. Adam Fox had two assists in the game.

Tom Wilson scored twice, and Alex Ovechkin added his 10th goal in his past nine games to lead Washington to their third straight win, and 10 out of their last 11.

The returning head coach did not inspire the New York Rangers

David Quinn returned to coach the Rangers at Washington Capitals after missing the past six games while in NHL COVID-19 protocol.

“I was told I was going to be OK,” said Quinn, who has an underlying health condition due to hemophilia. “It wasn’t going to be anything that was going to create more of an issue for me. But anytime you get COVID, basically, the way things have gone, you’re always a little bit worried. But I never really got sick at all and I was very fortunate to have a very mild reaction to it.”

Quinn’s return appears to have had little impact on the Rangers as the Capitals jumped out to a 4-0 lead before a third-period rally closed the gap.

The Rangers went 4-2-0 during Quinn’s absence with Hartford Kris Knoblauch, who served as an assistant during Sunday’s game. Assistant coach David Oliver remains in COVID-19 protocol.

After the game in his post-game Zoom conference, Quinn talked about an issue that has followed the Rangers for a couple of years: too much passing and not enough shooting. In what Quinn described as the “inability to shoot”, following a trend from last season in which the Rangers averaged 31.1 shots on goal per game, good for only 20th place in the NHL.

The Rangers return home Tuesday night to host the Capitals with a 7:00 p.m. puck drop.

 

 

New York Rangers: The Taxi Squad Has Been Elite This Season

Colin Blackwell, New York Rangers

The 2021 season has not gone as planned for the New York Rangers. They’ve underperformed through the first 19 games of the season, and just when things seem to be looking up, the bad returns. From poor goaltending and a lack of offensive production, to a player taking a leave of absence following false claims about his past, the Blueshirts have endured a lot of negativity already this season. But there’s been one consistent positive – the taxi squad. The squad has been arguably the main highlight of 2021 for the Rangers, and they haven’t shown signs of slowing down.

What Makes The Rangers’ Taxi Squad Elite:

The Production They’ve Gotten From Unlikely Names

If you were to tell any Ranger fan that Colin Blackwell would have the sixth-most points on the team at the start of March, they’d probably say, “who?” After all, the Rangers were supposed to have one of the most potent offenses in the league this season. With goal-scoring machine Mika Zibanejad, point-acquiring king Artemi Panarin, and the number of talented young players arriving on the NHL scene, how could a 27-year-old with barely any NHL experience be a legitimate threat on offense?

Well, to be frank, I can’t properly explain why Blackwell’s playing so well. But I can say his production is off the charts, and it’s been that way all season. After watching the first four games from the team-hotel, Blackwell got his chance against the Penguins on January 24. He made the most of his opportunity, scoring just the fourth goal of his career. He then followed that up with a point in each of the next two games. Then things went south, like all things do for the Rangers in 2021, as he suffered an upper body injury.

Blackwell eventually returned 13 days later and picked up right where he left off. In seven games since returning from injury, Blackwell has tallied five points, giving him a total of eight on the year. Those eight points in 11 games give him an average of 0.73 points per game – the second-highest mark on the team.

Along with Blackwell, Anthony Bitetto has been a pleasant surprise for the Blueshirts as well. While being a solid contributor on the defensive end of the ice, Bitetto has also been a spark-provider on offense. In nine games the former sixth-round pick has three points to his name, tied for the fourth-most among Ranger defenseman. He’s playing the best hockey of his career, and like Blackwell, for seemingly no reason. No one is complaining though.

On top of Blackwell and Bitetto, there are a couple other names that must be mentioned. Defenseman Libor Hajek has provided a sturdy presence on D, while forward Jonny Brodzinski has contributed on the offensive end – scoring a goal in last Friday’s game against Boston.

How The Squad Compares To The Rest of the NHL

Individual statistics compared to teammates are always impressive, but the Rangers’ taxi squad is more than just good for their own standards. They’re one of the best in the entire NHL, and the numbers prove it.

