New York Rangers host the Dallas Stars in their home opener Thursday

The New York Rangers will face the Dallas Stars as they take to the Garden ice for their 95th home opener.

New York Rangers- 0-1-0
Dallas Stars-            0-0-0
Venue: Madison Square Garden
TV: MSG Network

 

The New York Rangers play their second game of the season on Thursday night when the team celebrates their home opening game against the Dallas Stars on Thursday night.

The Blueshirt are coming off a 5-1 loss to the Washington Capitals in a game that saw the Rangers take nine penalties. They allowed four power-play goals in the nine times they were shorthanded.

New York connected on their first goal of the season on a power-play opportunity in the third period. The Rangers finished the night 1-for-5 on the power play. Last season, the Rangers ranked 14th in the NHL in power-play efficiency (20.7%) and ranked tied for eighth in the NHL in power-play goals (37) last season. (NYRPR)

Projected Lines

Lafreniere-Zibanejad-Kreider
Panarin-Strome-Kakko
Blais-Chytil-Goodrow
Reaves-Rooney-Gauthier

Fox-Lindgren
Trouba-Miller
Nemeth-Lundkvist

Shesterkin

Notes From Wednesday’s Loss To Washington

– Chris Kreider put the Rangers on the board for the first time in 2021-22 with his 59th career power-play goal and 347th career point. His 59 power-play goals tie Andy Bathgate for the 12th most PPG’s in franchise history. Kreider’s 347 points are four away from tying Petr Nedved (351) for the 27th most in franchise history.

– Adam Fox notched his first point of the season with an assist on Kreider’s goal. Over the last two seasons (2020-21 – 2021-22), Fox has 22 power-play assists, the third-most in the NHL and second among defensemen (Hedman – 23).

– Ryan Strome also earned an assist on Kreider’s goal, earning him points in eight of his last nine games (3G-7A) against Washington. In 33 career games against the Capitals, Strome has eight goals and 18 assists for 36 points.

– Six players (Jarred Tinordi, Patrik Nemeth, Barclay Goodrow, Dryden Hunt, Ryan Reaves, Sammy Blais) made their Rangers debut tonight. Out of that pack, Goodrow led the way with two shots and Reaves had five hits.

– Gerard Gallant coached his first game with the Rangers, the fourth team (CBJ, FLA, VGK, NYR) he has manned the bench for in his career. Gallant is the 36th head coach in franchise history. Gallant now carries a 270-217-4-51 (W-L-T-OT) record over his head coaching career.

– Alexandar Georgiev made his 90th career start for the Rangers, making 22 saves in the loss. Georgiev is the 19th goaltender in team history to start in 90 or more games.

Rangers’ loss in Washington displays team’s inefficiencies on the ice and behind the bench

The New York Rangers’ loss to the Capitals on Wednesday night confirms that this team has plenty of work ahead of them, on the ice and behind the bench.

The New York Rangers began their 2021-2022 season with a 5-1 loss to the Washington Capitals. It is only one loss, game one of 82 on the schedule, but there were some familiarities to last season the club needs to get away from if they want to put together wins.

Georgiev Gets The Start

The lineup was questioned almost immediately when Alexandar Georgiev led the team onto the ice.  Why was Igor Shesterkin sitting for the first game of the season? Did the back-to-back schedule of games having the team in Washington on Wednesday and then playing their home opener on Thursday play that big of a factor in this decision?

Gerard Gallant was asked about his decision in his post-game presser and really didn’t have a concrete answer as to why he went with Georgiev telling Vince Mercogliano,

“No, not really. Obviously, we’ve got back-to-back games and I think Georgie played real well. I don’t think there’s any issue with the goals with Georgie.”

Georgiev made some good saves, but overalled seemed to struggle at times.  The Rangers gave up two goals in 24 seconds in the second period giving the Capitals a 3-0 lead at the time.  That third goal is one Georgiev would definitely want back. It once again showed that he needs to find a way to make the big save that can stop the opposition’s momentum.

Georgiev made 22 saves on 27 shots in the game taking the loss.

Unusual Lineup

An opening night lineup that saw rookie Nils Lunkvist watching the game, and Jared Tinordi lacing up his skates for the game was a direct result of the club being concerned about the rough style of game that was anticipated to have. This team already had a hard-hitting Sammy Blais and Ryan Reaves penciled in to play, why sit Lundkvist then?

The bottom six of the team’s lineup had Filip Chytil centering Sammy Blais and Barclay Goodrow and Kevin Rooney in the middle of Ryan Reaves and Dryden Hunt.

Other than some big hits, neither line produced many scoring chances.

