Game Fifty-Four, the New York Rangers at the
Phoenix Arizona Coyotes
Rangers vs Coyotes coverage | Five For Howling
Two games into the four game road trip and the Blueshirts have four points! So, all is good, yeah? Well, kinda. It's great to see the offense waking up and doing some heavy damage (we're talking Charmander using ember against Bellsprout kinda damage here), but the sloppy and inconsistent play by the Rangers is certainly a cause for concern. The Rangers are finding ways to allow bad teams back into games. They're not showing up for long stretches during games, they're allowing far too many breakaways and odd-man rushes, and they're not putting bad teams away. Great teams don't have these problems as often as the Rangers do, which is why so many of us are probably so hesitant to expect too much from this lineup. Still, as Joe said after the Rangers beat the Avalanche, two points is two points and right now the Rangers just have to find a way to keep winning and putting pressure on the other winning teams in the Metropolitan Division.
We all say it all the time and most of us are getting understandably exhausted of it, but bad things happen when Tanner Glass is on the ice. Very, very bad things.With Jesper Fast on the shelf with his injury the Rangers have been using Glass regularly and I honestly can't remember a game where he was on the ice and wasn't at least partially responsible for a goal or didn't do something absolutely idiotic. Thursday's game against the Avalanche was exceptionally bad for Glass, here's to hoping that he proves to be less of a factor tonight in the desert.
Tonight the Rangers square off against the Arizona Coyotes. There are several names on the Coyotes' roster that have been tied to the Rangers in the mercurial world of NHL trade rumors, but no name has been repeated more than Antoine Vermette. Keep an eye on Vermette and the role he plays for the Coyotes tonight. What would someone like him be worth? Someone is going to overpay for Vermette because of the value placed on centers who can pick up points, I just hope it isn't the Rangers.
The Coyotes are one of the teams that is already setting their sights on Connor McDavid in the upcoming NHL Draft. Yeah, things are that bad for Arizona. After a loss last night to the Sharks, the 'Yotes are 9-14-4 on their own ice and are 20-28-7 on the season, which makes them the fourth worst team in the NHL in regards to points. Until recently, Mike Smith has been a sieve in net for a Coyotes team that simply doesn't have much of an offense, especially after watching Radim Vrbata leave in the offseason to go play with the Sedin twins in Vancouver. Smith is slowly starting to turn things around, but that does not change the fact that remains one of the most overrated starting goaltenders in the league. The Rangers are going to have to put a lot of pressure on the fragile psyche of Mike Smith and do whatever it is they have to do to play the entire game without taking a twelve minute break and waiting for the other team to score a few goals and make the game interesting. This is a game they are supposed to win and there isn't a guy in that locker room that doesn't know it.
The New York Rangers' February Schedule
2/2 Panthers at the Rangers, 7:00 PM(win.) 2/4 Bruins at the Rangers, 8:00 PM(win.) 2/7 Rangers at the Predators, 3:00 PM(loss.) 2/8 Stars at the Rangers, 5:00 PM(overtime loss.) 2/10 Rangers at the Leafs, 7:30 PM(I guess it was a win) 2/12 Rangers at Avalanche, 9:00 PM(win.)
2/14 Rangers at Coyotes, 8:00 PM
2/16 Rangers at Islanders, 7:00 PM
2/19 Canucks at Rangers, 7:00 PM
2/20 Rangers at Sabres, 7:00 PM
2/22 Blue Jackets at Rangers, 7:30 PM
2/24 Flames at Rangers, 7:00 PM
2/26 Coyotes at Rangers, 7:00 PM
2/28 Rangers at Flyers, 8:00 PM
Mike's Player to Watch: Martin St. Louis
Let's go Rangers! Drop the puck. Go get two points, boys.