Although dominant, Rangers need shootout to down Leafs

December 24, 2013, by
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Rangers needed 65+ minutes of hockey to down a pesky Leafs team that just wouldn’t go away last night. Jonathan Bernier played a phenomenal game for Toronto and was the reason why the Rangers didn’t blow this game wide open in the second period.  Bernier made 41 saves, and a lot of them were on prime opportunities. Luckily Cam Talbot was up to the task as well, losing his shutout on a controversial goal.

One thing that really stuck out in this game was the play of J.T. Miller. The biggest thing we have harped on about his play is that he chases the puck and needs to learn to play in all three zones. Over the past few games since his call up, he seems to have put it all together. He played a great game last night, and his goal should have held up as the game winner.

On to the goals:

Rangers 1, Leafs 0


This goal was a product of a great shift by the Rangers, but particularly Chris Kreider for his great work down low and behind the net. He worked hard to keep the puck low, and eventually found Miller in the slot for the goal. Kreider did the dirty work, but Miller made a great read on the ice, finding the seam between all five Leafs skaters.

Leafs 1, Rangers 1

This was a weird goal (also, no picture because nothing came out right). David Clarkson tried to stuff the puck in from behind the net, but Talbot stopped it. It appeared that the puck was under his pad. The whistle was never blown because the ref was behind the net, and the Rangers appeared to be waiting and expecting the whistle. Nazem Kadri just came by and poked the puck into the net. Bad non-whistle on this goal, but once the on-ice call was a goal, there was no way to overturn it.

Fenwick Chart:

Courtesy of ExtraSkater

Courtesy of ExtraSkater

The Rangers absolutely dominated this game. Look at the spike in the second period, and it just kept going up as the game progressed. The MSG broadcast mentioned how the ice was tilted in the Rangers direction in the second period, and this chart shows it. But let’s also remember that the Leafs are one of the worst possession teams in the league. Only Buffalo is worse, and this is why most #fancystats folks are predicting an epic fall from grace for the Leafs. They are actually in the middle of it right now.

This is now the second game in row where the Rangers dominated the opposition (> 60% FF%) en route to a win. They have played four of five strong games (the Islanders debacle is that fifth game), and taken seven of ten points in those five games. With three winnable games coming up, the Rangers can still salvage an above-.500 December. Hopefully they don’t lose this momentum during the three-day holiday break.

Categories : Game Wrap-ups


  1. Gary says:

    Agree on JT Miller. He was very noticeable last night… in a good way.

    I keep waiting for Talbot to turn back into well, Talbot, but the kid is just fundamentally solid; squared up and not using too much extra energy. Always seems to be looking at that puck dead on.

    After the last 2 nights might we actually think there is a system and they are getting it? When the Rangers play as a unit they compete. Funny how that works.

    • Dave says:

      Miller’s possession numbers the last two games have been great. I see him doing better things without the puck too. He’s not just chasing it around anymore (well, not every shift).

      • Gary says:

        Hmmm, a young player getting a combo of learning and confidence? I’d love to add him to Kreider in that category. Next year add in the AHL seasoned Lindberg & Kristo?

      • Centerman21 says:

        This s was the 2nd game in as many nights and yet the Rangers looked like the better team. Could this be the start of a turnaround for this team? I sure hope so. Also Del Zotto is jumping up into those rebounds at the dots and firing shots. He has been playing with a little more confidence. I personally dont think Miller is all that bad with the puck. It’s without that keeps sending him back to Hartford. He’ll learn.
        I really hope this team as it’s currently constructed will get it together and go on a run so Sather isn’t forced to make any drastic changes through trades. I still think a deal will happen for a 3rd line righty but this is a talented team. Can win.
        I wanna see Beach get a look. He’s played pro hockey since 2010.

    • Jeff P says:

      Talbot seems to be one of those rare guys whose game (solid on the angles, no extra movement) translates better to the NHL rather than lower levels.

  2. Walt says:

    Everyone is over looking the assist by Kreider, who made a great feed, to set up the goal for Miller. I liked the Miller kid right away, and hope he does indeed stay up this time for good.

