Chris Kreider Injured, Trade News Buzzing as the New York Rangers Beat Detroit Again

New York Rangers, Chris Kreider

Saturday night was a case of good news and bad news for the New York Rangers. The good news was that the Rangers defeated the Red Wings 1-0, defeating the Wings for the second night in a row. That bad news was that Chris Kreider left the game with an apparent head injury suffered when he took an accidental knee from teammate Mika Zibanajed. 

The injury status of New York Rangers forward Chris Kreider

After the game, head coach David Quinn stated that his Kreider has an upper-body injury, and would not say it was a concussion. Despite this statement, replays clearly show that Zibanajed’s knee hit Kreider’s head squarely. Quinn stated that Kreider was doing well, and his injury will not be long term. It will remain to be seen if Kreider needs to undergo testing for a concussion, as determined by NHL protocols. The other possibility was that the knee to the head caused a bit of a neck injury, similar to what Zibanajed had earlier in the year.

Beach time did not hinder Lundqvist’s game

Quinn decided to start Igor Shesterkin on Friday night over Henrik Lundqvist because “One guy (Shesterkin) has been playing, and the other guy (Lundqvist) has been on the beach for the past nine days.” While that may have been a bit tongue-in-cheek, the rational paid off as Lundqvist recorded a shutout stopping all 33 Red Wing shots.  Lundqvist did note after the game about not playing in a long time when he said, ” It’s been a pretty tough month for me… You try to adjust to it, but in the end, you want to be out there and help the team.”

Trade Rumors Swirl pre-game

Right before the puck dropped, there were two pieces of news that could involve trades for the Rangers. The first was reports out of Calgary that there were going to be three Ranger scouts at the Flames-Oilers game. Both teams have been mentioned as possible trade partners with the Rangers, usually for Chris Kreider. Also, news came out of Toronto that Kasperi Kapanen was a healthy scratch in Saturday night’s game. Kapanen has been mentioned in trades involving Alexandar Georgiev. After the game, the Leafs stated that the scratch was due to “internal accountability.” Kapanen has also been mentioned in trades involving Wild defenseman Matt Dumba.

 

New York Rangers Overcome Slow Start, Bury Avalanche

New York Rangers

The New York Rangers are getting into a bad habit of having slow starts to games. However, they overcame their most recent slow start and defeated the Colorado Avalanche 5-3. In doing so, recently promoted goalie Igor Shesterkin picked up his first NHL victory.

Shesterkin Shines in Debut

Despite going down 2-0, Shesterkin showed resolve in only allowing one more goal after this. For the game, he stopped 29 of the 32 Colorado shots attempted. in earning the win, Shesterkin is one of only two Rangers goaltenders since 1979-80 who have earned a win in their regular-season NHL debut while playing at MSG. A solid debut for a young man who was quoted after the game as saying: “On the way to the arena my hands were shaking, I couldn’t even drink water. But as I stepped onto the ice, I felt everyone’s support and energy and it really helped me”  Head Coach David Quinn was quick to praise his goalie in post-game comments by saying he was impressed that he could  “To be mentally tough enough to pull himself together”.  Of course, this was due to the fact that J.T. Compher scored at 4:44 of the first period to give Colorado a 1-0 lead, and Nathan MacKinnon scored his 26th goal on a breakaway to make it 2-0 at 6:34. But to his credit, Shesterkin did not melt. he settled down after that, giving up just one goal on the next 29 shots. Igor Shesterkin became the fifth Rangers goalie in 40 years to win in his NHL debut. The others: Mackenzie Skapski (Feb. 20, 2015), Dan Cloutier (Jan. 3, 1998), Mike Richter (Oct. 19, 1989)  and John Vanbiesbrouck (Dec. 5, 1981).

