Rangers/Blues Post Game ThoughtsDecember 16, 2011, by
Thanks again to Justin (aka Keeps) for a fantastic post game analysis.
The Rangers dropped a tough one tonight, 4-1 to the St. Louis Blues. The Rangers couldn’t find much offense, but that had more to do with the Blues defense than anything else. The highlight of the game really was the time that JD spent in the booth with Sam and Joe (not quite The Suit’s prediction, but enjoyable none the less). Onto the bullets…
· Tonight the Blues executed the Rangers’ game plan better than the Rangers did. They shot the puck from any and everywhere, got some fortunate bounces and took advantage of the Blueshirt’s mistakes.
· As The Suit mentioned in the pregame notes, the Blues are assembled very similarly to the Rangers. They have a young blue line that really held the fort down tonight. The Rangers controlled a lot of the play on the sidewalls and down low, but had no answer for getting to the front of the net.
· The Rangers have been somewhat robotic on defense the past few weeks, and that is not a bad thing. Its not pretty, but with the exception of the first goal where the Rangers were caught running around, the defense continues to be steady, and that’s all you can ask for missing Staal and Sauer.
· I couldn’t believe how many times St. Louis iced the puck. Their primary concern in the defensive zone was getting the puck out of the danger areas. If they iced it, so be it. They would sacrifice fresh legs for clearing the zone every time. Not really sure what I make of this tactic, and I’m not too sure if this is the norm for them, but it seemed to work tonight.
· Carl Hagelin was the best player (non-Hank edition) on the ice tonight for the Rangers. He continues to use his speed and make mature, intelligent decisions with the puck. He was rewarded with some top 6 time, including shifts with Richards and Gaborik.
· The refs really let them play tonight. This resulted in zero power play chances for the Rangers, and kept they from trying to exploit one of the Blues biggest weaknesses.
· The forecheck was again completely non-existent. The Blues defenders were able to make solid breakout passes and keep the dangerous turnovers to a minimum.
· David Backes is a beast. That is all.
· Hank was again his normal brilliant self. As far as Brian Elliot goes…color me unimpressed. The guy has video game numbers, but he also doesn’t have to do anything with a wall of 5 defenders around any time the puck gets anywhere near the goal mouth. Also, what was he doing on MDZ’s goal? He has been projected as a backup his whole career, and this game did nothing to change that assessment for me.
· Torts used a couple interesting line combinations out there in search of some offense. Loved the Richards, Cally, Hagelin trio.
· After two lock tight defensive games, the Rangers look to find some offense in the desert against the ‘Yotes on Saturday.