Rangers/Caps In ReviewDecember 28, 2011, by
The Rangers were dominated by the Caps for most of this game, and it showed on the scoreboard. It seemed like the Caps beat the Rangers to every loose puck, and were just forcing turnovers on every shift. The Rangers failed to win their sixth game in a row, but they can’t win them all, and dropped to the Caps 4-1. Let’s jump to the bullets:
- The Rangers simply did not test Tomas Vokoun at all that game. Vokoun has been awful all year, and it was clear he was slow in his crease (how many pucks went under him?) and was giving up rebounds. They didn’t get enough quality chances. Plain and simple.
- Brandon Dubinsky’s goal (just his third of the year) was set up by Ryan Callahan blocking a shot. Dubi picked up the puck and simply beat Vokoun glove side.Dubi had another opportunity in the second, but Vokoun stuffed him on that chance. It looks like he has finally woken up, but Dubi is a streaky player. Let’s see how his next few games are.
- The powerplay was inconsistent, but other than the first and the third powerplays, it’s tough to be disappointed with the way the units played, especially in the third period. Those two times with the man advantage in the third the Rangers looked like they had a good powerplay, but just couldn’t convert legally. Cally got one, but he kicked it in. Looked like he tried to kick it to his skate, but it went further than he thought.
- Artem Anisimov had a relatively strong game. He and Derek Stepan caused some havoc in the first period and Anisimov almost buried one (puck slid off his stick). That play came after he got a stick on a wide open Brooks Laich and managed to deflect his shot.
- Cally forced a turnover on Erksine early in the third that almost led to a goal. Seemed to be a trend in this game: forcing turnovers that almost resulted in goals.
- Cally was the best Ranger on the ice. Again.
- Carl Hagelin is fast. Really fast. As in the opposite of slow. He makes fast guys look not fast.
- That first goal was a product of poor rebound control by Martin Biron and poor defense by Michael Del Zotto. Biron got hit in the chest with that shot, he needs to smother it. However Del Zotto can’t let Marcus Johansson skate right around him in front of the net. MDZ was at fault on the second Semin goal too, as he drifted too far away from Semin.
- The second goal was just a result of the Caps having a relentless forecheck and forcing the Rangers to stay on the ice for an extended shift. It happens in hockey.
- As for that third goal, Brad Richards needs to get that puck deep in the offensive zone. Instead, he didn’t dump it in, and wound up turning the puck over at the blue line. The puck wound up on the stick of Alex Semin, who got behind the Stu Bickel/Jeff Woywitka combination and beat Biron with a good shot. That goal is on Ricahrds, Bickel, and Woywitka.
- Speaking of Richards, he’s had a few poor games in a row.
- The third line of Dubinsky-Brian Boyle-John Mitchell had a solid game defensively.
- The Rangers need to learn that their padding is in front of them, not on the side of them. Face the shooter to block a shot, you’ll take it in the shinpad instead of the hip or ankle. Cover sensitive areas if you’re scared of not having children, but they can’t keep blocking shots like that.
- No qualms with the officiating. There were missed calls, but it was a consistently called game, which is all you can ask for. Missed calls happen, but that call on Dennis Wideman was atrocious.
- The Caps beat the Rangers to every loose puck, and it looks like new coach Dale Hunter has allowed them to play more of an aggressive forecheck as opposed to the Boudreau-trap. Much like I said in the pregame, it’s what the Caps need to do to win games.
- They also need solid goaltending, which they didn’t really get this game. Sure, the score looks like they did, but Vokoun was shaky. He didn’t seem comfortable in net and he gave up a ton of rebounds. The Caps won this despite Vokoun.