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Rangers struggling with puck possession in series

KOSTAS LYMPEROPOULOS/ CSM LANDOV

KOSTAS LYMPEROPOULOS/ CSM LANDOV

Yesterday, I found myself intrigued by a series of conversations on Twitter by Japers Rink, Corey Sznajder of Shut Down Line, and George Ays (RangerSmurf) about the complete domination by the Caps in puck possession throughout the series. Looking at BTN this morning, I see why they were in such shock by the domination. The Rangers, who were a dominant puck possession team throughout the season, are getting thoroughly out-possessed by a Caps team that wasn’t a good puck possession team in the regular season.

There is only one player on the team who is on the positive side of Corsi, and that is Mats Zuccarello at a 2.44 Corsi/ON (aka Corsi/60). Kris Newbury (1 game), Steve Eminger, and Ryan Callahan are all at 0.00 Corsi/ON, but every other Ranger is in the negative in this category. Even Carl Hagelin, who despite putting up points is struggling in the possession department (-13.25 Corsi/ON). You might say that this is due to the tough assignments, but Zuccarello is third on the team in Corsi Rel QoC (5.321), so that’s not the determining factor. Zone starts aren’t a factor either, with the top offensive guys getting the most offensive starts, but still struggling to maintain puck possession.  (All numbers at even strength.)

So what is the issue?

The Rangers are simply getting outplayed, which is something we’ve all seen from the games. Don’t get me wrong, the Rangers have been playing well, but the Caps have simply been better. And yes, it is possible to play well and still be outplayed. The two are not mutually exclusive. This is a team that won’t win if the Caps are dominating the puck possession game. Not only does it give the much more skilled Caps team more shots, but it prevents the Rangers from generating rhythm offensively.

But despite this, the Rangers are 2-1-2 against the Caps this series. Yes, that winds up being down 3-2 in the playoffs, but there were two overtime games that the Rangers lost. They are getting dominated in the puck possession game, but they aren’t being dominated in the W/L category. That all boils down to Henrik Lundqvist –If I hear one more complaint that he’s not a playoff goalie, I’ll snap. Seriously, with the way these numbers are, the Rangers could have been swept without him.– and his ability to keep the Rangers in the game. Such is the standard in New York nowadays.

We are a silver lining kind of blog, and that is the silver lining right there. Even though they haven’t dressed their full lineup all series, this team has the best goalie in the world, and he is at the top of his game. The home team has held serve in the first five games, and The Garden crowd will be rocking today for Game Six. This series is not over, not by a longshot.

38 Responses to “Rangers struggling with puck possession in series”

  1. Spozo says:

    I’ll be there this afternoon. Anyone else going?

    • Dave says:

      Mother’s Day. I’ll be lucky if I can watch.

    • VinceR says:

      I’ll be there Spozo. Finally can watch a playoff game live this season after having to sell my tickets to the other games after having to travel to DC (the one place where I couldn’t get the game in my hotel room due to blackout restrictions…had to watch in a bar). Hoping it’s not the only playoff game I get to see in person this year!

  2. PopsTwitTar says:

    The issue is that the NYR cannot get out of their zone with any possession. When the NYR are trying to set up their breakout from behind their own net, they have 2 D below the goaline. The Caps are putting 2 forward right on those men, so the only option the D man has is to ring it around the boards, or try a risky pass in the center of the zone. The forwards are either in the NZ to try and draw the defenders out (not working) or standing at the boards, stationary. So the D have no good options and cant break out of the zone with any control or speed.

    Then, when the caps are forechecking, our D are chipping the boards up the wall, the same play, and our forwards are immediately attacked by the Caps wingers and pinching D, leaving them little option but to try to stuff/chip the puck to the NZ. If the NYR F do succeed in getting the puck out, the Caps regroup and dump the puck right back in. If the NYR don’t succeed in getting the puck out, it leads to zone pressure for the Caps, and then the NYR’s collapse defense takes over.

    The Caps, generally, are not having these issues, especially on the wall, where (1) the NYR are a step slow to attack the F on the wall and (2) the Caps are making the short little pass to the man closer to the faceoff dot/circle.

    The same thing happened last year against the Devils, and more and more the ice tilted as the games went on.

    So I’ll be looking for an adjustment from the NYR, especially deep in their zone – I’ll be expecting forwards to come back deep to help the D move the puck and to make the Caps commit to a puck carrier, rather than just standing in all the passing lanes. We’ll see.

  3. Jerry says:

    Another problem is when they are in there own zone and try to get the puck out they throw the puck up the boards and their is never a ranger to get it.it always gets recovered by the other team and kept in our zone.leading to the scrambling we see the whole game.

  4. Jerry says:

    And the other problem is torts is going to wear down our top defense men like usual.you cannot play giardiasis and Mac 30 minutes a game and expect them to be fresh every night.

  5. Rangergrl says:

    Good points on the D-zone break outs. I’ll add another. One word: faceoffs.

  6. Walt says:

    The first adjustment that Torts should make is use Richards on the third line, he is a shell of the player he was even a year ago!

    Leave Step, Hags, and Callie alone.

    Brass, Nash, and Zucc should stay as a unit.

    Richards, Boyle, Kreider should be a 3rd line.