The Rangers scored just one goal, on the power play, by Chris Kreider in the third period.  The special teams were a thorn in the team’s backside throughout the game.

The team took nine penalties allowing four power-play goals. With the man advantage, the Blueshirts managed just one goal in eight opportunities.

This is an area the club had relied on to improve in the offseason, but it is apparently more work is needed to be done.

A New Day

Tonight the Rangers will be back on the ice again, this time at Madison Square Garden. Their home opener welcomes the Dallas Stars and hopefully a better outcome than on Wednesday night.

Gallant has already announced the Igor Shesterkin will be in the net and one could assume that the head coach will insert Lundkvist and forward Julien Gauthier into the lineup in hopes of generating some more offense.

It may be early in the season but this team needs to find its identity early and get some good line chemistry with the tough schedule the team has ahead of them. The Blueshirts only have two home games, after tonight’s game, in the next 10 games.

This team needs to do everything it can not to fall into the quicksand and find ways to keep even with the rest of the league and division.

New York Rangers: Igor Shesterkin decides not to file for arbitration as deadline passes

New York Rangers’ Igor Shesterkin was not in the group of 17 players who filed for salary arbitration that was announced on Sunday evening.

The New York Ranger’s lone restricted free agent with arbitration rights, Igor Shesterkin, did not file for salary arbitration per an announcement that was put out on Twitter by the NHLPA on Sunday night.

The process of arbitration as per CapFriendly.com is as follows;

  • Salary arbitration is a contract negotiation method that uses a third-party arbitrator to determine a fair contract term and length for an expiring RFA player. Arbitration can be requested if a player meets the following conditions (CBA Reference 12.1 (b)):
    • The player qualifies as a Restricted Free Agent (RFA).
    • The player has not signed an offer sheet.
    • The player has met the required professional years of experience, as shown in the list below.
    • Eligibility for salary arbitration is dependent on entry-level signing age, and professional experience (CBA Reference 12.1 (a)):
      • 18-20: 4 years professional experience.
      • 21: 3 years professional experience.
      • 22-23: 2 years professional experience.
      • 24 and older: 1-year of professional experience.

      Signing age is the age the player is on September 15 of the year they signed their contract unless they turn 20 from September 16-December 31, in which case they are considered 20.

      A player is considered to have completed a year of professional experience if:
      1. The player is aged 18 or 19 and has played 10 or more NHL games in the respective season
      2. The player is aged 20 or older and has played 10 games in a professional league, while under an NHL SPC.
      Due to the 2019-20 season being shortened by COVID, a pro-rating for the professional games requirement was applied as follows:
      1. If the player is aged 18 or 19 and is considered a Covid Roster Freeze Player, the 10 games requirement was pro-rated to 9 games (pro-rating of 70/82).
      2. If the player is aged 20 or older, the 10 games requirement was pro-rated to 9 games (pro-rating of 70/82).
      Due to the 2020-21 season being shortened, the professional games requirement was pro-rated to 7 games (56/82).

    The list of players who filed for arbitration are;

    Nikita Zadorov CGY
    Dennis Gilbert COL
    Adam Erne DET
    Jakub Vrana DET
    Michael McNiven MTL
    Dante Fabbro NSH
    Juuse Saros NSH
    Adam Pelech NYI
    Victor Mete OTT
    Zach Aston-Reese PIT
    Vince Dunn SEA
    Adin Hill SJS
    Zach Sanford STL
    Ross Colton TBL
    Jason Dickinson VAN
    Andrew Copp WPG
    Neal Pionk WPG

    The deadline for club-elected salary arbitration notification is Aug. 2 at 5 p.m. ET. Hearings will be held from Aug. 11-26.

A Deal May Be Close

The mere fact that Shesterkin avoided filing for arbitration is a good sign for both sides. The decision indicates that Shestterkin’s camp and the Rangers are having fruitful discussions that are leading towards a new deal being completed.

Since he was called up to New York, Shesterkin has appeared in 47 games compiling a record of 26-16-3 with a 2.59 GAA.

The 25-year-old was handed the torch from fan-favorite Henrik Lundqvist when the 2020-’21 season concluded.  He has a tough start to this past season, but eventually found his way out of his slump ending the season with a  12-2-7 record in his final 22 games.

 

Rangers’ Chris Drury preparing for first encounter with UFA’s & RFA’s as GM

President and GM Chris Drury has been a factor in the decision-making process of signing free agents in the past.  This season is a bit different as he now is the man who makes the final decision for the New York Rangers.

The New York Rangers are going to have some tough decisions to make when the 2020-2021 season officially concludes in July.

