Dec
21

Turnovers and sloppy play lead to disappointing loss to Islanders

December 21, 2013, by
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

This was a rough game for the Rangers. They gave up a pair of short handed goals, they committed 16 turnovers (to the Islanders 5), and the goaltending didn’t bail them out as they dropped a disappointing game to the Islanders by a score of 5-3. Henrik Lundqvist really isn’t to blame for the way the goals were scored, but the fact of the matter is he only made 15 saves. Hank blamed himself for the loss, and there is a certain level of blame associated with a goalie who is sporting a sub-.910 SV%.

That said, the blame here is team-wide. The Rangers didn’t forecheck as well as they should. They turned the puck over more times than I can remember. They gave up a pair of short handed goals for the first time in five years. This was a sloppy game all around.

On the positive side, this marked the third game in a row that the team came back from two goals down.

On to the goals:

Islanders 1, Rangers 0

This was just an awful call by the refs on Ryan McDonagh. Granted the puck jumped over his stick, which led to the Cal Clutterbuck breakaway and eventual penalty shot for the short handed goal. That said, it was a terrible call, questionable at best.

Islanders 2, Rangers 0

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McDonagh had a rough game, and the second goal was a result of his turnover at the blue line to Michael Grabner. Grabner used his speed to blow by McDonagh for the breakaway, beating Hank with a great move for the second short handed goal of the period.

Rangers 1, Islanders 2

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This was a wonderful passing play between Derick Brassard at the half boards, who hit Chris Kreider at the side of the goal, who hit Benoit Pouliot in the slot for the goal. It was a pretty goal to watch. There’s no real defensive breakdown for the Isles here for the first Rangers powerplay goal.

Rangers 2, Islanders 2

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You don’t score on 100% of the shots you don’t take. Derek Dorsett took a bad angle shot that deflected off Thomas Hickey and in.

Rangers 3, Islanders 2

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The Rangers had a very sloppy zone entry on the powerplay, but it somehow worked as the puck got down low. Eventually, a centering pass from Mats Zuccarello to Rick Nash doesn’t connect, and Hickey’s clearing attempt hops over his stick right to Derek Stepan for the goal. McDonagh had a rough first period, Hickey had the rough second period.

Islanders 3, Rangers 3

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This was the only goal where there was a lot to look at. First, Dan Girardi made a really bad clearing attempt that the Islanders picked off and kept the zone. As the powerplay expired, Anton Stralman came back (he slots in as a winger for an expired penalty) and covers the strong side defenseman as Stepan drops down. In AV’s defensive zone scheme, that is the correct play here. You can make an argument that Stralman should have gone to Brian Strait at the weak side point, but that’s not how the overload is played. Once Josh Bailey got the puck to Strait, the shot from the point was inevitable.

Matt Martin was in front of the net here, and McDonagh was playing in front of Martin. This is something that Suit outlined, how Ranger defensemen tend to play in front of the screen for Hank, but sometimes behind the screen (and attempt to move the screen) for Cam Talbot. This defensive scheme is called fronting (refresher here). Much like with Stralman’s coverage, this is how AV wants his guys to play. The drawback to this is that the goalie is screened on the play, which is what happened here. Hank didn’t get all of the Strait shot.

Islanders 4, Rangers 3

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Kyle Okposo made a very nice slap-pass to Thomas Vanek in the slot, who deflected it through Hank for the game winner. It was a 5-on-3 goal, so there’s not much else the team could have done. You can make the argument that McDonagh could have moved to tie up Vanek, but then Okposo has all day to walk the puck in and get a clean shot.

Islanders 5, Rangers 3

Empty netter.

Fenwick Chart:

Courtesy of ExtraSkater

Courtesy of ExtraSkater

The chart may make it seem like this game was evenly matched until the Isles went into shutdown mode in the third, but considering how bad the Islanders are, evenly matched for puck possession is a net loss. The Rangers may have eventually won the puck possession battle, but the Isles started playing prevent defense after they took the lead in the third. Fact of the matter here, the chart is consistent with the play we saw tonight: Sloppy.

The main positive to take from this game was that the Rangers battled back from two down for the third game in a row. The problem is that every facet of the game was pretty bad last night. The turnovers were abundant, and forecheck was lacking, and the big names that needed to keep the team in the game did not show up. Something needs to change in the mindset of this team, and it needs to happen fast.

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Categories : Game Wrap-ups

42 comments

  1. Tiki Tim says:

    Quite an in-depth analysis. Thank you.

  2. supermaz says:

    Again Lundqvist is the 2nd best goalie on the ice.
    Stop defending him.
    Also, this team needs to learn how to finish a play. They do everything on offense but score.

