Latest posts by Senor Weaselo (see all)
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- [DFO] Presents: Bowl Game Or Not a Bowl Game? – December 5, 2017
(Yeah, wrong team at MSG, but whatever.)
2016-17 record: 48-28-6 (21-16-4 home, 27-12-2 away, 3-4 shootout), 102 pts (4th in the Metropolitan Division, 1st Wild Card)
Goals For: 256 (4th)
Goals Against: 220 (13th
Goal Differential: +36 (5th)
Another year, another Rangers team makes the playoffs with a 100+ point season, woo, 3 years in a row with triple digits! And in the last four years there’s been some hardware, with a Prince of Wales (Eastern Conference title) trophy in 2014 and a President’s Trophy (best record) in 2015. So it’s been a nice run, but there hasn’t been a Stanley Cup during that run so make your jokes.
As many goals as the team scored over the year, this team will go only as far as the defense and goaltending gets them because the Rangers tend to play as many games as possible in the playoffs 2–1. (If it’s more than 3–2, they probably lost.) And goaltender/Most Interesting Man in the NHL Henrik Lundqvist had a down year when he wasn’t hurt, even getting briefly benched for Antti Raanta at one point to get shit straightened out, and his final .910 SV% and 2.74 GAA are both (checks Hockey Reference) below league average. He’s 35, time’s running out to get a Cup.
It’s a good thing there are a few days off because there was a moment where I was legitimately concerned that they’d find a way to squander a 15-or-so point lead for the first Wild Card spot with how they were playing—they haven’t won 3+ in a row since mid-February and haven’t won consecutive games in over a month. And as The Maestro noted, the Rangers have the worst even strength Corsi percentage of the playoff teams, 26th in the NHL overall, ahead of only the Islanders, Devils, Sabres, and Coyotes.
The good news is everyone who was hurt got healthy (Dan Girardi, Kevin Klein, Ryan McDonagh, Rick Nash, Pavel Buchnevich, Lundqvist… am I forgetting anyone? Eh, Mika Zibanejad was too early in the year to count for the stretch run). And the other good news is they don’t have to play the other teams in the Metro until the conference finals and then it’ll only be one of them (and maybe they’ll beat each other up), and the last time the Rangers faced Montreal in the playoffs it went pretty well.
(Insert someone’s comment regarding Chris Kreider and Carey Price)
And if there’s anything to hang one’s hat on for hope, the Rangers have a bunch of options for goal scorers—they had four players with 20+ and ten with double-digits, and you can’t put your #1 defense pairing on all of them. (Habs #1 defenseman Shea Weber will probably go up against the Kreider/Derek Stepan/Mats Zuccarello line, as Kreider led the team in goals with 28 and Zucc led with 44 assists and 59 points.)
The bad news is unless Lundqvist God Mode activates until June a la 2014 it’ll be a short trip to the playoffs and questions about this team’s window closing will only get louder. Also the Habs won all three games in the regular season, the Rangers don’t do well against Carey Price (he’s 15-5-1 with 7 (!) shutouts in 22 games in his career), Lundqvist doesn’t do well at the Bell Centre, and the Rangers haven’t been very good at the Garden outside the first month or so. So yeah. Canadiens in 6.