Sunday, November 6, 2011

Biron Shutout Leads Rangers To Fourth Straight Win

The New York Rangers extended their winning streak to four games with a 3-0 win over the Winnipeg Jets. The win gave New York a 4-1-1 homestand, which is quite the improvement after coming away winless in their first two games of the stand. Overall the team sits at 7-3-3 on the season.

Martin Biron stopped 23 saves for his first shutout as a Ranger. While not tested a whole lot, other than a few plays in the first, Biron once again showed why there should be no concern over him getting action and resting Lundqvist.  The win improved him to 3-0 this season. 

After an uneventful opening the period the Rangers got on the board when Derek Stepan tallied on the power play. Gaborik took care of the rest of the scoring, first off a beautiful feed from Stepan on 2 on 1 and then with a backhander into an empty net with 1.1 seconds left.
  • Power play was not pretty for most of the night, but they did tally once improving to 5-0-1 when they get a power play goal.
  • Girardi continues to take a beating and keep going as there were multiple times tonight that he looked hurt and returned to action.
  • Dubinsky's issues scoring are now impacting him even the simple plays.  No better example of it then late in the game when they were trying to feed him for the empty-netter and he couldn't even skate or handle the puck out of his own zone.  Still believe when he gets one he will go on a run, but the pressure is mounting.

Video: KHL Coach Andrei Nazarov Swings Stick At Fans From Bench

Andrei Nazarov used to be an NHL player, but is now the coach of Vityaz in the KHL.  His team lost 3-2 to Dinamo Minsk, but that was not the story of this one.  A fan threw something from the stands at Nazarov behind the bench in the closing seconds of the game and Nazarov decided he was going to take action.  Nazarov grabbed a stick and started swinging it over the glass at the fan.

H/T to Puck Daddy for the video:

Rangers' Kreider Continues Domination For Boston College

Last summer there was a push amongst many to have Chris Kreider (2009 1st round pick) turn pro even though he had a subpar season at Boston College.  The idea behind it was that you get him in the professional ranks with the New York Rangers and let them take over his development.  Part of the theory for some was that Kreider seemed bored with college hockey and was not going to take the next step while at Boston College.  My problem with that is a prospect shows they are ready when they go out and dominate their competition level.  It might have taken longer than some had both hoped and expected, but Kreider is now a doing that for Boston College. 

Each game for Boston College Kreider seemingly ups his game and that happened again Friday night with another three point performance.  He scored once and assisted on two others Friday as BC dominated Maine 5-1. On Saturday he had a power play goal in the 4-2 loss to UMass.

Jess Rubenstein at The Prospect Park has more on Kreider’s play the Friday night.
Kreider was involved in all 3 of those goals and then in the 3rd period showed us something we have been waiting to see for 3 years. We saw some snarl out of him as Kreider even showed us some temper when Maine tried to push him around and Kreider pushed back.
A little snarl would be a welcomed addition to Kreider's game because he is going to take a ton of punishment at the NHL level with his role as a power forward around the net.  As long as Kreider is smart about when and how to push back it will only help him establish himself once he becomes a pro.

The four points in the two games gives Kreider 15 points (8G, 7A) in only 10 games this season after tallying only 11 goals and 13 assists in 32 games last year.  There was never any question that Kreider had the physical tools to play in the NHL, even possibly this year, but his game was not at that consistent level.  This kind of domination in college shows that he is putting it everything together now and vastly improves his chances of being the impact player he wants to be at the NHL level.

Anisimov, Stepan Skills Provide Excellent Combination For Rangers' Gaborik

The New York Rangers have been looking for the right combination to go with Marian Gaborik for some time trying out countless groupings, but an injury to Wojtek Wolski might have finally allowed them to hit on the right one.  Both Artem Anisimov and Derek Stepan have struggled at times early in the season to repeat the work they did for New York last year finding themselves on the fourth line for periods of time.  Stepan was put back with Gaborik a few games back, but Anisimov got his first shot with him, this year, last night against Montreal. 

While the two young forwards did not connect with Gaborik in the game last night both showed tremendous vision and passing that should make their combination with the Rangers' sniper a potentially lethal one. Stepan showed off his passing acumen with his top quality feeds to Erik Christensen and Michael Del Zotto for their goals and Anisimov showed his vision finding Dan Girardi for the Rangers other goal of the first period.  Having players who can skate, see the ice and have the passing ability of Stepan and Anisimov is great for Gaborik as he can carry the puck less through the neutral zone and when he works his way open they will find him.  The willingness of both Stepan and Anisimov to work in the corners and on the forechecking cycle allows Gaborik to work free more in the slot areas as well.  The key for the two young players will be to continue to play their game and take the opportunity that is there without trying to force chances with Gaborik.

Gaborik has been playing at a tremendously high level all season despite the constant changing of his linemates, but if the Rangers can have these two young, highly-skilled forwards seize the opportunity with their top sniper, Gaborik could take it to yet another level.  Beyond that it would bring a level of stability to the Rangers offensive lines as Richards has found a home with Dubinsky and Callahan and the Boyle line remains in tact.