| Preseason Game 4: Fishsticks at Rangers 9/24/19 7pm, MSG/NHLN|
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RANGERS vs. ISLANDERS, 7 p.m.
10 Panarin - 93 Zibanejad - 89 Buchnevich
18 Staal - 23 Fox
So how is Mika Zibanejad's Russian coming along?
"It's nonexistent," Zibanejad said, "but it's working out."
His translator? "It's Buchie," Zibanejad said with a wry smile. That would be Pavel Buchnevich, who sits to Zibanejad's right in the Rangers' practice rink dressing room, and who on Tuesday night will line up to his right for the first time in this preseason. When the Blueshirts hit the Madison Square Garden ice against the Islanders, the line that will start 2019-20 as the Rangers' No. 1 unit will get its first chance to try it out in a game.
Buchnevich will join Zibanejad and Artemi Panarin, the left winger who in his first preseason game as a Ranger wowed the crowd at the Garden by scoring on a blistering power-play one-timer, then made a few fans hold their breath when he left the game in the second period with a mild groin strain. The Rangers lifted him to be extra cautious and expressed no concern that it was anything major, and so Panarin will go back in for his second preseason game on Tuesday.
"It's nice to be able to play with those two. It's been feeling good in practice, hopefully we can carry that into a game," said the multi-lingual Zibanejad, adding about his communication with his linemates: "During practices, the things we want to do, there's just certain key words and phrases that we all just know what it means. It's working fine."
Buchnevich and Zibanejad, of course, know one another well, and last season reached personal milestones together, with Buchnevich reaching 20 goals (he finished with 21) and Zibanejad scoring 30 for the first time in their careers. Part of the preseason objective is getting familiar with their new teammate Panarin.
"I'm just trying to let it happen more than thinking about it," Zibanejad said. "He's such a smart player. I'm trying to just read off of what he does. And I have noticed some things - I'm not going to say them though, I'll keep that to ourselves. But I've noticed a lot of things that he does that can really benefit us as a line. It's going to be a fun process."
Buchnevich's spot had been held for him by Kaapo Kakko, the 18-year-old who also skated for the first time as a Ranger last Wednesday, and who will hit the Garden ice for a second time against the Islanders. With Chris Kreider not in Tuesday's lineup, both Buchnevich and Kakko will go out with the Rangers' top power-play unit, the one that includes Zibanejad, Panarin and Jacob Trouba and which had the Garden buzzing in its four appearances Wednesday against New Jersey. Kakko and Trouba picked up the assists that night on Panarin's scorcher.
At even strength, though, the Rangers, who last played on Saturday night in Philadelphia, have pinpointed some areas they would like to see tidied up in their three remaining tune-up games.
"We've touched on some of the things we've got to be better at, and puck management is number one," David Quinn said. "Over the three (preseason) games we've given up eight scoring chances off of D-zone coverage, which is pretty good. And 27 off the rush, which is incredibly alarming. And a lot of it is just puck management, changes, things of that nature. So we're working on that."
Henrik Lundqvist, who started on Friday in Newark and played half the game - making 21 saves before yielding to Adam Huska - will take his second start of the preseason tonight, and could see more than 30 minutes in this one. Alexandar Georgiev will back him up and see some action, too, his first since last Wednesday.
Brendan Lemieux will be making his preseason debut for the Blueshirts, with Josh Bailey doing the same for the Isles. Thomas Greiss will man the nets and should see the entire game for the Islanders, who defeated the Red Wings in overtime on Monday night to move to 4-1-0 in their preseason, with three of the wins coming in OT.
Location: New Jersey
|So we have the top line |
2/3 of the 3rd line with Kakko... looking for Kravtsov to show chemistry with Howden....
Kakko looking to shine on the PP
We have 2/3 of the 4th line, so looking for Lemieux and Fast to click... Strome could end up centering this line, really but I think he is the 3rd line RW with Howden and Kravtsov opening night...