    Asham, Dorsett, Pyatt is your 4th line, and leave them alone for the entire game. Hell what have we got to loose, were not winning with the constant changing of players on all the lines.

    The Rangers have to be physical, and should the need arise, let Dorsett, or Ash take out Olinsky, he is getting under my skin. We can’t be allowed to be man handled in our barn, and that has been the case all series long.

    Tors should let the boys play their game, get away from the same old crap he has been doing against the Caps. My opinion, for what it’s worth, Oats is proving to be a much better coach than Torts.

  7. roadrider says:

    “Rangers have been playing well”

    They played well (for the most part) in the two games they won at home and in Game 2 (other than the fact that they din’t score). They did not play well in Games 1 and 5 (which, by the way, I attended). They had little offensive presence, no fore check, got beat to loose pucks and lost battles against the boards, had no traffic in front of the opposing goalie, lost way too many face offs, took dumb penalties (mostly in Game 1), looked outnumbered on their own PP and, most importantly – made NO in-game adjustments to counter any of these problems.

    The Caps are not that good and not really playing that well as much as the Rangers have played badly in their losses. Braden Holtby is an average goalie who is being allowed to see every shot, rarely has to deal with traffic in front or defelctions and is thus being made to look like a combination of Ken Dryden, Bernie Parent and Patrick Roy. On Friday he gave away, or nearly gave away the puck 4 or 5 times without suffering the consequences. The Caps took stupid cheap penalties, committed numerous turnovers and iced the puck with impunity because they had nothing to fear from the Rangers PP or their ability (rather lack of same) to win face offs and establish puck possession in the offensive zone.

    There’s no way to put a pretty face on this. The Rangers are trailing this series because they deserve to be not because they are playing well and the other team is simply better.

    • Walt says:

      The PP should not feature Girardi on the point, very seldom does he take a slap shot from the point, creating rebound shots. The weak wrist shot he takes is useless to say the least!!

      • roadrider says:

        The PP has much bigger problems than that. Richards is the guy who needs to be off the PP. Girardi has actually scored from the point on the PP. The problems are: inability to establish puck possession in the offensive zone, inability to win face offs in the zone, lack of movement or sluggish puck movement allowing the PK to actually create overloads instead of the other way around, lack of traffic in front of the goal.

  8. Bloomer says:

    You can’t have puck possession if no one is supporting the puck carrier. You can not expect your defenseman who has the puck on his goal line to feather a pass by 2 fore-checking Capitals on to the stick of his teammate that is hovering around center ice, not going to happen. Once the Rangers have puck possession they need to support each other. That means more skating and getting into a position to receive the puck. The Rangers were outskated for most of game 5. Some more hustle is required, if they want to win game 6.

  9. HARLEMBLUES says:

    To get Nash going play him with Brassard and keep B.Rich away from him.

  10. Mikeyyy says:

    Oates is the X factor. Remember these same caps ran the last month on a great record.

  11. TxRanger says:

    Hank is not a playoff goalie. Being a playoff goalie isn’t about carrying your team to game six and losing, it’s about going all the way, baby.

    • Spozo says:

      So this year out of 32 teams there will only be 1 playoff goalie?

    • VinceR says:

      Probably one of the most ignorant comments I’ve seen posted here. Notice there isn’t an example of who exactly is a playoff goalie.

    • HARLEMBLUES says:

      Ah,never mine.

    • VinceR says:

      Walking back from MSG now TX, hope that journalism school thing is working out for you (I believe you posted something to that effect while b****ing about the writing on BSB). You have Justin make you look bad, now Hank. Good luck on your lucrative future writing about side boob for HuffPo (at least the perks are good).

      • TxRanger says:

        If I remember correctly, Justin’s writing had an error in it. Sports blogs are increasingly becoming a credible journalistic medium. That being said, any journalist will tell you, basic grammatical errors undermine credibility and therefore compromise the information.

        I am also not a journalism student. I never made any claims to be such, and I find it disturbing that you, some random New Yorker, remembers things about me, that’s creepy.

        I would also be down to write about side boob. Side boob is one of my favorite things. It’d definitely be a better and higher paying gig then what you have. Golly, I’m going for it, now.

        List of recent playoff goalies, for you:
        Tim Thomas
        Jonny Quick
        Niemi
        etc.

        Notice the trend…

        Also, Vince, you’re walking? You must be a grown man. Get a car! Learn to drive!

        • VinceR says:

          I live in Manhattan. Why would I own a car? On beautiful days it takes me 35 minutes to walk to MSG, where I’m a season subscriber. I’m either working from the apartment or on a plane for my job, although I’m pretty sure it pays more than writing about side boob.

          I just remembered you whining about journalism on a site run by non-journalists, at it was one of the few things RickyRants and I actually agreed about. Then you made a dick comment to Justin (and got schooled by him) and it stuck out.

          • TxRanger says:

            if you ever read the about section, then you’d know, most of these guys are journalists. also, justin was wrong using the word utilize, and cited an unreliable source to prove me wrong, to which i responded with credible sources that proved my point, then even somebody came to my defense. so idk how i got made to look bad there.

  12. Joestradamus says:

    I think they should try Brassard out to be the PP QB. Richards and MDZ have not been doing it lately.

  13. Rob says:

    On a lighter note…You guys see Duguay’s jacket today lol?