Rangers vs. Blackhawks… It’s Go Time!

Game 30

Rangers vs. Blackhawks – 7:00 PM MSG

The Rangers play the second half of a delayed home and home (both teams had a game in between) with the Blackhawks. Normally I save the big news for after the lineup but there’s no ignoring the $8.5 million elephant in the room: Antti Raanta starts his fourth consecutive game, the first time that Lundqvist has sat four straight as a healthy scratch in his entire career.  What’s being underreported is the vastly improved defensive play of the Rangers as a team, greatly reducing the number of shots against.  That’s not to say Raanta has been anything other than spectacular, just a separate good sign for the way the team is trending.

I’ll be watching this one on a delay, possibly even tomorrow morning. Clearly, this is a HAV.


Tonight’s possible lineup for the Rangers (20-9-1):

Chris Kreider-Derek Stepan-Mats Zuccarello

JT Miller-Kevin Hayes-Michael Grabner

Jimmy Vesey-Brandon Pirri-Nicklas Jensen

Marek Hrivik-Oscar Lindberg-Jesper Fast

Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi

Marc Staal-Nick Holden

Brady Skjei-Kevin Klein

The big news, of course, is the aforementioned fourth consecutive start for Antti Raanta.   He has gone about 151 minutes without allowing a goal against. In addition to the improved defensive play, special teams have been very good lately, which could be an advantage against a poor Blackhawks penalty kill.

Rick Nash is getting closer to returning.  There are still no definitive timetables on Buchnevich or Puempel. Frankly, I like what Hrivik and Jensen have brought to the table more than Puempel.

The defense remains the same as it has for most of the season. I’d like to see Skjei paired with Holden at some point. Holden has been playing very well over the past ten games or so.

For the Blackhawks (18-8-4), the story is still about injuries, but some help is on the way.  The Hawks had been without captain and star center Jonathan Toews (much to the chagrin of Sioux), as well as starting goaltender Corey Crawford and defenseman Brent Seabrook. However, Toews and Seabrook will return to the Hawks lineup tonight.  We also get another chance to see Marian Hossa, who is just one of my absolute favorite players.

Don’t forget to tell everyone you know and to follow me on Twitter @rangersreport2. And don’t forget to vote for your three stars after the game!

200 thoughts on “Rangers vs. Blackhawks… It’s Go Time!”

  1. Pulled into SeaTac to discover my son’s flight is delayed many hours, left there to find a nearby Ethiopian cafe with nothing remotely un-Ethiopian to eat, great coffee, and… not one but three big screens carrying Rangers-Hawks. So, learning Ethiopian cuisine and watching the game I was sure to miss. Is this a great country or what?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. In light of the captain’s ailment I’m guessing the flu bug is going to make it’s way around the locker room now..


  3. SN, thanks, but too late. I told the almost-as-pretty-as-Hank waitress to bring whatever, and she did. No idea what it is, but delish!


  4. With expection of Crawford, this is pretty much what Chicago has. No McD, no Nash, no Buchnevich, no Hank. I’d call this one at least competitive. And it’s far from over.


  5. Good forecheck/attack so far but Hawks tenacious back there, may take a bounce or a tic-tax-toe to break through. Raanta excellent on the counterattack.


  6. Rangers depleted, playing great hockey. Can’t win every game you play well, Hawks didn’t win Cups by accident.


  7. This one is not on the Rangers being not good enough, but the Hawks playing unreal defense, IMO. Near total commitment.


  8. Great hockey game, but that’s why you don’t call timeout. Chicago got to rest its best players, gave the Rangers NOTHING in the last minute. Surprised AV didn’t stick to his usual guns.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Kreider needs to learn how to stick handle his problem is he is faster then the puck! So much for Bettman points it may cost them!


  10. So annoyed no Power play tonight. Saw a few infractions the refs chose to ignore

    The kreider boarding, I agree Dave, the guy turned last second after kreids committed to the hit

    Rangers played well overall. Darling the difference.

    Rangers losing their checks twice along same half boards. Coaches will get that cleaned up


  11. The only thing to take out of that game in regards to goaltending is that Scott Darling really gives the Rangers issues. much like Matt Murray (and the way Ben Bishop used to). Thank goodness he’s a backup and plays out west


  12. As for Hank, I am a supporter but I wasn’t liking his interview or his body language /scowl last night. “I don’t think I’ve been that bad”..?
    Did he watch footage of that Isles games? Did he forget that goal in Winnipeg? Get over yourself. You’re an amazing generational talent but you’ve stunk more often than not this season. I want to see the real Lundqvist in his next start and from here on in. (As in no 55 footers or bad angle short siders please)