Lias Andersson is scoring a goal tonight. He seems to be a bubble player, so expect a big effort from him.
They list Staal and Fox as the top pair for a reason.... we'll be seeing a lot of Fox tonight!
Should be a good one!
LET'S GO RANGERS!!!
|At the game. Fox is legit. Kakko made a couple of mistakes, but you can see the skill. He’s going to be amazing. |
Location: New Jersey
|Some Russian magic happened just then|
Steady Eddie - 2019-09-24 4:56 PM
At the game. Fox is legit. Kakko made a couple of mistakes, but you can see the skill. He’s going to be amazing.
Yeah I've been impressed with Fox. He's really deliberate with the puck, doesn't panic...great trait for a young defender. On Kakko, have been also impressed with his strength....he looks more like a 20 something with the puck than an 18 year old.
The young goalies have looked pretty good too, looks really promising for the future as they ratchet Lundqvist back...hoping that Georgiev really makes it tough to decide as well, that save he made on Eberle was superb.
Kravtsov I think still has some things to prove. Still not hitting those passes as well as he might like, but very early right now.
|I expect Kravtsov to play a year in the AHL. Andersson is so much better than Chytil right now it's' mind boggling. It's a shame our coach puts him on lines with no talent. Thank God if he plays on the 4th line during the season it will be with Lemieux and Fast which could easily be the third line on some nights. Chytil has sucked all pre-season. I repeat. He's not a center right now. I would have no problem if they kept Kravtsov up and sent Chytil to the minors.|
Edited by itsmcilrathtime 2019-09-25 3:53 AM
|It's often hard to know why a coach is favoring one player over another, we don't get much perspective on what kind of shape these players showed up to camp - other than the superlative examples like player x is in the best shape since they invented the solar system etc - and we don't generally hear about how their attitude has been, other than mid-season, or in the case of DeAngelo, contract driven dialogue that you might not otherwise hear. |
What we can do is observe how a coach uses a player, and the types of things they do and don't say about a player. For instance Namestnikov seems to be on the outside at the moment, Chytil appears to also be disappointing Quinn and co, while Strome by contrast seems to be doing a lot of what he needs to.
If you look at the difference between Strome and Chytil, there might not be that big a difference in terms of on-ice impact, but Strome may be a better listener and team player than what Chytil is right now for instance - not saying that is the case, but certainly Strome appears to be more favored.
IMO Chytil's on-ice performance hasn't been egregious, but it's certainly not been where the Rangers need him to be for 2nd line. That said, I'm not sure Strome's has either, but that might be more a limitation of his skill set and size, rather than in Chytil's case where it may be figuring out how to be an NHLer.
As for Andersson, he really looks like he's trying, he's still got some skill/capability question marks in my opinion, but there's no doubt he's trying hard perhaps to be more of a third line center rather than being the offensive player that Chytil has potential to be. Howden is a similar mould to Andersson, though appears to have a little more stick handling ability, and perhaps those are your best 3/4 options right now.
|I agree that Chytil has disappointed Quinn. Watching Andersson you can now tell he will be an elite defensive player. He breaks up a ton of plays every game. He also is fearless in front of the opponents net. He really is starting to get under the skin of oppenents. You put him with Lemieux and Fast who have been know to do that and you are looking at a line that can chip in offensive and draw penalties. I don't see Howden similar to Andersson in some ways. Howden is 6'3. He's a kid that should round out at about 210-215 lbs. They both can be top draw guys but Howden can be elite on draws. Both project as top defensive players. I see Howden as a much better passer and Andersson as a guy who will be a better finisher when he matures. |
Too early to guess where they can be offensively in a few years. I'd like to see Howden work on playing with more of a mean streak. I'd like to see Andersson work on driving the net when he is carry the puck. It will help his agitating game.
One thing I don't want to see is Smith. Good guy but he sucks.
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