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Rangers dominate possession, get shutout again

Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images

Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images

This was a rough one to watch. Unlike the 9-2 and 6-0 thrashings on the west coast, the Rangers dominated puck possession for most of the game. They just couldn’t get one past a surprisingly good Ben Bishop (who has been good for most of the year). Plus, it looked like the team was gripping their sticks too tight after getting into a 2-0 hole within three minutes.

The Rangers may have dominated puck possession, but the Lightning caused turnovers and, more importantly, capitalized on those turnovers. Puck possession is an important aspect of the game, but when you are turning the puck over so much, your opponents will beat you. There’s no way around it.

On to the goals:

Lightning 1, Rangers 0

Sigh.

Sigh.

Michael Del Zotto actually had Nikita Kucherov tied up in front of the net while the puck was in the corner. Kucherov released and moved out a little bit to the hash marks, and inexplicably found open ice between four Rangers. The Rangers system calls for Del Zotto to go to the corner for that loose puck, not Derick Brassard. Del Zotto should have adjusted here and stuck with Kucherov, but he hesitated for a split second, which gave Kucherov that room.

Lightning 2, Rangers 0

This was just bad puck luck. Marc Staal had the puck hop over his stick at the blue line, and Marty St. Louis just beat him to it for the breakaway. It happens.

Lightning 3, Rangers 0

Turnovers turnovers turnovers.

Turnovers turnovers turnovers.

Derek Dorsett was forced into a turnover in the neutral zone, and then St. Louis was again sprung on a breakaway stemming from that turnover. The transition game killed the Rangers.

Lightning 4, Rangers 0

This is never something you want to see.

This is never something you want to see.

The refs missed a big call when Brad Richards was taken down at the blue line, but that doesn’t excuse the 4-on-2 that it led to. I may have an issue with Dan Girardi leaving his feet here, but there was no sign of backcheck, and let’s just be honest, this is a 4-on-2. Teddy Purcell ripped a nice shot over Henrik Lundqvist, seeing the passing lanes were taken.

Lightning 5, Rangers 0

John Moore didn’t get the puck deep, and eventually was forced into another neutral zone turnover. This led to a 3-on-1 with Del Zotto back. MDZ broke up the initial pass, but the puck didn’t bounce his way as Purcell was able to collect the loose puck and backhand it past Cam Talbot. The goal broke up Talbot’s shutout streak of about 160 minutes.

Fenwick Chart:

Courtesy of Extra Skater

Courtesy of Extra Skater

The early Tampa Fenwick advantage doesn’t really lead to the first two goals here. But with a two goal lead, the Lightning were able to sit back a bit and just force turnovers in the neutral zone. Those turnovers led to the third and fifth goals, but when they weren’t forcing turnovers they were getting outshot pretty badly. That’s expected of a team with two and three goal leads. They closed the gap in the second due to two straight Ranger penalties, but that’s the only reason why the gap was closed. The Rangers took off in the third because Tampa stopped attacking.

This was a rough one to watch, but it’s a good thing that hockey players have short memories. Tampa is a very quick team that kills you on the transition, as we found out last night. The Panthers are up next, and the Rangers can guarantee themselves a winning road trip with a win Wednesday night.

32 Responses to “Rangers dominate possession, get shutout again”

  1. Mr. Snrub says:

    On the bright side of things last night:

    -Flyers lost.
    -Devils lost.
    -Pens only got a point.
    -Messea like last night make it easier for Slats to explain to Hank why he isn’t getting an 8×8 contract. Better take that hometown discount, bud…

    • Mr. Snrub says:

      Messes*

      • Scully says:

        Riiiiight one game erases a 9 year body of work because Hank’s never been known for being mentally and physically prepared and is about to fall off a cliff at 31.

        Yuuuup he’d better take that hometown discount because he won’t find big money elsewhere if the Rangers don’t offer it.

        • Mr. Snrub says:

          That’s a mighty straw man you’re beating there. Never said one game means he doesn’t get a max contract.

          Can’t let emotions dictate business. Hank has had a less than stellar start to this year. I want to keep him, but I want Slats to win the negotiation. Because it’s what’s good for the organization.

          • evan says:

            Everyone acts as if Hank has a ton of options this summer. Hank is not going to go to a small market, so that eliminates a ton of teams from his list. NYC is a crucial part of Hank’s brand and he knows this. I highly doubt Hank would be this well known had he been playing in Columbus and not rolling around the fashion show parties in NYC.

            The only other cities I could see him leaving for, already have goalies under big contracts. For example, LA and Chicago. For me it comes down to the Rangers and Islanders for Hank. It keeps him in NYC, he can keep doing the fashion thing on the side and both teams have young squads that could contend.

            Unless a toronto were to offer something, I do not see many option for hank that both help him keep his brand and allow him to contend. The rangers should keep a hard line about the years they are willing to offer.

            • Spozo says:

              Please don’t say that. The thought of Hank in an Islanders jersey….. I just threw up a little in my mouth.