Strong Offense Picks Up Soft Defense

The defense did not do a lot early to help their young goaltender.  The first goal was scored on a deflection and the second goal was scored on a breakaway. Not a great start to help out a young goaltender. But to their credit, the  Rangers bounced back.  Chris Kreider redirected a Ryan Strome‘pass through the five-hole on the power play to make it 2-1. Mika Zibanejad chipped in a loose puck from the slot under the arm of the Colorado Goalie to tie it 2-2.  Brady Skjei‘s huge slapshot from the blueline at 8:05 of the second period gave New York a 3-2 lead.  Colorado rebounded to tie the game but Strome’s fifth goal in the past six games gave the Rangers a 4-3 lead. Artemi Panarin added an empty-net goal to make the final score 5-3. So after some slow stretches, the Rangers’ studs are stepping up. Panarin has 10 assists and 12 points in the last six games. Strome has five goals and four assists in his last six games. Mika Zibanejad has 10 goals and 16 points in his last 12 games

The New York Ranger’s Mika Zibanejad Deserves to Play in the NHL All-Star Game

New York Rangers, Mika Zibanejad

The NHL announced on Monday that the New York Ranger’s forward Artemi Panarin has been selected to the All-Star Game. Fans will get a chance to vote for another deserving Ranger in Mika Zibanejad.  The NHL announced the candidates for the Last Men In selection.  Fans can go and vote for one more player to be selected for the contest, and Zibanejed has been placed on the ballot. Voting for the Last Men In opens Wednesday, Jan. 1, at 12 p.m. ET and closes Friday, Jan. 10, at 11:59 p.m. ET. Fans can vote at NHL.com/Vote or on a mobile interactive ballot on the NHL app.

Zibanajed has an All-Star Resume

We know Tony DeAngelo is not a huge fan of analytics, especially when it deals with Ryan Strome. But with all due respect to the Ranger defenseman, we need to dig into the numbers to make a case for Zibanejad. First, let’s take a look at his recent play.  Since Dec. 12, Zibanejad has seven goals in eight games, along with 13 points and five multi-point affairs. Just last Friday, he posted two power-play goals and an assist at even strength in a 5-3 victory over the Hurricanes.  For the season, he has 14 goals and 30 points with a plus-4 rating in 25 games.  Taking a look at 2018-19, Zibanejad scored 30 goals, 44 assists for 74 points in the 82 games played.  He is also considered one of the better two-way players in the NHL, as he is only one of 11 forwards this season who is averaging 2 minutes of power-play time and 2 minutes of shorthanded time.  Finally, let’s consider this stat: If we take a look at his most recent 82 games, Zibanejad has 37 goals with 47 assists for a total of 84 points. That makes him one of only 24 players who have averaged more than 1 point per game over that time period.

Of course, New York Ranger fans are very much aware of his skill set. This is to help you persuade friends and family to vote for one of our favorite Blueshirts. Even if he does not get voted in, there is a chance that he could also be selected to replace Alex Ovechkin, who has decided to skip the proceedings in order to rest his 34-year-old body. If so inclined, vote early, vote often and let’s place our well deserved forward into the NHL All-Star classic.

 

New York Rangers Show Grit In Almost Fully Recovering from Slow Start, Officiating In Edmonton Loss

New York Rangers, Brad Skjei

The New York Rangers did their very best to make sure the fine people of Edmonton enjoyed their New Year’s Eve. They allowed the Oilers to score six straight goals, including the first one, just eleven seconds in the game. They then almost accomplished what has never been done in NHL history: coming back from a six-goal deficit to win. The Blueshirts scored five goals in the final 20 minutes and 26 seconds of the game but came up short when the Oilers scored an empty-net goal to make the final score 7-5.

Why Did the New York Rangers Start So Slowly?

Given the comeback, not very many people wanted to focus on why the Rangers came out of the gate so sluggishly.  As apparent as it was that they were not ready to play, they may have become a bit shell shocked after the Oilers scored just 11 seconds into the game. After that, the Rangers seemed to lose focus. They played poor defense and took too many penalties and found themselves down 6-0.  This lead to goaltender Alexandar Georgiev repeatedly bashing his stick on the net and having Head Coach David Quinn pulling him. But it was not entirely all his fault. The Rangers were very aware of their inability to commit to playing defense, which includes being physical along the boards and in front of the net. None of this was seen for the first two periods of the game.

