The Rangers got away with another one last night after getting dominated in their own end for most of the game, yet they were able to come away with a big win on the road. The Panthers came hard, just as we expected they would, and put 51 shot attempts towards Hank’s direction, while the Rangers countered with 32.
The Rangers faced a similar blitz several nights ago in Dallas and were able to get a win, a positive sign. Yet they also managed to win the ‘puck possession’ battle against LA, Boston, and Tampa, but those games counted for losses. Strange how this thing of ours works out sometimes.
On to the goals:
Rangers 1, Panthers 0
(Brass with a PPG from Zukes and Step)
There are times when our power play looks like complete dog poop and there are times where our power play looks too legit to quit. This is the latter.
Why did it work here?
The Panthers generally play a passive box, where everyone collapses in front of the slot. On this PK, they’re kinda playing different strategies half-assedly (yes, that’s a new word, add it to urban dictionary). The box is meant to be passive and the diamond assertive. They are doing neither here and they left Brassard wide open in the slot. Great read by MZA to notice the lack of coverage on Brass and feed him the puck for the deflection. Good look.
Rangers 2, Panthers 0
The Panthers were dominating the Rangers with their aggressive 2-1-2 forecheck, who really just needed to simplify their game. This is what can happen when you do. Richie threw one on net that went between the legs of 2 defenders and 1 goalie. Skill or PDO (aka what Dave calls luck), which is it? Your call.
Rangers 3, Panthers 0
What started out as an innocent 3-on-3 rush, didn’t end well for the Panthers. In the image above you can see Tom Gilbert come away with the puck. Instead of trying to skate the puck down low for a controlled breakout, or a pass to the high boards, he just blindly backhands the puck behind him. Nash (his route highlighted in green) reads the play and collects the puck in the high slot. Brian Campbell (#51) doesn’t stick with Nash, who skates right into the house and fires one past Timmy Thomas.
Rangers 3, Panthers 1
(Upshall from Boyes)
At this point you knew the Panthers were bound to get one after the success they were having swarming us down low in our own zone. On this goal, MZA throws the puck (red line) from the low boards right into the middle of the d-zone (a big no-no), which lands on Brad Boyes’ stick. Everyone in white is thinking offense and is ready to go north, but the ill-threaded pass from MZA catches everyone off guard. No one stays with Upshall (goal scorer). Easy goal.
Rangers 3, Panthers 2
Hagelin over skated the puck in the neutral zone. The Panthers collected and burned everyone in transition. McD (who played over 27 mins) is a step behind Nick Bjugstad, who backhands one from a bad angle through Hank’s five-hole. I know there were some fails elsewhere on the ice, but Hank’s gotta make that save here. It’s late in the third period and that’s a soft goal to give up from that angle on that type of shot.
If you can guess Bjugstad’s country of origin — extra gravy for you!
Rangers 4, Panthers 2
(MZA from Kreider, Moore)
After giving up two in a row, the Rangers switched to a 1-2-2 neutral zone trap (shown above), which is what they normally play with a late lead. The trap doesn’t always lead to positive puck possession numbers, but it can net you some grade A chances, which is exactly what happened.
The Rangers caused a turnover in the neutral zone and Ryan Callahan got hooked on the ensuing rush. This gave the Rangers a late power play, which they converted. I didn’t get a good picture of the goal, but the puck took an odd hop off the back-boards from a John Moore point shot. Kreider swiped at a bouncing puck in the slot and missed. MZA wasn’t picked up and put away the second attempt.
Rangers 5, Panthers 2
Empty net for Hagelin, no break down.
The Rangers are in Boston on Friday to face the stingy Bruins and then they return home to face John Tortorella’s Canucks, who have been blitzing teams with 33 shots on goal per game and lead the league in shot attempts. Those will be two very tough games coming up. Hopefully the boys can forge ahead.