NEW YORK, NY – Heading into their “bye-week” with a shootout win against the
Former Rangers Arizona Coyotes out in the desert, and then they lost a close one to the newly-minted and thriving Las Vegas Golden Knights. The Coyotes are propping up the rest of the West at the bottom of the standings. Some things never change. Meanwhile, the Knights sit atop the Western Conference in their first NHL season.
Turns out playing in a desert oasis den of vice (a lure for Harvey?) gives the Vegas Strip-pers a pretty hefty home ice advantage. Barring an unprecedented collapse in the second half, Vegas is a lock for the playoffs… in their first season. It’s an amazing feat for an expansion team. After the expansion draft, it was clear that they would hold their own. But nobody expected them to be this good.
Anyway, they gave the Rangers fits in a very even game Sunday night. A mid third period goal gave the Knights a lead that they didn’t relinquish. It was the Rangers last game before the break. Probably not the best place to play before you have five days off… if you’re a team’s brass. Thoughts of Kevin Hayes and JT Miller face down in a fishbowl of margaritas at Dick’s Last Resort, after losing a mint at the craps table for a week, would scare anyone. But Hayes left Sunday night’s game after taking a big hit in the first period and flew home to receive treatment after the game. He’s officially listed as day-to-day, so we may see him tomorrow afternoon against the Islanders.
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NASH MASH UNIT: The Blueshirts will still be without Chris Kreider. He is still dealing with the complications from that blood clot thingy in his arm. On Tuesday he had a part of his rib removed. The Rangers have said that he will be out indefinitely. He’ll be reevaluated towards the end of February. I’m not optimistic that we’ll see him again this season. But I’m wrong most of the time, so take that with a grain of salt.
Obviously, the Blueshirts will need to make plans for being without Kreider, who could have figured prominently in a deadline deal to bolster the ranks. But that won’t happen with him hurt and his shroud of uncertainty. Another name that could figure in a trade is Lias Andersson, who is dealing with a shoulder injury from the World Junior Championship. The injury will keep the first-round pick from his Swedish Hockey League duties for a couple of weeks. Remember, the kid made headlines by tossing his silver medal into the stands after Sweden lost 3-1 to Canada in the gold medal game. He wants to win. Hopefully he gets a chance to do here with the Rangers next season.
That aside, the focus is on this season right now. There could be some rust on the skates after the five day break and with having only today’s practice since Sunday’s game in Vegas, it could be ugly tomorrow. Let’s hope the Fish Sticks are just as rusty after their own “bye week.” We’ll see tomorrow afternoon.
We’ll also see the smooth stylings of the Poor Man’s J.B. Smoove tomorrow… @JuniorBlaber, tomorrow. So tune in. And please check us out on Twitter: @Different_Matt, @MeetTheMatts & @Matt_McCarthy00 & Instagram @MeetTheMatts and like our Facebook page, Meet The Matts