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Streaking Rangers beat Florida, finally over .500

Photo by Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images

Photo by Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images

The Rangers are finally over .500 for the first time this season. Riding a 6-1 stretch, the Rangers held on against the Florida Panthers for a 4-3 win. The Rangers played well this game, but so did the Panthers, who gave the Rangers fits through the first two periods. It wasn’t until a costly turnover and a converted 5-on-3 that the Rangers were finally able to pull away.

It’s been a while since we’ve been able to pinpoint players that have had a poor game, and tonight was no different. Everyone did their job, and the Rangers got goals from a variety of sources. On a day where the Rangers gave up more than two goals for the first time in ten games, they were able to outscore their opponent to keep rolling. It’s also worth noting how different this team looks when they score on the powerplay, especially when those goals are timely.

On to the goals:

Rangers 1, Panthers 0

Beautiful.

Beautiful.

This goal was an absolute beauty. First, Chris Kreider forced a neutral zone turnover, and J.T. Miller picked up the puck and gained the offensive zone. Miller did a good job delaying and drawing three Cats to him before dishing to Ryan McDonagh at the blue line. McDonagh toe dragged around Krys Barch, completely undressing him in the process, and fired a pass to Kreider at the weak side face off dot. The pass was in Kreider’s skates, so Kreider simply kicked the puck to his stick, and passed across to Miller who cut to the net after dishing the puck to McDonagh. Tic. Tac. Toe. Goal.

Panthers 1, Rangers 1

Good work by the Panthers here.

Good work by the Panthers here.

There was no real coverage fail on this powerplay goal by Florida. They just simply outnumbered the Rangers down low and capitalized. Following the face off win, the puck worked itself to Aleksander Barkov on the near side boards. He made a great pass to Tom Gilbert across the ice for a shot on net, which Henrik Lundqvist stopped. At this point, the Panthers had three guys in front. Anton Stralman was tied up with Scottie Upshall, and McDonagh had to split his attention between Barkov (far right) and Kris Versteeg (slot). Versteeg’s rebound attempt was stopped, but Barkov banged home the second rebound.

I say there is no real coverage fail, but I can see the argument for McDonagh putting a body on Versteeg instead of trying to cover two guys. Versteeg was in the more dangerous area, and thus required more attention. I can also see the argument for the forwards, specifically Derek Stepan, collapsing a bit to help with the fact they were outnumbered. In that regard, I think it was just a bang-bang play and they didn’t have much time to really drop down low. Plus, there’s a risk of the point men becoming wide open. When the puck is that low, that’s a risk you’re willing to take.

Panthers 2, Rangers 1

That's a lot of space to work with.

That’s a lot of space to work with.

This was just an unlucky goal. After Tim Thomas stopped a good Rangers chance, the Panthers brought the puck into the offensive zone and did a good job maintaining puck possession. The puck eventually worked its way to Brian Campbell at the point. Miller was a bit too low on the coverage of Campbell, which allowed him to walk the puck from the point to the top of the circle and rip a slap shot. The shot was going wide, but it appeared to deflect off Derick Brassard, off the post, off Hanks, and into the net. Just unlucky.

Rangers 2, Panthers 2

Great work by Boyle and Dorsett.

Great work by Dorsett.

More hard work behind the net by Derek Dorsett and Brian Boyle, more goals for the Rangers. This time around, Boyle gained the zone and got the puck behind the net before outworking Campbell in an effort to get the puck to Dorsett (also behind the net). Dorsett overpowered Gilbert for his first attempt, and managed to get the puck away from Versteeg –who tried to take the puck away for a transition rush instead of playing defense– for his second chance. Both were stopped, but his third whack at the puck was successful, getting it through Thomas’ legs for the goal.

There is an argument that can be made for Campbell going over to help Gilbert and Versteeg, but that leaves Boyle open, and three guys on the puck for the Cats.

Rangers 3, Panthers 2

Great read by Hagelin to intercept the pass.

Great read by Hagelin to intercept the pass.

This goal was a product of great work by Carl Hagelin, who intercepted a pass in the offensive zone and found Brad Richards streaking down the wing. Richards sniped it over Thomas for the lead.

Rangers 4, Panthers 2

Another PPG.

Another PPG.

Another powerplay goal for the Rangers, and another goal with a two-man advantage. McDonagh made a good play off a face off loss to keep the zone and set up the powerplay. The puck eventually worked itself to Derek Stepan down low, back to Richards at the point, and then across to Mats Zuccarello at the off-wing. Zuccarello put a one-timer on net that Thomas only got a piece of. Ryan Callahan was in front wreaking havoc again.

Panthers 3, Rangers 4

Good effort by Campbell here.

Good effort by Campbell here.

The Rangers weren’t able to clear the defensive zone, and it came back to bite them. Campbell wound up with the puck at the far point, and made a nice spin move to elude Miller. With the open ice, Campbell moved to the high slot and wristed a shot on net that was stopped by Hank. Brassard didn’t put a body on Campbell, who was able to chase down his own rebound to make the game interesting.

Fenwick Chart:

Courtesy of ExtraSkater.com

Courtesy of ExtraSkater.com

This is the first game where the Rangers didn’t have to weather an early storm to stay in the game. These two teams were even most of the game in generating shot attempts until the third period, when the Rangers gained a tremendous advantage. This is when the Rangers were able to break a 2-2 tie with a pair of goals. The Panthers were able to get back into it from a CF% standpoint at the end of the game as they pushed to tie, but the Rangers wound up finishing the game with the 53.2% CF% advantage.

