Goal Breakdown: Rangers sloppy, let two points slip away in Buffalo

March 12, 2013, by

The Sabres were without Tyler Ennis and Ryan Miller, are one of the worst teams in the league, and don’t play defense, so this game was supposed to be a cakewalk. It wasn’t, and while the Sabres were lucky to get out of the first ten minutes scoreless, they outplayed the Rangers in the second, forcing a lot of penalties. The Rangers played fairly well, but had some sloppy stretches (five penalties) and it cost them. Jhonas Enroth had a great game too, which didn’t help. On to the goals:

That's Stepan out there, he's not going for a beer.

That’s Stepan out there, he’s not going for a beer.

Rangers 1, Sabres 0

The Rangers came in on a shorthanded rush, and it looks like Jordan Leopold –returning to the lineup tonight– just forgot where Derek Stepan was after the puck crossed the blue line. Stepan swung wide picture above, and Leopold just left him out there.

Stepan crosses right in front of Leopold, who lets him go.

Stepan crosses right in front of Leopold, who lets him go.

The problem for Leopold is that when Stepan cut back to the front of the net, Leopold didn’t stop him. I would say he didn’t see him, but Stepan cut right in front of him. Odd play for Leopold, who usually doesn’t have miscues like that.

McDonagh is good, but he can't cover two guys down low.

McDonagh is good, but he can’t cover two guys down low.

Sabres 1, Rangers 1

The Sabres had the Rangers running around in their own zone for a little bit, and that’s when defensive miscues happen. A Christian Ehrhoff shot resulted in a long bounce off boards, and Marcus Foligno tucked the puck in the far side with a fancy between legs move to beat Ryan McDonagh to the puck. The defensive miscue here is that the Sabres outnumbered the Rangers –at even strength– at the goal crease. McDonagh was left to cover both Foligno and Nathan Gerbe. The weakside winger here (Gerbe) was Marian Gaborik’s man.

Pominville pass turned Girardi around. Gave Vanek room.

Pominville pass turned Girardi around. Gave Vanek room.

Sabres 2, Rangers 1

Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville are a dangerous combination, and this goal showed it. After the Sabres gained possession in their own zone, Vanek wound up in a foot race with Girardi down the far boards. Pominville put a pass perfectly behind Vanek, and off the boards, which eliminated the advantage Girardi created by cutting off the middle of the ice. Girardi still stayed with him, and still cut away half of his ice, but Vanek is a terrific shot and he won’t miss those. People will think Girardi was flat-footed, and he did appear to misstep when he was turning, but the pass from Pominville turned him around, which takes away speed.

Coverage fail.

Coverage fail.

Sabres 3, Rangers 1

The Rangers sustained pressure for what felt like the entire third period until this goal. The Sabres had a very innocent rush, but two miscues by the Rangers and the puck wound up in the back of their net. J.T. Miller was covering Jochen Hecht because Dan Girardi went out too far to cover Brian Flynn on the rush by the half boards. Flynn made a good pass to Andrej Sekera, and with Girardi still out of position, Miller let Hecht walk to the front of the net, where Ryan McDonagh was already tied up with Marcus Foligno. McDonagh can’t cover both, and Foligno bangs home the rebound. For those keeping score, this was the second time McDonagh was left to cover two Sabres in front of the net this game.

The Rangers owned a good portion of this game, but they took way too many penalties and it killed any offensive flow for them. It doesn’t help that Jhonas Enroth stood on his head and had his best game in two years either. This was a game where the Rangers needed to take two points from an inferior opponent, and they walked away with zero.

Categories : Game Wrap-ups


  1. BobM says:

    Not to excuse this poor performance, but since when can you check someone and then put a bear hug on the defenseman and drag him down to the ice and not get penalized?

    The Rangers swagger was left at the airport as they were being run and no retaliation in sight.

    Hate to say it, this team ain’t goin’ nowhere. Championship teams do not play this way. They seem to be going through the motions. They appear to show up when they play a good opponent, but wither when they play an inferior one, and it shows.

    • Mr. Snrub says:

      “Hate to say it, this team ain’t goin’ nowhere. Championship teams do not play this way.”

      -Kings fans, twenty games before the playoffs last season

      • Dave says:

        It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. This club is still without Staal and Asham.

    • Spozo says:

      Good thing in the playoffs they will only face good opponents.

  2. rickyrants13 says:

    Okay so who’s to blame for this pathetic display of hockey??? When we blame the coach we get jumped on. Torts is great he won a cup. Sorry many coaches won A cup never to even come close again.

    When we blame the goalie. Its calm down dude he cant do it alone. But when he wins they want to have his baby.

    When we blame the leadership. Its they played the same way last year and no one complained then. And that BS many were complaining last year as well.

    This happens way to many times. This team doesnt show up to play against teams it should steam roll over. And that says alot about the make up of a team. Someone on this team should have shown up And if it wasnt for one short handed goal. NO ONE WOULD HAVE AT ALL…. From top to botton there wasnt one player including the goalie that trully could say he tried to make a major difference.

    • Dave says:

      So you blame everyone. Hockey, more than any other sport, is a team game. Everyone played crappy yesterday.

  3. Chuck A says:

    Coulda swore Valerie Kamensky was on the ice tonight

  4. Walt says:

    Foligno scores two goals, first in 20 games, whats up? He should have been cleared out of the slot both times, no excuse for this crap. Where was Buke on these two goals? Bad game, get over it, start anew!

    I believe they took Buffalo too lightly, maybe they learn from it.

    • Dave says:

      Both of those goals were coverage fails. McDonagh twice we hung out to dry to cover two guys in the slot. Foligno is an NHL player, he will bury those opportunities.

  5. mikeyyy says:

    meh. You gotta play this game with a killer instinct. It has to be on all the time.

    I won’t rail on the coach because he has altered his game plan….time to alter it again as teams watch video and you have to have secondary and tertiary plans to play with.

    They started to do it with the PP , now they need to do it with the transitions too.

    We get too predictable and other teams can make smart reads on our plays….

    While I am not a Torts fan, this one lies on the players for not coming into the game looking for blood.

    • Dave says:

      I think this is the first real clunker since Nash came back. They needed these two points though.

      • Sally says:

        My husband has said twenty times already since last night, “the Rangers are going to be sorry at the end of the season that they didn’t get those two points last night”. I’m going to hear this until the next game.