The Rangers lost a tough one tonight, 4-3 to the Lightning in overtime. The Blueshirts looked tired and we generally outplayed by Tampa for the better part of the game. Henrik Lundqvist played very well and Brandon Dubinsky made a return to the score sheet. No one likes to lose but there were definitely some positive takeaways from this one. To the bullets…
- 1st Period
- Tampa came out strong in the 1st, outshooting the Rangers 13-3 at one point. Henrik Lundqvist was very sharp early, weathering the storm until the Rangers could put one on the scoreboard.
- Artem Anisimov did just that with a nice quick shot past Garon’s stick side. 1-0 Rangers.
- Dubinsky didn’t play a whole lot in the first period, paired on a line with Rupp and Scott. I do remember noticing how hard he was working along the walls creating pressure from the big 4th line.
- McDonagh took another penalty that the MSG cameras didn’t have a camera on.
- 2nd Period
- The Rangers started the 2nd killing McDonagh’s penalty but soon found themselves with a 5-on-3 advantage. Torts used his time out, and the Rangers made the move work out. Brad Richards set a nice pick on Adam Hall, which allowed a lane for Gaborik to develop. He launched an absolute missile into the top corner. PP goal, 2-0 Rangers.
- At this point, the Rangers were in good position despite being pretty severely outplayed by Tampa. You just had that feeling that the Bolts would start chipping away.
- Tampa’s first goal came from a scramble in the crease, in which Tom Pyatt beat Ryan McDonagh to the spot in front of the net. 2-1 Rangers.
- It was about this time Sam and Joe told us that Toronto had fired Ron Wilson. Never thought Burke would pull the trigger on that one.
- This was a game where the Rangers definitely missed Ryan Callahan. When the Rangers get sluggish, Cally leads by example. He would have been a huge spark tonight.
- Dubinsky continued to play well in 4th line duties.
- 3rd Period
- The Rangers began the third with a strong forecheck. Their momentum wouldn’t last as a miscue on a defensive zone draw ended with Girardi kicking the puck to a driving St. Louis who fed the puck right on the door step to Teddy Purcell. 2-2.
- After Tampa tied the game, the Rangers responded well. They began to control the play and a funny thing happened; Brandon Dubinsky started getting top 6 minutes.
- Tampa would again squash the Rangers momentum as Steven Stamkos sent a rocket to the top corner past Lundqvist about halfway through the 3rd. 3-2 Tampa.
- Carl Hagelin would end up taking a high sticking double minor about 15 seconds after Stamkos’ goal. It would take the clock down to about 6 minutes for the Rangers to tie the game. The penalty kill was phenomenal and actually gave the Rangers some momentum heading into the final minutes. Hank made an enormous glove save on the penalty kill to keep the deficit to one.
- Brandon Dubinsky would get that tying goal after he moved into prime scoring position after Martin St. Louis lost his edge in the high slot. Dubi ripped one over the blocker of Garon and gave the Rangers new life. 3-3.
- Brad Richards almost set Dan Girardi up perfectly a couple minutes into overtime. He made a nifty move in the slot and send a perfect pass toward the Ranger d-man, but Steven Stamkos made a terrific defensive play to keep Girardi from getting the shot off.
- Ryan Malone would win it for the Bolts on a well-placed screen shot that beat Henrik Lundqvist at 1:58 of the OT period. 4-3 Tampa.
Obligatory Goaltending Analysis
- Mathieu Garon played well tonight. None of the goals the Rangers scored were soft and came up with several nice saves on Carl Hagelin and Brad Richards. It was a little disappointing to see the offense stymied by Garon to this extent, since he’s, you know…not very good.
- Hank ended up with 27 saves in this one, but the stats don’t do his performance justice. He weathered enormous pressure in the 1st period and made several more difficult saves as the game went on. This one could have easily been 3-0 Tampa in the first 10 minutes or so.
- This game was a prime example of why save percentage is a faulty stat. Both Garon and Lundqvist played very well. Their save percentages? .842 and .871, respectively.
- I thought Richards played a strong game tonight. He had a team high in shots and was generally more involved on both sides of the puck.
- I decided tonight that Mitchell irritates me on top-6 duty simply because he is too much Swedish and not nearly enough Finnish. (If ya know what I mean.)
- Stepan was a beast on the forecheck tonight. He had his stick in every passing lane and played well in both ends of the ice.
- Carl Hagelin “just missed” about 5 plays tonight where his speed could have send him in all alone. He played well, but that timing was just a little off.
- Marian Gaborik now has 23 points in his past 21 games.
- Steven Stamkos isn’t fair.
- I thought Torts handled Dubi perfectly. He started him with the fourth line and Dubinsky played well enough the coach couldn’t ignore him anymore. He had a jump and an edge to his game and never stopped working. Torts rewarded him with well deserved top 6 minutes and Dubinsky came through. Hopefully this is just what he needs to get going a little bit.
Off tomorrow and then a matinee with Boston at home on Sunday afternoon. That one will be a 12:30pm start on NBC.