Opening Faceoff: Rangers vs Blue Jackets 11/17/17

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The Rangers look to get themselves back on track tonight against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Blueshirts enter this contest after falling flat on their faces during the third period of their game Wednesday night against Chicago. This should be a good matchup between two hungry teams looking to pick up some much-needed points.

Since we last saw the two teams face off against one another, the Blue Jackets dropped their next two games against Nashville and Carolina, before winning their last two games outside of regulation, defeating Detroit in overtime, and Montreal in a shootout Tuesday night.

As for the Rangers, they had their winning streak snapped on Wednesday night after a lackluster effort against the Blackhawks, which featured their bad defensive habits from the month of October. Luckily, the Rangers have a quick turn around to right these wrongs, as they get set to face a division rival.

What to Watch For

Rangers Reset their Power Play: The Rangers power play also struggled mightily against the Blackhawks, unable to get themselves set up in the offensive zone. The Rangers need to work on getting themselves back to basics and focus hard on getting into their setup, and then the attack. Because a good powerplay isn’t good without the proper setup, and as we saw Wednesday night, if you can’t get set, you’re not going to score with the man-advantage.

Defense: The Rangers defense didn’t have many proud moments on Wednesday night, especially in the third period when the Blackhawks poured on three goals in 2:45. The Rangers defense struggled mightily, especially when defending the top players from the Blackhawks. But that’s in the past now, and it’s time to see how they respond. The Rangers defense has the right to be heavily criticized, but it is up to them to fix their issues and respond accordingly.

Speed Kills: The Rangers speed is notorious for hurting the opposition in many ways including, causing the opponents to not be able to get into their defensive set properly, causing mismatches and beating the opposition to loose pucks. The Rangers were matched after an intermission adjustment by the Blackhawks, causing their speed to be stymied. However, the Rangers will need to find a way to counter-attack and go for a “quick strike” goal when the opportunities are there. Look for speedsters Michael Grabner and Chris Kreider to use their speed to their advantage, leading to mishaps by the Blue Jackets, and most importantly lead to positives for the Rangers.

News and Notes

The moment we’ve all (okay maybe all of us) been waiting for:

So with that being said, Kampfer will go back to watching games from up above. While he has been serviceable in the games he has played in (minus Wednesday night, but no one on the defensive side of the puck looked good) it’s time to see how Smith has adjusted to his time off.

Has the extra work he’s put in at practice helped? Does he have a better mindset going into the games? Will he be what we remembered?

Time will tell, but baby steps. You can read about our thoughts on Smith returning to the lineup, here. and here.

Who to Watch

Jim McIsaac

For the Rangers side, watch for the KZB line to have a bounce-back game defensively. After having a lapse in defensive judgment in the third period that led to the Blackhawks taking the lead for good, the trio was limited to just seven shifts during the third period. While it’s important to help make an example of a line if they’re not performing, they are your top line for a reason. They need to go back to playing a simple defensive game, and if they do that, they’ll succeed.

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For the Blue Jackets, watch for Artemi Panarin. While he only has three goals so far this year, two of them came against the Rangers. Acquired from the Blackhawks during the offseason, Panarin hasn’t truly found his scoring touch quite yet, unless it’s against the Rangers. Look for him to continue his successful ways against the Rangers.

Scouting the Competition

Follow, Rob Mixer who gives his insight to 1st Ohio Battery for the Blue Jackets.

As always follow our family of Twitter Handles for game day tweets, and game day analysis, @4BNYRGameday and @TiltedIce!


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