Unrestricted free agents along with restricted free agents are the keys to improving a hockey team.  Every decision is crucial to the organization and involves research and some luck in order to make the right moves to be a successful team.

The Rangers go through this every season as do most NHL teams, but this time around they are lead by a rookie GM with plenty of risk on the line.

RFA’s and UFA’s

A quick review of the team’s status via CapFriendly.com shows the hard work Drury has ahead of him. The decisions of who and how much to offer a player are hard enough, added to the equation is the Seattle Expansion draft, the NHL Draft, and the beginning of the free-agent signing period.

UFA

The Blueshirts have three unrestricted free agents on their roster. UFA’s are free to shop for other teams or negotiate with their current clubs.  The Rangers have no rights for these players once their contracts expire.

Philip Di Giuseppe, Brendan Smith, and Jack Johnson qualify as UFA’s at the end of this season.

RFA’s

Restricted free agents are players who have their contract expire but the club still retains their rights to play. Filip Chytil, Julien Gauthier, Brett Howden, and Libr Hajek are RFA’s at the end of this season.

There are also Arbitration Eligible restricted free agents. Here a third-party arbitrator is used to determine a fair contract term and length for an expiring RFA player. Arbitration can be requested if a player meets the following conditions (CBA Reference 12.1 (b)):

  • The player qualifies as a Restricted Free Agent (RFA).
  • The player has not signed an offer sheet.
  • The player has met the required professional years of experience. (via CapFriendly.com)

The Rangers have two players who qualify for this section, Pavel Buchnevich, and Igor Shesterkin.

Buchnevich signed a two-year, $6.5 million deal in July of 2019.  His AAV was $3.25 million for each of the last two seasons.

Shesterkin signed a two-year, $7.75 million dollar entry-level contract that was loaded with bonuses in May of 2019.

Decisions, Decisions

Let’s start with the no-brainer, the team will absolutely re-sign Shesterkin.  He had the torch handed to him from the Henrik Lundqvist era and though he struggled at points this season he will be the man between the pipes for years to come.  The numbers will work themselves out one way or another.

Buchnvevich is a tough one, I’d anticipate this situation at least being scheduled for an arbitration hearing.  Buch is coming off a strong year that saw him score 20 goals with 48 points in 54 games.  He became a leader on the ice as was evident in the Tom Wilson fiasco where he was punched in the back of the head, the picked himself up to defend Artemi Panarin in the same play.

He will be looking for a long-term deal that will end with him being an unrestricted free agent. How much and for how many years will be the result of a long and most likely uncomfortable process.

Brendan Smith is the most compelling story to tell. A few seasons ago he was in the AHL with Hartford and ended the season injured after having a fight in practice with a teammate.  Fast forward to this season and he has become a player the kids look up to on and off the ice.

He played different positions with David Quinn as his coach while becoming a valuable and trusted player on the ice.

Now the problem changes from do they want to re-sign him to how can the club re-sign him now. Plenty of teams will be inquiring about his service offering more money and more years than the Rangers may be willing to offer.

His time with the club is most likely over. It would be hard to offer a big contract to a defenseman who will be a third-pair player.  He is probably ranked sixth out of the six defensive spots behind Adam Fox, Ryan Lindgren, Jacob Trouba, and K’Andre Miller.

Trades, signings, or re-signings are how teams succeed or fail in today’s NHL. Drury needs to have a solid game plan for his first go-around or the teams can find themselves out of the playoffs next April. A scenario this club would prefer to go through again.

New York Rangers Finish Season in Style with win over Boston

The New York Rangers could have just played out the season and left for vacation. Instead, the Blueshirts put in a strong effort in defeating the Boston Bruins 5-4 to wrap up their 2021 season.

Mika Zibanejad scored two of New York’s four third-period goals, and the Rangers ended their season by halting their five-game losing streak.

Keith Kinkaid made 28 saves before leaving with an injury midway into the third period. Igor Shesterkin finished up in goal with seven saves.

Alexis Lafreniere and Vitali Kravtsov also scored in a wild third when the Rangers overcame a 2-1 deficit. K’Andre Miller started the scoring with a goal in the first period. Pavel Buchnevich seemed a little snakebit with his puck shooting but did add three assists in the victory.

The victory will bolster the spirits of the New York Rangers

Heading into the offseason, the win against a playoff-bound Bruins team should help bolster the spirits of a young Rangers team.

That sentiment was echoed by Zibanejad in his post-game Zoom comments. “It means more than what you would think right now. Especially the way things have been going the whole season, especially the last 10 days or so, that’s been kind of crazy with the guys that are not here right now. The way we battled through it and get the win, that was good.”

