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Well, it’s time for our annual Rangers-Capitals playoff matchup. Since these teams met just twelve months ago, the scouting report I wrote on Holtby last season is still pretty applicable. He’s had an extra half a season to acclimate to full time starter duties in the NHL, so there has been some evolution in his game. I decided to change up the format for the guys I scouted last season; I’m going to consolidate four categories into two. Being combined are general style and strengths, along with weaknesses and how the Rangers should approach the matchup. Let’s get to it…
Holtby’s style hasn’t changed much, if at all, since last season’s scouting report. He is still an extremely poised, athletic tender with solid instincts and vision. He has near elite levels of lateral movement and recovery, with an absolutely lethal glove hand. He has rounded his game out a little through this lockout-shortened season, specifically with blocking and rebound control.
In the playoffs last season, he was all hands and legs. Generally, when a goalie’s saves are concentrated to their gloves and pads, they are losing peripheral inches on their positioning, requiring more acrobatic save techniques. This year, Holtby has improved his over-movement to the point where he is catching pucks in the mid-section more frequently. This is a product of allowing the puck to travel and “hit you”, as opposed to affirmatively attacking the puck with various parts of your equipment. Read more »
With Ottawa’s regulation loss against Philly tonight, the Rangers have locked in the number 6 seed and a date with the Caps in the first round.
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Sorry again about no goal breakdown, but the Rangers picked up two big points against the Devils today, winning by a score of 4-0. Hank bagged his second shutout of the season and Rick Nash enjoyed a dominating performance with two goals. There were contributions from all over the ice, including two point performances from Ryan Callahan, Brad Richards and Derek Stepan. The win gives the Blueshirts 56 points, 22 regulation wins and a temporary hold on the 6th seed in the East. I thought I’d use this post as an open thread for everyone to talk about the game, plus lay out the possible playoff matchup scenarios the Rangers could find themselves in.
6th Seed: Since the Islanders are already done, it comes down to the Ottawa Senators to change the seeding. The Sens have two remaining games and 54 points. For the Rangers to stay in 6th place, the Sens would need to lose at least one game in regulation or lose both in OT/shootout. In that case, The Sens would either finish with less or the same amount of points as the Rangers, and the Rangers would hold the tiebreaker on regulation victories. Read more »
It’s Friday boys and girls, that means the weekly BSB live chat! Start populating those questions at 2:45pm and the chat will begin at 3pm sharp. See everyone this afternoon!
Pick a team, any team…
With the Rangers finally clinching a playoff spot last night with their win over Carolina, the final game of the season against the Devils has lost some significance. Don’t get me wrong, I’m tremendously grateful that the boys from Newark don’t get to play spoiler against us a week after we eliminated them from postseason contention. However, the game could be important when it comes to shuffling out the bottom of the Eastern Conference deck.
The Rangers, Islanders and Senators currently sit 6-8 in the East with 54 points. The Sens hold a game in hand on both the Rangers and Isles. At the moment, the Rangers hold the tiebreaker with 21 regulation wins to the Senators’ and Islanders’ 20. As we know, the Rangers only remaining opponent is New Jersey on Saturday, while the Isles only have lowly Buffalo remaining, and Ottawa has Philly and Boston. The final few games could have the bottom three spots in the conference shake out in a number of ways.
This got me thinking, out of the four possible opponents for the Blueshirts in the first round, is there really a preferred matchup? As the standings currently, well, stand, the Rangers could potentially matchup against Pittsburgh, Boston, Washington, or slightly less likely Montreal. Let’s have a gander at how the Rangers match up against each one…
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Just a quick reminder, the BSB Friday live chat returns today at 3pm! We’re talking the last 5 games, playoffs, matchups, whatever. See everyone this afternoon!
Photo: New York Times
When the Rangers traded Marian Gaborik to the Columbus Blue Jackets at the deadline this year, the concern was adding more grit and toughness to the lineup. Having already added Ryane Clowe, the attention turned to what Derick Brassard and Derek Dorsett bring to the group. John Moore was something of a mystery player. He wasn’t a throw in by any stretch, but he was a player that most of the fan base was unfamiliar with, and thus has no idea what we were getting back in the former first round pick from Chicago (hometown, not drafting team).
During his abbreviated tenure in New York (eight games, to be exact), Moore has been impressive. It’s becoming clear that he is becoming more comfortable in the system and is starting to make some really intelligent hockey decisions to go along with his raw tools. Read more »
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The Rangers head to Philly tonight to take on the lowly Flyers who will try and play spoiler to the Rangers playoff chances. The boys from Philly are stuck at 39 pts, good for 12th in the Conference and seven points behind the 8th seeded Rangers. This game (and the rest of the schedule for that matter) has trap game written all over it after the war with the Islanders (still sounds weird, right?) on Saturday night. They need to keep their nose to the grindstone.
As we’ve discussed before, Peter Laviolette throws two different forechecking looks at the opposition. The first look is the 2-1-2 forecheck, and once the Flyers get a lead, they tend to switch to a more conservative 2-3 left wing lock. Both systems send two forecheckers into the zone, but the 2-3 leaves one forward high in the zone, while the 2-1-2 sends an additional forechecker in deep. The 2-12 also allows defensemen to join the forecheck.
In their own zone, the Flyers play a low zone collapse, which is similar to the Rangers. This creates a logjam in the high-priced real estate, but gives some leeway at the point for puck movement.On special teams, the Flyers play an umbrella powerplay (like most NHL teams) and a diamond penalty kill.
For more on Tortorella’s systems read here. Read more »