Head Coach David Quinn Very Frustrated with the Officiating

Part of the situation that saw the Rangers get down so quickly was the number of penalties they took. Not a good idea against the number one power-play unit in the NHL. Some of the penalties were legit, and some of them raised the ire of Quinn. The worst of these was when Ryan Lindgren was assessed an extra minor for slashing in a dust-up with Jujhar Khaira.  The Rangers were then slapped with a bench minor before the post-goal faceoff even occurred, as Quinn had a few choice words for the officiating crew. Quinn was frustrated after the game but kept his composure, hopefully assuring that he will not receive any additional fines for his displeasure with the officials.

Lost on all of this was that Artemi Panarin had four points while Ryan Strome, meanwhile, scored for the fourth time in four games and Mika Zibanejad for the ninth time in nine. But up and down the roster, players and coaches used one word to describe the comeback: character — something they will need to continue when they travel to Calgary for a Thursday night game.

 

Should the New York Rangers Trade Chris Kreider?

New York Rangers, Chris Kreider

Much of the news swirling around the New York Rangers this holiday season centers around the possibility that the Blueshirts would move 28-year-old winger Chris Kreider. But after watching him recently with linemate Mika Zibajenad, many wonder if this is a good idea.

The Case for Moving New York Rangers’ Kreider

The biggest motive in making the move is that Kreider will be an Unrestricted Free Agent after the season. Kreider does have a modified no-trade clause and carries a $4.625 million salary-cap hit. A couple of weeks ago, Kreider reportedly gave the Rangers a list of 11 teams that he would consider playing for. There are many that feel that the Rangers are unwilling to commit a lot of money to a player that was good but never achieved what many thought he would, even if it means alienating fans.

The second part of the equation is that if the Rangers are dead set on dealing him, is whether to do it now or wait until the trade deadline in February.  There seems to be quite a bit of interest in Kreider, who currently is playing very well. Trading him now will give the Rangers the chance to assimilate any new players on the team for a playoff push. However, the general thought is that waiting until the deadline makes teams willing to offer more in one last attempt to improve their team.  Creating bidding wars means that the Rangers can get the most in return for Kreider. In either scenario, with Taylor Hall off the market, Kreider is now one of the top targets of many teams.

The Case for Keeping Kreider

One of the biggest reasons for keeping Kreider is that he is a leader on the team and popular with teammates. An important consideration for a young team that has a fair chance to at least make a playoff run. Last year’s purge of popular players did not go well. After trading Zuccarello, Hayes, and McQuaid, the Blueshirts proceeded to go 1-6-5 over their next 12, which lead to a poor 5-11-5 finish. That would not be a great message for a young team.  Then there is the chemistry that Kreider and fellow linemate Mika Zibanejad have built up this season. He is also proving to be a leader to a team with many young players.  This may be what the Rangers are thinking as on the Hockey Night in Canada pregame show Saturday, Sportsnet reporter Elliot Friedman mentioned that Kreider is getting some interest but may not be available yet. It was also stated that the Rangers still have interest in resigning him.

The bottom line is that the decision to keep or move Kreider may hinge on whether the Rangers can stay in the playoff race. If the Rangers would falter before the trade deadline, the decision to trade him becomes much easier.

 

Surging New York Rangers Head to Western Canada

New York Rangers

It would have been effortless for a young New York Rangers team to fold up shop after the Toronto Maple Leafs scored two goals in the third period, including the tying goal with just 53 seconds remaining in the game. But that didn’t happen. Instead, Artemi Panarin hit Tony D’Angelo with a pass that he buried for the game-winner just 52 seconds into overtime to lift the Blueshirts to the victory.  The win gave the Rangers two in a row and broke Toronto’s six-game winning streak.