    Anyone notice how quick the team seems? Even with my boy Boyle, who played himself a very good game, they looked like they had the after burners on!!

    The only thing missing was the trackter trailer Pyatt, Not!!

    • Walt says:

      My comment was directed to the MSG crew, not giving Kreider his due, as you stated he did all the dirty work…..

      • Rob says:

        Funny thing is I had the luxury of first listening to the game on the radio w LaGreca and Maloney, and then I watched the game in it’s entirety w Sam and Joe. Maloney kept praising Kreider’s play all game and was baffled over him not getting one shift in the extra session. On the other hand Joe barely even mentioned Kreider’s relentless persuit of the puck leading up to his pass to Miller on the goal, and his overall play in the game last night. I’m convinved Joe reads his notes for more then half the game lol.

        • Walt says:

          I thought I was the only one who saw that, didn’t hear the radio broadcast, but I can’t understand the benching, and even commented last night about it!!

        • supermaz says:

          I find Dave Maloney to be an excellent commentator.

      • Centerman21 says:

        That’s what he has to do to be effective. Good point because that goal was all Kreider. Me or you could have scored that goal. The pass was perfect and he used his size to keep the puck. The biggest difference between Kreider of last season and of Now is how he uses his size and skating ability. Very rare combo in the NHL!

    • Dave says:

      This is a team that just needed to get itself going. Toronto isn’t a good team, but Minnesota is.

      The team can skate, but they seemed to be coasting the past month or so. Seems to have clicked.

      • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

        Let’s hope, they followed up a strong game with another beauty. I said yesterday that this team needs to string some quality games together for me to start feeling better, and well, I’m liking what I’m seeing. Consistency = wins, let’s keep it up.

      • Centerman21 says:

        You don’t think Toronto is a good team. I don’t think they’re a bad team and they have 3 more points than the Rangers. Don’t get me wrong I hate the Leafs but I wouldn’t say they are a bad team. I think they were crazy signing Clarkson to all that money when they had a good solid foundation last year and were ready to contend anyway after making the playoffs. They have a solid goalie tandem and a few lines that can score and a bottom line that can go toe to toe with anyone in hockey. They should have swiped DZ from NYR though, they could use another top 2 pairing defenseman. After Phuneuf they’re thin. Speed was their biggest asset and now they have gotten slower over the last 2 years.

      • Centerman21 says:

        have a #NotSoFancyStat for all you stat guys. Last season in 48 games, Stepan had 108 SOG. He also had a career year with 18 goals. So far this season in 38 games, he already has 96 SOG but only 7 goals. I think he is going to have a monster 2nd 1/2 of the season. So look for him to tear it up in hopes of making the US Olympic team. If this team is going anywhere they need him to play at the level he was at last season. He seems to be finding his game the last week or so, The S% will even out to the average and Stepan will have a huge 2nd 1/2 of the NHL season. I expect that play to get Nash going out swinging too. He’s gonna end up just short of 30 goals on the season. 27 or 28 is my guess.

    • Centerman21 says:

      Pyatt has to go. They can put him on waivers and if he’s claimed, well he’s gone but I doubt that happens. Unless Torts wants him in Vancouver. If he clears waivers then his cap hit is reduced by $925,000. That would leave the Rangers with only a $625K cap hit. That would almost double the Rangers available cap space. There’s no room on the 4th line for him and he’s a waste as a top 9 player. He used to be good against the boards but even that talent has diminished. Time to part ways with the tractor trailer. I liked his 230 lb frame but it’s a waste if you play soft. Give him away if you have to. Pouliot was on that list a week ago but for some strange reason, he has figured it out and has played great. Not only scoring but skating hard and causing havok on the forecheck. I hope he keeps it up.