In his post-game conference, head coach David Quinn noted that it was nice to give newly appointed general manager Chris Drury his first win. “I know all of us were very happy that we were able to get him that first one.”

After the firing of John Davidson and Jeff Gorton earlier in the week, it will be Quinn that decides which direction the franchise is heading, including on whether or not to retain Quinn as head coach.

Quinn also was pleased with the effort and the win stating that “it’s been difficult. It was great to finish the way we did.”

With the win, the Rangers will finish in fifth place in the NHL’s East division.

 

Depleted New York Rangers fall to the Boston Bruins

Jeremy Swayman needed to stop only 15 shots for his second career shutout and the Boston Bruins beat a listless New York Rangers 4-0.

The Rangers, in the midst of a tumultuous week that included the firing of the club’s president and general manager, played without a lot of energy from the start and lost their fifth straight. New York had just four shots on goal in the first period and three in the second.

The Blueshirts were without star center Artemi Panarin, who was injured during the Tom Wilson incident that ended his season. They were also without injured defensemen Jacob Trouba and Ryan Lindgren and forwards Chris Kreider and Brett Howden.

In addition, Pavel Buchnevich was been suspended for one game, without pay, for high-sticking Washington Capitals forward Anthony Mantha during Wednesday night’s game. Buchnevich will forfeit $28,017 for the suspension.

Igor Shesterkin had a much busier night than his Boston counterpart, stopping 30 shots and preventing the Ranger from losing by even a greater margin.

The New York Rangers lacked energy after a difficult week

Zac Jones talked about the difficulty of playing this game after all that the Rangers have gone through this week. “It’s definitely tough with everything that has been going on,” Jones stated. “We try to put that in the back of our minds and not think about it. We just go out there and try to do our best and win every game.”

Head coach David Quinn also addressed the difficulties of playing this game in his post-game Zoom conference. “Obviously we understand the situation that we are in,” Quinn said. “Every team has gone through rough stretches of injuries during COVID. It was a challenging night, to say the least. We didn’t lay down. I know the shots were what they were. It was ugly at times but these guys competed their butts off.”

The Rangers will play their final game of the season against the Bruins on Saturday afternoon.

 

 

New York Rangers Shutout in Disappointing Loss to the Islanders

The New York Ranger’s path to the playoffs just ran into a dead end. Semyon Varlamov stopped 25 shots as the New York Islanders shut out the Rangers by the score of 4-0.

With Boston’s win tonight, the Rangers are now six points behind the Bruins. The Rangers have five games remaining and Boston has six, including two against each other.

In a last-ditch effort to get back into the game, the Rangers pulled Igor Shesterkin for a 6-on-4 advantage with about 7 minutes left and trailing 3-0. However, Mathew Barzal came out of the penalty box, picked up a loose puck, and scored into an empty net with 5:34 left.

Shesterkin finished with 23 saves, falling to 0-4-1 in five starts against the Islanders.

The New York Rangers loss to the Islanders was “demoralizing”

Adam Fox described how bad the loss was for the Rangers in his post-game Zoom conference. “Any loss at this part of the season is going to be demoralizing. We still have some games left and it’s a tough situation we put ourselves in but we are going to keep playing hard and try to get some wins.”

Before the game, Fox was named the winner of the 2020-21 Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award. The Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award is presented annually to the Ranger who, as chosen by the fans, “goes above and beyond the call of duty.” The award, which has been given annually since the 1987-88 season, bears the name of devoted Blueshirt fan and New York City Police Detective Steven McDonald, who was shot and injured in the line of duty on July 12, 1986, and passed away on January 10, 2017.

Head coach David Quinn echoed Fox’s statements in his post-game conference. “It’s just disappointing overall. When that team gets a lead they are really tough. I just didn’t love the feel after they scored their first goal. The way they played, it made a long night for us. There wasn’t much to like about our game in any capacity.”

The Rangers and Islanders meet again Saturday night at Nassau Coliseum.

 

 

 

 

 

New York Rangers Overcome Sluggish Start to Defeat the Sabres

Igor Shesterkin made 36 saves, and the New York Rangers keep pace in the East Division playoff race with a 3-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres.

In the playoff race, the Rangers are still four points behind the Bruins, who defeated the Penguins on Tuesday night. However, the Blueshirts are now just five points behind the New York Islanders, who fell to Washington. The Rangers and Islanders play in a home-and-home series on Thursday and Saturday.

Brendan Smith put the Rangers in front 1-0 at 2:22 of the second period. The Sabres tied the game on a Sam Reinhart goal.

Alexis Lafreniere broke a tie in the third period for the Rangers, who won their third straight to sweep the two-game series.