Can the New York Rangers Keep the Momentum Going?

That is certainly on the Rangers’ minds as they head out to Western Canada for three games against the Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, and Vancouver Canucks.  One of the keys to sustaining momentum will be the continued strong play at goal. Slightly lost in last night’s game was that goaltender Alexandar Georgiev stopped 43 of the Leaf’s 47 shots. This marked the third time that Georgiev made 40 or more saves in a game against Toronto. This follows Friday night’s reliable performance by Henrik Lundquist in their win against Carolina.

The other factor in sustaining the momentum is for the stars to keep doing what they have been doing. On Saturday night, Ryan Strome had two goals and two assists while Panarin added three assists, including the one on the game-winner. Mika Zibanejad scored a goal with an assist from Chris Kreider.

These combos on the first two lines need to continue to lead the way in order for the Rangers to continue their winning ways on the road. This also includes the intangibles, which include the ability to keep their composure when things are not going well. Such as the case on Saturday night when they gave up two goals that sent the match into overtime. Even with that, the Rangers remained confident.

After the game, Tony D’Angelo stated:

“I don’t think anyone was panicking when we gave up the lead. They had a lot of good chances and Georgiev played real well, but just like we got our goals, they got theirs, and sometimes that’s how the game goes, but we stuck with it and found a way to pick up the extra point.”

A great attitude for a maturing team.

Injury Update

The Rangers will be missing Brendan Lemieux, who will out three to four weeks after sustaining a broken hand on Friday. They recalled Steven Fogarty from Hartford to take his place in a related note. The Maple Leafs are without Ilya Mikheyev, who had surgery to repair an artery in his right wrist and will be out at least three months. The league announced that in the wake Mikheyev’s injury, the NHL’s laceration task force will meet to discuss ways of making the game safer at All-Star weekend.

 

New York Rangers Rediscover Their Power Play, Topple Carolina

New York Rangers

The New York Rangers knew they were heading into a critical stretch of their schedule. Coming off the NHL three-day holiday break, they tinkered with some lines and used some inspired play to down the Carolina Hurricanes 5-3. The Rangers top players came up big as Henrik Lundqvist stopped 39 shots, and Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejed each tallied three points.

Power Play Drought Ends for the New York Rangers

One of the most significant factors of the night was that the Rangers ended their 0-18 streak on the power play, tallying two power-play goals out of five chances. In fact, the entire specials units for the Blueshirts were outstanding as they also killed all five of Carolina’s power-play chances.  Zibanejad scored the two power-play goals and added his third point on an assist for Chris Kreider’s goal.  Panarin had a goal and two assists, giving him 14 points in his past nine games. In fact, the highlight of the night was not a goal, but rather Panarin’s spectacular pass to Ryan Stromme that set up the Ranger’s fifth and final goal.

The critical decision of the game came from the coaching staff, especially the video crew, when Carolina had a would-be first-period game-tying power-play goal by Sebastian Aho overturned after the Rangers challenged for offside. Both teams cited this as a massive momentum shift.   The only negative that came from the game was that forward Brendan Lemieux sustained a fractured hand and would be out indefinitely. In his post-game comments, Head Coach David Quinn didn’t have details on a timeframe for Lemieux’s injury or if the Rangers would recall a forward from Hartford.

Canada Swing Starts in Toronto

The Blueshirts will be back in action tonight when they face Original Six foe the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Leafs also played on Friday, defeating the New Jersey Devils 5-4 in overtime. Toronto suffered a critical injury of their own Friday night when forward Ilya Mikheyev sustained a significant laceration to his wrist in the third period. He was transported to a Newark, NJ hospital for evaluation, and remained there overnight. Late reports stated that Mikheyev is stable and has full feeling in his hand and fingers. Face-off is at 7 pm, and the “Hockey Night in Canada” feature game will be shown on MSG+ and the NHL network.