    • Dave says:

      “Hank blamed himself for the loss, and there is a certain level of blame associated with a goalie who is sporting a sub-.910 SV%.”

      That’s defending Hank?

  3. Walt says:

    Dave

    I asked if there is something going on in Hanks head with smaller pads this season, he seems out of sinc! Right from the begining of the season, he has been weak, unsure of himself, just unsteady.

    At first I thought the contract was the issue, or the pads, or his new child, can’t seem to put a finger on it. You seem to understand goalies better than us, has he slowed down some, just what is it?

    Sather should have waited until the end of the season to sign Hank for the amount, and length of contract. If there is a cause for all of this, and it can’t be corrected, then what? That is a load money, for a long period of time, that the team will have to carry the contract on the books. I believe Hank’s heart is in the right place, he is trying hard, but the results aren’t there.

    • Dave says:

      I don’t think it’s the pads. I think it’s the defense around him.

      • Walt says:

        Can’t argue that point, but some real soft ones this season don’t you think?????

        I’m really not trying to start something here, just trying to understand how this guy who would stop everything in the past, has become average over night!!

      • Gary says:

        He’s given up way too many sofies for the D to be the whole issue. It is surprising how bad the D has been, but so too has its backbone there in net.

        Said before and I’ll say it again, this KING HENRIK hubris was dangerous. Now as it deflates, it’s feeding on itself.

  4. Walt says:

    Chris F

    Read this straight from the horses mouth. In the future, don’t let you arse overload you mouth clown!!

    On MSG, Henrik Lundqvist spoke with John Giannone
    -“This was definitely a frustrating game. There is no question that we beat ourselves. We made some simple mistakes and I was not there to clean it up. In the first they had a few chances and as a goalie you try to battle and be there and make those saves for us to stay confident but I wasn’t there to make those saves in the first and it set the tone for the whole game. I thought we were the better team…..they just hurt us on the mistakes we made. As a goalie, and mistakes can happen it’s part of the game, but I wish I could have been better. Especially in the first. It was two good shots but like I said it kind of set the tone for the game.”

  5. Rangers Fan in Boston says:

    Dave,

    When you say the mindset has to change, what are you referring to specifically? Is it a mindset problem or an execution problem, or are they related? What’s the root cause right now?

    • Dave says:

      I can’t really answer that, I’m not in the locker room. It’s definitely execution related, but the top guys aren’t producing on the ice either.

  6. BobM says:

    “On the positive side, this marked the third game in a row that the team came back from two goals down.”

    Other than what happened to your husband, did you enjoy the play Mrs. Lincoln?

  7. Allie says:

    Unfortunately as a Ranger fan in Florida, even with Directv’s access to MSG ;), I miss stuff! Does anyone know what Al was talking about when he said you had to hear McD?!

    Awesome game analysis! Definitely bookmarking this blog! Full of great stuff! Thanks!

    On a side note the “Girardis” were amazing so glad we got coverage for that and thanks for reposting!! Great work guys!

    • Dave says:

      Great to have you. Be sure to come by often.

      I’m assuming Al was referring to one of the two blue line cough ups that McD that led to goals. Would have to assume McD wasn’t pleased.

  8. paulronty says:

    I think it’s obvious that the players, especially the D, are not comfortable with AV’s system. So is he going to change “the system”? Not likely.

  9. Bloomer says:

    Shot blocking makes a difference in helping take the load of the goalie and all teams do it. But last year you would think the Rangers players were the only ones in the league that were asked by their coach to block a shot. Fronting is also a common practise and all goalies have players screening them, which they have to learn to deal with. You can’t fault your goalie for allowing a goal on a breakaway, that’s just piss poor defence. But Henk has to be better in his read on shots from the points.

    I thought at times the team was playing a coherent puck support game last night. Some uncharacteristic errors by their defenseman and goalie ended up costing them the game. Looking forward to lounging by the fire and watching the Rangers tackle the Wild on Sunday.

    • Walt says:

      Let’s see if Chris F wants to call you a stooge after this post my friend!!

      Well thought out, and stated Bloomer!!

      • Bloomer says:

        Just sour grapes Walt, I think Chris F was part of the lynch mob that wanted Torts canned last year. Everyone has their opinion and I think it is rather childish to demean a person because their opinion differs from yours. Like you, I am a long-time Ranger follower and have observed the up and downs of this franchise.

        • Chris F says:

          Wrong, I was, am, and will forever be a huge Torts fan. I don’t like AV at all, actually, I think he’s all wrong for this team.

