New York Rangers

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Rangers getting a good look at the future, despite playoff disappointment


Silver linings for teams far off the playoff line are few and far between at this time of the year.

But if there is one that can be taken for any team looking at re-tooling or rebuilding for next season, it’s the ability to take a look at the future crop against NHL adversaries.

The New York Rangers are one of these teams. They declared themselves open for business prior to the trade deadline and dealt away some big names, including Rick Nash and Ryan McDonagh, for some younger talent.

They’re also facing a challenge with aging goaltender Henrik Lundqvist who, as great as he is, won’t win the battle with Father Time.

Needing to fill holes at several positions, the Rangers have been able to take a good look at a couple of promising prospects, including what may well be their future between the pipes.

New York has played rookie Alexandar Georgiev six times and owns a 3-2-0 record since he played his first NHL game on Feb. 22. Despite picking up the loss, Georgiev allowed just two goals on 40 shots for a .950 save percentage.

He’d give up four in his next start the following night, but since then has amassed three straight wins, including a 37-save performance on Wednesday against the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins. He’ll be called upon again on Saturday, another test and another chance for evaluation.

The inital analysis is promising. Georgiev is sitting on a very respectable .929 save percentage in his brief time in the NHL and he’s already turning heads around the league.’s Kevin Woodley’s wrote that Georgiev is taking after the likes of Andrei Vasilevskiy, Semyon Varlamov and Sergei Bobrovsky — some pretty good company.

Blueshirt Banter’s Tom Urtz Jr. took a really deep dive in Georgiev, concluding by calling him a “pleasant surprise.”

There’s a lot to like about him, his potential is visible, and the circumstances are set up in his favor for him to be able to prove himself more in an extended setting next season,” Urtz Jr. wrote.

Shifting to the men in the rearguard, Neal Pionk is making the most the big minutes he’s been getting over the past 17 games, and he’s starting to produce.

Pionk is on a three-game point streak with five assists during that span.

Also 22 and also undrafted, Pionk, like Georgiev, is showing real promise on defense.

“He competes hard and he’s got a good skill set,” Vigneault told on Friday. “He can make that good pass and there’s no doubt that in his college and prior to that, he was considered an offensive defenseman. He’d join the rush and was good on the power play, so there is some upside there with him. We need to continue to work at his game and continue to improve it.”

The Rangers appear to have some budding young talent and an array of players to build around with the likes Pavel Buchnevich, Vladislav Namestnikov and Jimmy Vesey — assuming they sign the latter two who are set to become RFAs at the end of this season.

And perhaps most importantly, the Rangers, who have long held the distinction as a team where old players go to get older, seem to finally be favoring youth over past-their-prime talent.

That’s good news for Rangers fans.

Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Young fan brought to tears after getting a stick from Pavel Buchnevich (video)


Grab that Kleenex box, folks.

This young New York Rangers fan was brought to tears after forward Pavel Buchnevich slid his stick over the top of the glass and into his outstretched hands prior to the Blueshirts game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday.

The two high-fived each other before the young fan, sporting Buchnevich’s jersey. was overcome with emotion.

Hockey is great.

Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

NHL on NBCSN: Penguins, Rangers meet on Wednesday Night Rivalry

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NBCSN’s coverage of the 2017-18 NHL season continues with Wednesday Night Rivalry as the New York Rangers play host to the Pittsburgh Penguins at 8 p.m. ET. To watch the game online, click here.

Despite a brief surge following their trade deadline sell-off, the Rangers can now focus on the future.

A western Canada swing that saw them take six points from three games inched them back into the Eastern Conference playoff picture. But a trio of losses last week shoved them backward as they now sit nine points behind the final wild card spot. That means more rest for Henrik Lundqvist, who’s still committed to staying with the only NHL franchise he’s known, and more ice time for backup Alexandar Georgiev.

“For me, the rest of the year is about wanting to be able to feel good about myself and about us,” Lundqvist told The New York Post this week. “I don’t want to look at the big picture and break everything down. I’m not looking ahead to next year. I’m not thinking about whether to play in the World Championships. I just want to take it day by day and play my best for this team. That’s the challenge. When it’s over, there will be time to reflect about what happened and look ahead. But not so much now.”


With Georgiev getting a chance, when will we see Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil get their feet wet at the NHL level?

With 12 games to go in their season, the Penguins are battling with the Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers for Metropolitan Division supremacy. The Caps have a game in-hand on their two division rivals

[The 2018 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs begin April 11 on the networks of NBC]

The Penguins have been keeping pace without the services of starting goalie Matt Murray, who hasn’t played since Feb. 24 and is recovering from another concussion. He’s been skating recently and head coach Mike Sullivan said he would be making the trip as they play the Rangers, Montreal Canadiens and New York Islanders all on the road before returning to PPG Paints Arena next Wednesday.

Also close to a return is Bryan Rust, who suffered a concussion last week against the Flyers. He shed a no-contact jersey towards the end of Tuesday’s practice and could also be back at some point in the next week.

“It’s a big relief,” Sullivan said via the Post-Gazette. “These guys are important players for us. The fact that they’re tracking the right way is really encouraging. We take each day as it comes with the nature of those injuries, but certainly we’re excited about the way they’re both tracking.”


Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

WATCH LIVE: Philadelphia Flyers vs. New York Rangers

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Philadelphia Flyers

Claude GirouxSean CouturierTravis Konecny
Jakub VoracekNolan PatrickWayne Simmonds
Michael RafflScott LaughtonJordan Weal
Jori LehteraValtteri FilppulaDale Weise

Ivan ProvorovShayne Gostisbehere
Robert HaggAndrew MacDonald
Brandon ManningRadko Gudas

Starting goalie: Michal Neuvirth

New York Rangers

Rick NashMika ZibanejadMats Zuccarello
Michael GrabnerKevin HayesJ.T. Miller
Jimmy VeseyDavid DesharnaisJesper Fast
Paul CareyPeter HollandPavel Buchnevich

Brady Skjei – Neal Pionk
Nick HoldenAnthony DeAngelo
John Gilmour – Ryan Sproul

Starting goalie: Henrik Lundqvist

Be sure to visit and NBC Olympic Talk for full hockey coverage from PyeongChang.


Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

WATCH LIVE: Boston Bruins at New York Rangers

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NBCSN’s coverage of the 2017-18 NHL season continues with Wednesday Night Rivalry as the New York Rangers play host to the Boston Bruins at 8 p.m. ET.

[Click here for the Live Stream]

Projected Lineups and starting goalies

Boston Bruins
Brad MarchandPatrice BergeronDavid Pastrnak
Jake DeBruskDavid KrejciRyan Spooner
Danton HeinenRiley NashDavid Backes
Tim SchallerSean Kuraly – Austin Czarnik

Zdeno CharaCharlie McAvoy
Torey KrugBrandon Carlo
Matt GrzelcykAdam McQuaid

Starting goalie: Anton Khudobin

[NHL on NBCSN: Bruins, Rangers heading in opposite directions]

New York Rangers
Rick NashMika ZibanejadMats Zuccarello
J.T. MillerDavid DesharnaisVinni Lettieri
Michael GrabnerKevin HayesJesper Fast
Cody McLeod – Peter HollandPaul Carey

Ryan McDonaghTony DeAngelo
Brady SkjeiNick Holden
Brendan SmithSteve Kampfer

Starting goalie: Henrik Lundqvist