Mika Zibanejad extended the lead to 3-1 on a power play at 13:49 of the third period.

Ryan Strome picked up two assists in the game, which gave him his 300th career NHL point.

With Zibanejad’s goal, the Rangers are the only NHL team that has five players (Artemi Panarin, Adam Fox, Mika Zibanejad, Pavel Buchnevich and Ryan Strome) who have recorded at least 44 points in 2020-21.

Lafreniere nets game-winner to help keep the New York Rangers in the playoff race.

Lafreniere talked about his game-winning goal during his post-game interview. “It was a great forecheck by our line. Stromer made a nice pass and I just tried to shoot it as quick as I could and was lucky enough to go in. Great play by my linemates.”

Per the NHL Public Relations, Lafrenière is the fifth teenager who has recorded 10+ goals in a season in Ranger history.

“The fact that we won six games from the Devils and Sabres is no small feat”, head coach David Quinn said in his post-game Zoom conference. “It’s the National Hockey League and it is not easy to beat teams.”

On the Lafreniere goal, Quinn said, “It was important that he scored that goal because of the circumstances. He’s really played well lately. He’s played really well in the last month. People have made a big deal about his stats earlier in the season but he has had a really good rookie year.”

The Rangers have won nine of their last 11 home games and have also earned at least one point in 11 of its last 13 home games.

 

 

New York Rangers all but eliminated in loss to the Flyers

It was a game that the New York Rangers needed to win. Coming into the game, the Rangers were out of the last playoff spot by six points, with only 10 games remaining. After a 3-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers, the Rangers are now eight points out of the last playoff spot, as the Boston Bruins were victorious in their game.

With Jacob Trouba out, head coach David Quinn started recently signed Zach Jones. He picked up 9:45 of ice time in his NHL.  The NHL public relations department posted that the last time the Rangers had five defensemen 23 years old or younger play in the same game was on Nov. 2, 1980.

However, they were unable to stop the Flyers’ James van Riemsdyk from scoreing two power-play goals, including one that went in off his face. On that play, K’Andre Miller deflected Travis Konecny’s shot and the puck went up and off the side of van Riemsdyk’s face. Van Riemsdyk was wearing a shield covering his jaw when he returned.

Brendan Smith and Artemi Panarin scored, and Igor Shesterkin made 33 saves for the Rangers.

The New York Rangers discuss their disappointing loss to the Flyers

Adam Fox talked about the difficult loss in his post-game Zoom conference. “We know what is at stake every game. At this point, there is only so many left. We are going to keep fighting until we are officially out of it.”

It was certainly something we weren’t expecting,” a dejected Quinn said after the game. “Because usually when we had games like we did against the Islanders, we responded. Maybe the realization of the situation we were in took the wind out of our sails. We have been a resilient group all year and tonight we weren’t.”

The Rangers will face the Flyers again on Friday night at MSG. According to the NHL Public Relations, the Rangers’ scheduled back-to-back home games against the Flyers mark the first time in franchise history that the Blueshirts would play back-to-back regular-season games against the same opponent on two consecutive days at MSG.

 

 

 

The New York Rangers fall flat in loss to the New York Islanders

The New York Rangers found out the hard way that the Islanders are not the New Jersey Devils. Anthony Beauvillier had a goal and three assists for the Islanders in a 6-1 win against the Rangers.

The Rangers went most of the game without defenseman Jacob Trouba who left in the first period with an upper-body injury. Trouba got hit hard into the boards by Islanders forward Matt Martin and was visibly shaken up after the collision.

Martin, who ranks in the top 10 in the league in hits, wasn’t penalized on the play.

Trouba had registered 12 points in 37 games entering Tuesday. He ranked second among Rangers skaters in average time on ice, logging 21:59 per contest.

Head coach David Quinn talked about the Trouba injury after the game. “Obviously you saw the effect that it had, but I did not love what we were doing before that. Once Troubs went out our level of play dropped even more. Losing a guy like that hurts on and off the ice.”

Mika Zibanejad talked about the loss of Trouba in his post-game Zoom conference. “Obviously that shakes things up a little bit. But I think we should do a better job trying to work for him and work together in a situation like that.”

“We are all human, we all want to make sure he is ok,” Smith said after the game about the Trouba injury. “Emotionally you are always there for a brother like that. You can’t take away what he does for us on the ice, especially as a leader. You have got to respond and I don’t think we did a very good job of that.”

Kevin Rooney scored the only goal for the Rangers, off a deflected shot by Brendan Smith. Vitali Kravtsov got the other assist.

The New York Rangers return home on Thursday night to play back-to-back games against the Philadelphia Flyers.