As of March 1, the Rangers’ taxi squad players have produced 12 points, tied with Tampa Bay for the fourth-most in the league. But that ranking is a bit unfair to the Blueshirts and Lightning, due to the teams in-front of them making transactions early on in the season. The top three teams in terms of taxi squad production, Chicago, St. Louis, and Anaheim, all have a player that began on the taxi squad following roster cuts but has since played at least 20 games. Meaning their total number of points is an inaccurate representation of their taxi squad success.

Chicago has gotten 20 points of production from their taxi squad in 2021, but 15 of them have come from Philipp Kurashev and Brandon Hagel, each of whom have played at least 20 games. Anaheim’s squad, meanwhile, has produced 15 points, but that’s almost entirely because of Max Comtois’ 13. Comtois, the Ducks’ leader in points, started the season on the taxi squad but was recalled to the active roster the day after, and has started every single game for Anaheim. The same goes for St. Louis who has received 18 points from Jordan Kyrou, a member of the Blues taxi squad for less than 24 hours in January.

So, if you put everyone on an even playing field, that puts the Rangers in a tie for the most taxi squad points in the NHL. On top of this, the Rangers’ taxi squad has been the most valuable in the league. The Blueshirts’ squad has accounted for seven goals, equivalent to 14% of all Rangers goals. No other team is remotely close to that number.

Despite all the negatives in 2021, at least we have the taxi squad to boast about. They’ve been an awesome surprise.

New York Rangers give fans a physical victory over the Boston Bruins

The New York Rangers and their fans have waited for this since March 5th, 2020, the last time fans saw the Blueshirts play in person. The roughly 2,000 fans in attendance were treated to a 6-2 victory over the Boston Bruins.

A couple of weeks ago, the state of New York announced that fans would be allowed to attend games at 10% capacity. Friday night marked the first home game that the Rangers had the opportunity to welcome fans. The fans that attended were treated to a Blueshirt offensive outburst and well as an outstanding physical effort.

Having fans obviously energized the Rangers, as they outhit the Bruins 17-8 after the first period. They finished up the game outhitting Boston 32-28.

New York Rangers set a season-high in goals scored

Julian Gauthier started things off for the Rangers with his second goal of the season. He recorded his first career NHL goal against Boston on Feb. 10 at MSG.

Ryan Strome scored a goal off an excellent pass from Alexis Lafreniere, who picked up his first NHL assist. After a Patrice Bergeron goal, The Rangers scored twice within twelve seconds at the end of the second period. Colin Blackwell tipped in an Adam Fox shot for a power-play goal. Chris Kreider then scored the fourth Rangers goal just twelve seconds later.

Strome picked up three points in the second period with his goal and picked up assists in the other two goals. He is leading the Rangers in 5-on-5 goals (six) and even-strength goals (six) this season. He extended his point streak to four games.

For Blackwell, he has now recorded a point in four of the last five games (three goals, one assist).  He has also tallied a point in seven of 10 games with the Rangers (four goals, three assists).

Pavel Buchnevich and Jonny Brodskinski scored third-period goals for the Rangers.

Before tonight, the Ranger’s best offensive effort came when they scored five goals against the New York Islanders on January 16.

Alexandar Georgiev had 31 saves in the win.

The New York Rangers were very grateful for having fans in the stands

After the game, Ryan Strome talked about having fans back at MSG. “It was crazy, honestly. 2,000 people or whatever it was felt like it was very full. I had some goosebumps during the national anthem and it has been a while since I felt those. They definitely brought us energy.”

After the game, head coach David Quinn echoed Strome’s comments about having fans in attendance. “I don’t think that any of us expected the impact that they would make. They were incredibly loud and passionate. When you heard about how many people they were going to allow you would not think they would have an impact. But they did have an impact. We can’t thank our fans enough and we appreciate the support give us.”

The two teams will play again on Sunday at MSG with a noon puck drop.