              • Bob says:

                I could see the Caps, Ducks, or Sharks going after Hank. Hell, maybe even Philly throws their hat into the ring. All are big markets and goalies on small contracts. If the Rangers miss the postseason or go out in the first or 2nd round. All bets are off.

              • Dave says:

                The Ducks? Are you nuts? They have more goalies than all other teams combined.

                Caps have Holtby. Sharks Niemi.

                So no, none of those 3 are gonna go after Hank.

              • VinceR says:

                The Islanders would never spend the money needed to get him, way too cheap…they love being a cap floor team.

          • Scully says:

            I agree with your comment about Slats, and I think that when the time comes we’ll all be happy (fans, front office and hank) with what the contract is.

            I know you said Hank has had a less than stellar start, but I mean 2.5 gaa and a .917 save percentage isn’t exactly total crap.

            In the 17 games Hank’s started the Rangers have scored exactly 35 goals… that’s 2 goals per game. Hank would HAVE to be standing on his head to be better than 7 – 10 with an offense in front of him like that.

            Also, Hank’s always been known as a guy who from December – February really picks up his game.

            We’ll see what happens after this road trip when they’re home for almost the entire month of December. I’m an optimist because I like the way this team has been playing overall. I am predicting we fatten up our W column on home ice next month.

            • Jeff says:

              Haha Dave. The thought of Hank going anywhere is nuts. Especially at this point of the season. But if we are going to have a fun talk about him potentially playing for the Islanders because ‘he wants to be close to the fashion world’, then it’s within the realm of possibility that he leaves for a team that is closer to winning the Cup than we are.

              Ducks have Hiller, who is a UFA, Fasth who is having a terrible year and is a year removed from being a UFA, and Anderson who is still an unknown quantity. I’d rather have Hank over any of those three if their ‘window to win’ is now.

              Niemi is a UFA next year and I’d take Hank over him any day of the week. Holtby too.

              If Hank went to any of those teams, they’d be instant contenders for Cup.

  2. Gary says:

    I shut it off @ 3-zip. So I don’t have the whole game to go by. Not to start looking like a Hank basher, but the point is furthered that he no longer is the king among goalies. Let’s add the guy in Tampa now to the list of 4-6 that can be as good as the King at any given time.

    I don’t know if it is physical (age? equipment shrinkage?) or mental (contract weighing?) but the hype does not match the current reality.

    Several times this year this team has been let down by its goaltending. Yeh, I know it is the same goaltending that has save the team’s bacon on many occasions in the past. But this is this year, not the past.

    I hope he finds his consistency soon.

    • Evan M says:

      Did you watch the game against the Stars? Hank has been spot on after taking a few game breather. Clunkers like last night happen to even the best.

  3. SalMerc says:

    All I can say is that it looked like Tampa was skating on ice and we were skating in slush. They transition from “D to O” quicker that almost any team I have seen this year.

  4. Walt says:

    Body language said it all, Hank was a dejected man after the second goal, and the rest is history. Some nights he looks like he can carry the team, and the world on his shoulders, while other nights he looks like sh*t. Last night he looked like he ate a box of ExLax!!

  5. Bloomer says:

    The Rangers will be well advised not the take the Panthers for granted, they have a new coach and are playing better hockey. 24 games into the season and the Rangers are a .500 club. The last 24 games of last year, their record was much better. Going forward, the Rangers are relatively young and have the potential of being much better as the season wears on.
    I am disappointed in the way the franchise is managing their prospects. I would like to see some of their young Hartford players brought up for a kick at the can, but to play not to be scratched. JT Miller is only 20 years old and sits in the press box night after night. That is not how a professional team develops their young talent. You learn the game by playing the game not watching the game. If they don’t have the confidence in him to put him in the lineup, then send him down.
    Lastly, if this team isn’t playoff bound at the team deadline, they need to shed some salary or unload their unrestrictive free agents. While there is still hope the season isn’t lost, the clock is winding down. The team has a long homestead coming up and a golden opportunity to gain some ground and move up it the standings.

    • SalMerc says:

      We need to be realistic. No one thought we were a .500 team. That said, we are what the record says. If we continue, it may be the right strategy to change out some players and really give youth a shot. Not 4 shifts a game.

    • VinceR says:

      Ahh, the NYC fan base. Where a team with playoff standings and much upward promise “still has hope” that the season isn’t lost in November.

      • Walt says:

        Hay Vince

        Hate to say this but this team is over rated!!!

        OK now, all the haters start blowing off steam at me.

        • Scully says:

          C’mon Walt, you’ve seen enough Rangers hockey to know this team not overrated. Plus, no one other than James Dolan inside the Rangers organization is saying stupid things about being close to a championship.

          We’ve had our full lineup for like 4-5 games all season, and even last night we dominated puck possession. These kinds of things happen from time to time. let’s all be patient, it’s not even December yet.

          Plus, as a goalie Hank is definitely not the goalie to count out. He’s stood on his head for us for the better part of a decade and he’s not about to crumble at 31. Also, I think if we were to look at the amount of goals being scored for him this season, it’s been horrendous. Coming into this game he had something like a 1.6 GAA in his last 15 games.

