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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

NY Rangers Notes - Wed 10/22/14

- The oldest player on the team is playing the most minutes. Martin St. Louis, who turns 40 years old next June, is leading all NY Rangers forwards in icetime per game (18:31). Behind Nash, MSL is quietly also enjoying a great start to the 2014-15 season. He is tied with Kreider for 2nd on the team in points (1-5-6), tied with Nash for 1st in plus/minus (+6). 

- Kevin Hayes, who got his 1st career assist last night in the 4-3 overtime win against the Devils, is now dead-last in the NHL in faceoff win % (among those to take 10+ faceoffs). He is 15-46 (24.6%).

- Chris Kreider continues to be a young man with tremendous upside. Behind Nash, and tied with MSL, Kreider is 2nd on the team in points (2-4-6), but has taken 9 minor penalties in 7 games. Kreider turns 24 years old in April. What a nifty game-winning pass to Klein last night in overtime... Remember when Kreider was riding pine in tight 3rd periods/overtimes last regular season? Good news: The Kreider Project is progressing.

- The NY Rangers lead the NHL in takeaways (57). NYR are also 24th in faceoff win % (47.8), 24th in Power Play % (10.0%), 20th in Penalty Kill % (78.6%), tied for 13th in Goals-For-Per-Game (2.86), and 23rd in Goals-Against-Per-Game (3.29).

- Duclair sat out his 2nd consecutive game, as the Rangers have outscored their opponent 8-3 in those 2 games. With Chris Mueller's impressive early performance, and Dominic Moore seemingly set up to play 3rd line minutes until Stepan returns, does this edge out Duclair's chances at a full NHL season? Or is it looking like he will be returned to his junior team (Quebec Remparts - QMJHL)? If Duclair played center, we wouldn't be having this conversation. Yet NY has a plethora of wingers, and Duclair's NYR residency is uncertain, or at least at this time.

- With Henrik Lundqvist's 4-0 shutout last Sunday, he surpassed Eddie Giacomin's NYR record of 9 straight seasons with a shutout, cementing a shutout for the 10th consecutive year. Since allowing 14 goals on 76 shots to begin the season, Lundqvist has stopped 90 of 94 since (.957 SV%) his last 3 games (3-0-0). 

- Rick Nash is the hottest goal-scorer in the NHL thusfar. In fact, not only is he leading all NHL players in goals scored, but this is the fastest year Rick Nash has accrued 8 goals. His previous record was 8 goals scored in his first 9 games for the Blue Jackets in 2007-08 season. Nash has scored a goal, or game-winning shootout goal, in all 7 of NYR's game so far this season. 

Nash 8 Goals first 9 GP in 07-08
Nash 6 Goals first 9 GP in 09-10
Nash 8 Goals first 7 GP in 14-15

- For the 2nd consecutive game, Matt Hunwick played more minutes per game than John Moore, and looked competent in doing so. With Mike Kostka rightfully in the doghouse, the spot of 7th defenseman (as Dan Boyle remains injured until November) is Hunwick's to lose at this point. While playing almost exclusively even-strength minutes, if Hunwick continues his play, he could be the club's best bargain at 1-year $600,000 in contract salary.

- MSL is leading forwards in icetime at 18:31/game. Last regular season, the highest icetime-per-game by a forward was Brad Richards at 18:41/game. Vigneault continues to roll lines and spread out his forwards' icetime. Before the AV administration, the NY Rangers hadn't gone a season with a forward averaging under 20 minutes/game since the 1999-2000 (Muckler/Tortorella) season. Speedy wingers & fresh legs remain a signature advantage for this team, at least up front. However on the back end, McDonagh & Girardi are both averaging over 29 shifts per game. McDonagh ranks 10th in icetime/game in the NHL (25:36) & Girardi ranks 27th (23:31). Can we expect the team's top pair to play these minutes another 75 games, only to raise expectations for additional 4-28 playoff games? And people are talking about Marc Staal as if he's expendable? Go figure

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