  13. Good morning, boneheads!
    Didn’t see the interview, is that what he said? Ugh.
    As for the game. I thought it was a very good, entertaining hockey. Could’ve gone either way. Considering they played shorthanded against a full Chicago varsity ( minus Crawford), you can’t get upset about this loss.
    I thought their defense stepped in pretty well without McD. That’s a lot of important minutes to eat.
    What I liked the most is that bottom 6 produced most of the offense, including a newly found Hrivik-Lindberg-Fast line and especially Jimmy Vesey. Without Nash, Buchnevich, and Zibanejad first two lines, the way they are currently constructed, will be shut out very often by good teams. So they need the bottom 6 to contribute.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. James G thanks for reminding us of the disparity of Varsity vs. Depleted Rangers.
    Once again Kreider getting called for hits most players don’t called called for. You can see it in his eyes sometimes, just isn’t sure how much power to use.

    Also bit odd they couldn’t find a single penalty to call on Hawks. Guess they play a very clean game… guess I missed it!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. NYR played better than the earlier Chi-town win, particularly given the fact McD was out.
    Girardi just awful on game winner. Needed the Clapper to get up after tripping over his laces
    Shea Hey Kid is a gamer; though flying around like a headless chicken at times
    BHawks really focused on shutting down Haze line
    3rd/4th line is a dynamo now. Fast can’t shoot puck but great hand/eye for tips and swats.
    Easy Peasy Jimmy Vesey was on fire; need to get him away from Pirri who missed a gimme slam dunk pass from Shea; Pirri just not very good; can’t skate. Would prefer Juris Prudence.
    Henk’s playing great, just ask him…

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Thicke wrote “Hockey Sock Rock” as then MSG President Sonny Werblin was trying to make the Rangers more “hip”. The proceeds went to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. The original song featured Phil Esposito and the Ranger Rockers (John Davidson, Ron Duguay, Dave Maloney and Pat Hickey – although Hickey did not make the video they shot at the Rye Playland practice rink). The version I posted featuers Espo, Thicke, Gil Gerard (Chicago sweater) and The Unknown Comic.

    The B side of the record (remember them) was another Thicke song: “Forgive My Misconduct Last Night” by Dionne and the Puck-Tones (triple Crown linemates Marcel Dionne, Charlie Simmer and Dave Taylor).


  17. Espo’s a better singer than he was a GM.
    Wonder if that was filmed on the upstairs mini rink?
    How do we know that’s the real unknown comic?


  18. Frustrating game to watch, always seemed just out of reach for NYR. Buch and Z can’t get back soon enough – line of THE/Step/Zuc just not doing it. Auntie was great again but overall the D played pretty well too against a team with some very high talent. Remember this is the same D missing its #1 star and, so I read, boat anchors like G, Staal and Klein. Perhaps our D is not quite as horrid, in the big picture, as many make it out to be.

    As to refs, we definitely got one back when they did not whistle JT for pulling a THE on the goalie late in the game.


  19. I think it is the real Unknown Comic because there was a longer video from a 1980 episode of Alan Thicke’s talk show and the Comic is on it. I am not going to post it but if you search Phil Esposito, Gil Gerard, Alan Thicke you will see the video (it is aboot 7 minutes).

    They did shoot a video at Rye Playland, but not in the studio rink – where incidentally I used to play goal every Thursday night (in boots, no skates). It was shot in the snack stand area. If you do the above search you should find the Rangers video as part of a 4 1/2 minute clip featuring J.D. You will also see the B side video as well.

    As i mentioned, the Rangers video doesn’t have Pat Hickey in it even though he was listed as “singing” on the record. I would bet he did sing on it and by the time they recorded the video he had been dealt to the Colorado Rockies. Too bad we never got to see Hitch, Anders Hedberg and Ulf Nilsson play as a line at their best – talk about speed!


  20. SN, I think once Nash comes back he and Vesey will be back with Stepan. Hopefully Nasher picks up where he left off.
    I’m not saying they didn’t play a pretty good game last night. Just saying that in 3 games against Scott Darling they’ve got 1 goal.
    I find their stats against the annual Cup contenders kind of interesting-check it out:
    3-3 against the Hawks over the last 3 seasons. Score: 1-0 OT win, 1-0 regulation loss. 3-2 regulation win, 5-3 loss, 1-0 OT win..3-0 at United Center. 0-3 at MSG.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. or you could show the fight he won earlier when the opposing player ran the goalie and FLA got the PP even with McBeast throwing.; http://www.hockeyfights.com/fights/135381
    2 fights and a goal in 1 game; that’s 1 more fight and 2 less goals as our entire D in the last 5 games
    Good for him.
    Minny plays tough; EStaal playing well away from AV, coming up soon…


  22. Good for Dylan – stuck up for his goalie, chucked some knuckles (twice) and then rifled one over the goalies right shoulder from the opposite side.

    Liked by 2 people

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