Steve Zipay takes you inside the locker room, home and on the road, with the New York Rangers, and also writes about the NHL, off and on the ice.
Monday, Monday: Off-day NYR observations, analysis
Nobody needed these next two days without a game than your boys in blue, if only to get their feet under them.
WHAT ABOUT THE GOALIE?
Henrik Lundqvist needs to/will start against the Bruins; he told me weeks ago (you can read it in archives) that game action was critical to climb up to speed, especially with no exhibitions or AHL scrimmages. My guess: He’ll also start in Philly, especially if he doesn’t secure a win vs. Bruins; in other words, No. 30 is in net until he has a W or two under the belt. Biron got his unexpected work in on Sunday, and Lundqvist has been tough against Flyers, 6-0 last year. Would not be shocked if Biron gets nod against Toronto at home next Saturday to allow Lundqvist more practice; he doesn’t need a rest.
I might insert Matt Gilroy for Stu Bickel on Wednesday. Yeah, the Bruins rolled them physically on Saturday, they’ve got some big boys starting with Chara, but Asham’s back. Gilroy can skate and move the puck out of the zone, and is game-ready, having been playing in Hartford. Bickel, who can be overmatched against some teams, letting Joe Vitale get by him on the second goal on Sunday hurt, and when Niskanen’s long one got through Lundqvist (who should not be beaten low from there), the Rangers sagged.
Then there’s Marian Gaborik, who seems to be feeling out his surgically-repaired shoulder and the switch to the left side. No. 10 did have five shots on Sunday after two on Saturday.
THE SCRAMBLY D
Seems to me they could use some video on positioning; can’t keep chipping puck out. But talent is there; they will mesh at some point.
Brooks Orpik rocked Chris Kreider, who was caught with his head down at mid-ice in the third period. Told with off-day, no update on him, unclear whether he’ll practice Tuesday. No call ups from AHL at this point.
THE STAT SHEET:
Except for Derek Stepan’s clean loss to Crosby that led to goal three, Rangers won 57 percent, far better than the 40 on Saturday…Brian Boyle, two rough games, did not have a shot on goal.
Stepan (two assists) was better than in Boston…Carl Hagelin was better, too, with four shots and was in on the forecheck…Rangers had 64 shot attempts (34 on net, 16 tries blocked, 14 misses). Pens also had 64 (39,16, 9)…And Rick Nash will be a force in all situations: His numbers for two games: 1-1-2, 7 shots, 6 hits, drives the net, draws people to him, should open space for mates. Playing in Switzerland helped him, for sure…