Rangers/Blackhawks RecapMarch 9, 2012, by
- The first period was pretty evenly matched between the two clubs. Chicago had higher quality chances off the rush, but the Rangers had better zone pressure and ultimately the lead.
- Speaking of which, the Rangers first period goal came off a great play by Anisimov along the boards. He won possession, gave the puck to Mitchell, who then found Arty making a bee-line towards the net. Arty split the defenders and out-waited Emery for a pretty impressive goal in the slot.
- Stick tap to the line of Rupp, Mitchell, & Scott as well. They only had 3-4 shifts, but they made the best of it by taking the body, pressuring the puck, and keeping the puck in the Blackhawks’ zone. Can’t ask for much more from fourth liners.
- As for glass half-empty analysis, I thought the Rangers blueline again was making some questionable decisions with the puck. The Blackhawks didn’t do a whole lot with the opportunities afforded, but we were still seeing some bad turnovers at our own blueline.
- The Blackhawks changed their tactics up in the second period and switched from an aggressive forecheck to more of a neutral zone trap. It paid off early as the Blackhawks were able to pin the Rangers in their own zone.
- Torts kept rotating Hagelin & Cally on the first line with Richie and Gabby. He must have be seeing something in the match ups. Was hoping Joe would give us a breakdown, but it never came.
- The Rangers had a strong power play mid-way through the second period. They were able to get some quality shots on net, one golden opportunity by Danny G, but couldn’t convert.
- The Blackhawks got on the board late in the second thanks to solid zone pressure against our second line. Stepan won a battle down low along the boards, but missed Bickel behind the net with a pass that went around the boards. The puck eventually found Oduya at the point, who put a move on Arty to open up a shooting lane. Johnny fired a rocket on net that was deflected by Andrew Shaw for the equalizer.
- Stick tap to Michael Rupp who might have had his best fight as a Ranger against newcomer Brandon Bollig. The 25 year old was playing in just his 4th game this season and was obviously trying to make a name for himself…try again, Rupp owned him.
- The Rangers didn’t start off the period very well and we’re again pinned in the their own zone. The Eminger/Stralman unit to this point did not look good. They couldn’t make any outlet passes. Hank stood tall quietly as usual.
- On the other hand McDonagh & Danny G were doing it all and finally helped the Rangers counter. Mid-way through the third McDonagh held the puck in the zone, which allowed the Feds-Boyle-Prust line to pressure the OZ aggressively. McDonagh had several shot attempts during this shift and eventually got one on net. Emery gave up a juicy rebound and Prust cashed in.
- Unfortunately, the lead didn’t last long as the Blackhawks’ skillful passing caused the Rangers to scramble. Boyle actually fell on a clearing attempt and Sharp was able to capitalize off a pass right on Hank’s doorstep.
- At this point the Blackhawks abandoned their trap and forechecked aggressively, pinning the Rangers in their zone…do we see a theme here?
- The Blackhawks won possession down low and quickly scored off another goal from Oduya, which was tipped by Cally. Shortly thereafter they added an empty netter.
- Brad Richards added a third goal for the Rangers, finishing a bouncing puck in the high slot with a few seconds left on the clock, but it was all for not.
Final Thoughts on the 4-3 loss:
- McDonagh was clearly the best defensemen for the Rangers in this game. He broke up passes, blocked shots, ended rushes, and got the puck north.
- As for the offense, it’s hard to pick any one guy or even one line. Everyone had their moments on both ends of the ice and every line got pinned at one point or another. Call it a wash.
- Torts managed everyone’s ice time pretty well. If there is one positive takeaway from another loss, it is that the minutes are starting to be spread more evenly, especially among our defensemen.