  3. Becky says:


    • Seahorse says:

      I thought we were doing #burnitdown when only a point out of the playoffs and less than half the season gone

      • Centerman21 says:

        There is no #Burnitdown. You hippies are crazy. This team has been built over the last 10 years and now Sather is gonna just say “oh well I screwed up” “time to start over”. Sather’s days are numbered. He’s like close to 80 years old. How much longer do you think he’s gonna remain as GM. He might stay on as president or not but he is within a few years of stepping down. So I have to think he’s going all in, these next 3-4 years in quest of a cup. In my humble opinion all the Rangers need (If they can get this kind of production from all 4 lines) is a top line RW. A shooter than can forecheck and fetch pucks for his linemates. I don’t think Nash or Stepan are really great at that. So if they had a solid righty to balance that finnes line a little bit. It just might help them score in these 1-1 or scoreless games.
        I also think they could add a Clowe type guy that can police the game somewhat.

        If you didn’t read any of what I wrote read this. I have noticed a change in culture on this Ranger team. Something we haven’t seen since 11/12. When the opponent takes liberties on a Ranger. The other 4 skaters are in that guys face if not looking for a fight. I like to see this team come together like that. 18 players a team makes. This could be the start of a turnaround for the Rangers. That is what is going to make this team string some wins together and get back into the top 3 in the Met. It’s certainly there for the taking as this division is pretty bad. The Pens are banged up to so they might fall from grace.

        • Seahorse says:

          I’m satirizing how when the rangers win and play well its this team is good but when they lose it’s Burn it down by Avenged Sevenfold. A Clowe type guy would be great but everyone else wants one too and there are 29 other GM’s in the league that aren’t gonna take our garbage for their assets.

          I think there is an ambiguity in management right now. they half heartedly went all in last year with Clowe but if they want to win they are gonna have to give up draft picks and prospects to get someone like Vanek from the islanders and a d-man.

          It all depends on what they want to do and all we can do is watch

          • Centerman21 says:

            The Islanders aren’t trading Vanek and certainly not to the Rangers. If anything the Rangers Management would be smart to go grab Moulson from Buffalo. He’s a young guy with a bargain cap hit of $3+ million and plays in the tough areas of the ice but also possesses some offensive skill. Kreider has the size and skating ability to play in the oppositions crease but still has to learn the trade. Moulson has lived there for 3 or 4 years now and scores 20+ goals a season from right in front. The only problem with him is that he’s another Lefty the Rangers have an abundance of. If they can find a top 9 RW on the cheap somewhere it’d go a long way on the PP and at even strength. I like the guy Stempniak from the Flames. He’s an energy guy and a veteran that never gives up on a play. Having him and Moulson could complete the top 9 without breaking the bank. I also like Zack Smith from Ottawa. The Sens are having a disapointing season after making the 2nd round of the p,ayoffs last year. They might want a defenseman. The Sabres want to rebuild so draft picks and/or prospects would get him in NY. Stempniak is from NY and could be had for a pair of skates.

  4. BobM says:

    Gee, I certainly hope that the non-whistle call on the Toronto goal was not caused by the fact that the HBO 24/7 cameras were rolling at this game and that controversy creates interest = ratings.

    • Hatrick Swatze says:

      Were the cameras going? Awesome news… capture the Rangers domination for all to see. Plus it makes the episodes slightly more interesting for us Rangers faithful.

    • paulronty says:

      Documented evidence that the NHL referees suck! Beating Toronto is the sweetest. As for J.T. he’ll be fine, he might run around once in a while but he’s got grit & he competes.

      • Centerman21 says:

        All Miller has to do is get better without the puck. It was Kreiders problem last season and the year before in the playoffs. It’s a correctable problem. Just takes practices. He could be a 25 goal scorer some day and a solid faceoff man. Playing in all situations! I don’t know if he’s going to stay up for the rest of the season but I’m sure he will be here for the playoffs and get his fair share of NHL ice time this season. If the Rangers make a trade and need room on the roster, he’s the easiest to send to Hartford. No remaining cap hit.

  5. bloomer says:

    A very much needed win as the Rangers go into the Christmas break at .500. The soild goaltending of Bernier and Talbot is further proof that you don’t need to pay a Kings ransom for good netminding.