The Rangers are red-hot right now, winning six of seven and improving to 9-8 after a 3-7 start. Not only are they winning, but they are dominating the puck possession game and looking like a team that has no signs of slowing down. These were games that the Rangers needed to win, and they have done just that.

"Streaking Rangers beat Florida, finally over .500", 5 out of 5 based on 4 ratings.

18 Responses to “Streaking Rangers beat Florida, finally over .500”

  1. neal says:

    Nice win. Will only be better, when Nash returns.

  2. Bloomer says:

    Balanced scoring propels Rangers over Panthers. Rangers’ power play is improved over last year, but their penalty killing has fallen off. I don’t know exactly what Upshall did to piss Kreider off, but I like Kreiders’ aggression there.

    • Chris F says:

      He slashed Stepan at center ice.

    • Centerman21 says:

      Kreider was sticking up for Stepan. Upshall was cross checking Stepan at Center ice as both were coming off. Kreider happened to skate by and give him some lovin. While it was nice to see, it was the wrong time to do that. He might get a call from Shannahan.

  3. Walt says:

    It’s about time this team is over 500, and the way they did it is impressive. Early on, I was a big critic of their game. Poor defense, lack of offense, and poor goaltending. The fact that they started the season on the road, and for the length of that road trip was an @ss kicker. New system, new coach, new equipment for Hank, all told, it took it’s toll.

    Having said all that, this team has started believing in each other, never blamed anyone, or thing for their failures. They have made the necessary adjustments, and are proving to be a very good team. In spite of all the injuries, some young kids, Kreider anyone, Miller, have taken the opportunity presented to them, and ran with it. When Nash returns, healthy and strong, we could be a major player in the east, and if everyone plays up to their potential, we have a decent shot at the big time.

    Being over 500 is great, now get on the Devils case next game, and knock them down a notch.

  4. Scully says:

    At what point do naysayers admit that maybe Brad Richards is better than they expected him to be?

    • Walt says:

      Scully

      The guy is playing well at this time, no question. Will he continue to do so for the next 5 years? No.

      At which time do his supporters admit he won’t play at this level for the duration of his contract?? At which time do his supporters say is he worth the cap hit down the road? At which time do they say he will be an assit, rather than a liability for this time down the road?

      Be objective,think with your brain, not your heart!! This is a business, and the objective is to win the cup, not a feel good group of players that someone wants because they like the guy!

      • Evan m says:

        Most didn’t feel he would play well this year, and I think that’s what Scully was saying. They can still do a buyout after this season.

        • Scully says:

          Evan M, that’s exactly what i’m saying. I’m not going to go out of my way to lambast people who assumed he was done after last season.

          Walt, I know you didn’t want Richards on the team this year, but think about where we’d be without him right now.

          • Walt says:

            I said he is playing well, no dought. If we could have had a younger, tougher player, to a cheaper contract, I’d still go for it.

            Let’s face it, Slats had kids in the system who bailed us out due to injuries. Had we not had these young kids, who the heck could he sign with the contract BR is signed to? What cap space do we have? NON! Heaven forbid we get major injuries down the road, and the kids in the system can’t fill the hole, what do we do, choke our chicken????

            I stand by my posts!

            • BenM says:

              Name one player on our team that you wouldn’t replace with a younger, better, cheaper alternative.

              I agree that there is a risk associated with waiting until next off-season to buy out Richards, but he’s showed up in much better shape and has been playing great.

              If we have injuries down the road and NEED to sign new players, we shaved off some cap with Biron/Talbot and we have the ability to assign players to LTIR.

              • Walt says:

                Ben

                I don’t believe that it works that way. We saved some with Marty going, but how much, he was on a cheap contract.

                We still are tight with cap space, and we would be in deep tapioca if a major injury occurs, and we need someone outside the organizarion.

                I give him credit for coming back this year in shape, but excusses aside, why wasn’t he last year. He took the money from the contract, but didn’t live up to his end of the agreement. I know that Your Boss would pay you for showing up drunk every day for a season, and wouldn’t be pissed off about it. NOT! That is the only way to make my point, not that BR was drunk, but he wasn’t fit for work, end of discussion. Or better yet, being Veterans day, did you serve? If so, what would happen to you if your CO caught you drunk on post, see where I’m at now?????

      • MBN says:

        Richards could get 100 points and I still believe he will be bought out after the season. He is basically playing for his next contract 5 years earlier than expected.

  5. SalMerc says:

    I think the 2012-2013 Richards was more about the Torts relationship than Richards ability. Me thinks Richards shut down to the Torts-tactics.

    • The Suit says:

      May be right, but Sather also said Richie came to camp out of shape since he was spending more time during the lockout in the board room than on the ice.

  6. Spozo says:

    A day ago half the readers of this blog were saying the rangers needed to dress a goon as a deterrent. Now people are ripping Kreider for sticking up for his teammate. Will Ranger fans ever be happy?

    • Walt says:

      I’m glad Kreider stood up for his teammate, it’s about time someone showed that they care!!

    • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

      Short answer, no. But in fairness, I haven’t seen a lot of vitriol from Ranger fans relating to the Kreider hit. It wasn’t a head hunting shot, ala John Scott.