          We’ll be fine. It’s just one loss.

          • Walt says:

            Scully

            All your points are valid, except show me a closer!

            Granted Nash is one, but who else is really a sniper, and that is where we were last season, the season before, the last 6-8 seasons, and today!! Think with the head, not the heart. I love this team, want them to win it all again, and again, but we need snipers who can light up the net. Until we sign a few up, we will always be a perimeter scoring team, who gets shut out as often as we pitch shut outs. Those are the facts.
            Put together another GAG line, and I’ll cream my jeans!

        • VinceR says:

          By who? The people who thought the cup was ours because we switched to a coach who wasn’t such a big meanie and didn’t use that nasty foul language? If the team is over-rated, then that started last season, because it’s essentially the same.

          There is a lot of season left. A little knee-jerky to contemplate if the season is lost or not at this point. Yeah we are .500, but we didn’t exactly start the season there. Let’s not blow things out of proportion.

  6. Jeff says:

    Were there any teams the last few seasons that had good puck possession stats but mediorce goals for? Or are we breaking new ground here?

    • Dave says:

      Tough to use last season as a reference because of the shortened year, but the Rangers and Devils are usually the two teams that come to mind here.

  7. Hatrick Swayze says:

    Man o man watching Marty St. Louis last night was a treat. What quick hands on his 2 goals he shelved on Lundy. Just awesome. Is it a bad thing that I kind of wanted him to get the Hatrick there at the end?

    This should go to show why Bishop is getting team USA consideration, btw. He is no sieve (civ?). The Bolts had to give up a former ROY in the AHL in Conacher to get him and he is not disappointing so far. It’ll be interesting to see how Poille and Shero pick their 3 tenders for Sochi.

    For all those Lundy haters coming out of the woodwork, though….. let’s see Bishop, Scrivens, Andersen, (hell, even Talbot) perform like that for about 9 years before everyone says he is “as good as Lundqvist”. Let’s be somewhat appreciative of the spectacular level of goaltending we have gotten for about a decade or so.

    • Gary says:

      If yer talking about my comment, which started the Lundquist string, read it again HTS. Talking about what is now. Not what was then. That was great, but this is a team now. We are in a season now. We are supposedly contending now. I actually do not give a crap about then. This is now.

  8. Craig says:

    Once again we see the Rangers lack of physical presence in front of the opposing net and unable to finish a play (Clowe last year when healthy was that physical presence). The majority of their shots on goal are usually right into the goal tender. All of a sudden every goalie they face in the league is playing great and can’t be beat.
    Last week they had a great passing play that led to a goal by JT Miller. We have Lindberg and Kristo waiting for a chance in Hartford. We need goal scorers! Give the youth a chance. We have an overabundance of one dimensional players that lack offensive skill.
    Also, poor Dorsett is going to get a lot of beatings without a legitimate heavyweight enforcer
    This team is inconsistent because it cannot at times adapt or adjust its play to the different style other teams play

  9. Rangers Rock says:

    Did I miss it? When did he (coach) call a time out?

  10. Spozo says:

    Why is everyone’s focus on Lundqvist? Yea he played like crap but the team couldn’t score in front of him. If you can’t put the puck in the net it doesn’t matter who your goalie is. How about we focus on the lack of finishing? Which aspect of the team has a greater chance of turning around and regressing to the mean? Lunqvist and his 9 year model of consistency? Or the offense which has been the issue for the last 5 years?

    • Gary says:

      My point has been that it is a little annoying to see other goalies routinely acting like Hank while Hank does not act like Hank very often anymore.

      Is it okay to say the goalie has been part of the problem this (not talking about the past) year or is that sacred ground?

      With the legend surrounding the King, it is IMO fair game to note it when he is out played by ‘lesser’ lights.

      • Spozo says:

        Yea you can point out that he hasn’t been great but I hate the whole “out dueled by the opposing goalie” crap. It’s just like how I hate announcers talking about pitching duels in baseball. How the other teams goalie played has nothing to do with Hank. The other teams shooters outplayed Hank and the lightening goalie outplayed the Ranger shooters.

        But my original point is that if you take a look at the big picture the goaltending is less of a concern than the inability to score. You can’t win games when a “good night” is putting two goals in the back of the net. Hank has a 9 year track record of being the games best goalie and if I was a betting man I would put money on him getting back to that world class level before the offense does.

        So to answer your question directly, yes Hank has been part of the problem but he isn’t the issue I think the team needs to be concerned about the rest of the year.

    • Chris. C says:

      I don’t think that the main focus is Hank, Just that Hank couldn’t stop a Basketball if it was shoot at him this year. And the several games that Hank looked like Last night, his body language tells the story his mind isn’t focused this year.
      And this years Offense and skill level is a lot better then the past several years now IMO. They definitely need the finisher and more traffic in front of the goalie. This is a good team, even with DelZaster
      My only Bitch is Cally should be on the third line, but Im not the coach.