          No sour grapes at all, fellas. I just find the incessant circle-jerk between the two of you and Joe to be a little comical. I come to the blog -despite disliking AV- for the optimism, to perhaps get a positive look at the woes I see. It’s therapuetic. II’m searching for signs of life because I want to believe in this team. You guys just seem to want to blow it up every night.

          The 3 Stooges comment was just a joke. Lighten up.

          • Walt says:

            Some of us went to war, and got shot at so that we could defend the right to freedom of speech, and let **** bags like you demonstrate what an idiot you are. Take your circle jerk, and ram it where the sun doesn’t shine, and rinse out the bidet, where you brushed your teeth this morning, it stinks to high heaven!!

            Now you lighten up clown!!

          • Dave says:

            Ok guys, civil discussion. You don’t want me involved in this circle-jerk, you will all just wind up jealous.

            • Gary says:

              LOL!

            • Walt says:

              Now that’s funny.

              We didn’t start it, and if you read my posts, I try to make it funny, but at the same time I let the person know it’s nothing personal. I try to respect everyone on this site, but I would expect the same coming my way. Enough said my friend!!

        • VinceR says:

          Actually, if I am not mistaken, it was Walt who had an extreme dislike for Torts and said he’d rather have anyone else in there.

          • Walt says:

            Your right, and I have to eat crow!!

            • VinceR says:

              And you have all my respect for admitting it…we all have different opinions, however this team is currently making no one look good. Defying all theories.

              • Walt says:

                Vince

                I have said before an opioion is like an anis, everyone has one!

                It seems that Chris is always talking thru his!!

              • Chris F says:

                Walt,

                Reading through these comments, you should be embarassed.

  10. paulronty says:

    AV’s press conference made me want to SCREAM!!! He says he didn’t ask about that utterly stupid penalty shot and he says “it is what it is'” Really? He should have been up on the boards screaming obscenities at that referee, maybe throwing water bottles all over the ice, and getting kicked out. FIRE, no fire there.

  11. TxRanger says:

    While I understand the sentiment in think the team continually overcoming two goal deficits is a positive, for me, that is concerning. A team that often finds itself trail by multiple goals is not a team that has found a recipe for success.

  12. Sally says:

    Last nights downfall was a result of their zone entry, especially on the power play. Countless times the puck carrier would enter the offensive zone, slow down about 5 feet inside the blue line and attempt a pass to the point. This led to 2 short handed goals, and a third short handed opportunity, as the Islanders were able to pressure the point man who had no time or space to do anything with the puck. If that was a set play, then it was awful coaching. If the Rangers did not think they had the physical presence to dump the puck and retrieve it then the puck carrier has to enter the zone with speed and force the defense to retreat down below the face off dots and THEN pass to the points. The puck carrier rarely broke the top of the face off dots before attempting the soft pass to the D. This play left McDonagh in no mans lands twice with no room to operate or make any sort of play leading to two break aways. It’s hard to believe the coaching staff did not see this and make any sort of adjustments.

    • flatbush says:

      Sally, Like your PP entry analysis and you would think the coaching staff would have a feel for whats going to work. MSG gave a
      lip service about the dismal Torts PP & how the new coaching staff were more offensive minded but this PP entry was the same as last year. There are several teams that employ the drop back at center ice but it really goes against the concept that the last guy up the ice should not be the puck carrier while everyone else is stationary. Knowing this the Isles stood 4 a breast at the blue which is the expected play. We were forced to make bad plays and the coaching staff kept forcing the same concept. Nice job!

  13. Ray says:

    Seven games in a row with three or more goals – 15 out of 27 overall. Talbot has given up three goals in one game out of 8. Maybe Lundqvist was a better goalie than Talbot can ever be; maybe he will be again. But there is no question who the top Ranger goalie is now. And without Talbot’s performance to date, the Rangers aren’t even in the playoff conversation.

    If everything goes perfectly, the Rangers can win the Cup without Lundqvist, Nash, Callahan, Staal. Tough, sure. But they need to focus on winning. Tortorella kept messing with the pieces of the offense that were working in the playoffs to get Nash started and AV benches Talbot to get Lundqvist going. Let Nash and Lundqvist worry about themselves.

    A great goalie makes many unbelievable saves. He enables the team to take more chances.

  14. joe719 says:

    This is my first time here since last night, when I was called a Stooge by the Official Ranger Pom Pom waver, and what do I see? Talk of a “circle-jerk?” Chris F, please! Keep your own sordid fantasies to yourself; or find one of the many sites out there that will cater to your needs. If you don’t like the fact that not everybody blindly agrees with your Pollyanna visions of this team, do everybody a favor and keep your objections to yourself. Or toughen up a bit, and face the truth. Right now, they just aren’t very good. And unless something drastic takes place, they won’t be getting much better anytime soon!