    • Centerman21 says:

      I like Talbot and hope he can continue his masterful goaltending but he hasn’t played 60+ games yet and also hasn’t had to bounce back from a bad game or 2. Bernier is also a good goaltender but if both of them play well for an extended period of time. Do you think they’re gonna ask for another Entry Level Contract? Or do you think maybe they might want a 5 year $35 million contract. I’d say the latter if I had to guess and Hanks contract was just as much a PR move as it was keeping a goaltender that has held your team competitive for the last 7-8 seasons. The Rangers were always in the playoff hunt towards the end of every regular season. Also can you imagine Hank in Philly? Or Carolina? Or anywhere else than NY! That couldn’t happen and Hank new it and the Rangers new it. The fans would have had torches and pitchforks at Sathers door in Boca Vista or wherever it is he lives in California. Had to be done.
      Backup goaltending is just as important as starting or close anyway. Talbot has been more than what we could ask for.

    • paulronty says:

      It’s also further proof that the goalies are getting bigger & bigger–that’s why the nets need to get bigger too. And I’m not taking anything away from those two guys but third string goalies look good in there too because the nets are too small now and it is very hard to score in close now.

  6. The Suit says:

    RE Toronto’s goal.

    You play till you hear a whistle. Always.

    • Erixon20 says:

      Exactly. Although a bad non-whistle, a couple of Rangers were spectators while Kadri was jabbing away at Talbot.

    • Centerman21 says:

      In that situation Suit yes! They needed to be a little more accertive in front but these guys do that 25-40 times a game. Waiting for a whistle! The puck was out of site and that should have been waived off or the whistle should’ve been blown. The ref couldn’t see the puck but let it play on. The puck was under Talbot. Bad officiating as usual this season. I do agree tho when there’s less than 2 mins left and you have a 1 goal lead the other team is not gonna stop until the whistle blows and maybe even after. So the Rangers defense has to clear some room. Bad none play by NYR. We gave Toronto a point. Here ya go!

  7. Ray V says:

    Agreed. You play till you hear the whistle. Yes it hurt when I saw the goal so late in the game. At the same time it would have been elation had it been the Rangers to banged away at a puck because of no whistle.

    • paulronty says:

      Wouldn’t have happened & TO(Who are these drones) wouldn’t have allowed it.

  8. Ray V says:

    How about the Garden showing the love for Zuccs during the game??? LOVE IT !!!!!! well deserved as he has been the best Rangers for a while now.

  9. Chris F says:

    The OT benching was probably a response to Kreider flipping the puck over the glass with less than 3 minutes to go in a 1 goal game. The ensuing PP gave Toronto some momentum, put the Rangers on their heels and, while it did not directly produce a goal, led to Toronto pressuring the puck much more in the dying minutes of the game and ultimately tieing it all up and forcing OT.

    Kreider is quickly becoming a dominant NHLer and we all love his work ethic. But he is by no means untouchable. He needs acvountability at such a young age to help further develop his game. It’s absolutely defensible for the coaching staff to have him sit and reflect on how his actions indirectly sparked Toronto’s game tieing goal.

    Next time he’s in a high pressure situation in the defensive zone, he’ll put a little more specificity on his clearing attempt.

  10. Chris F says:

    I think Seahorse was being facetious.

    • Seahorse says:

      I think ill change my commenting name to facetious Seahorse selling seashells by the seashore to clear up any confusion

  11. Centerman21 says:

    I have a #NotSoFancyStat for all you stat guys. Last season in 48 games, Stepan had 108 SOG. He also had a career year with 18 goals. So far this season in 38 games, he already has 96 SOG but only 7 goals. I think he is going to have a monster 2nd 1/2 of the season. So look for him to tear it up in hopes of making the US Olympic team. If this team is going anywhere they need him to play at the level he was at last season. He seems to be finding his game the last week or so. Like Suit said earlier in the season, the S% will even out to the mean.

    • Joel says:

      Did anyone notice that during the play that led up to Miller’s goal, our two tv announcers were trying to solve some moronic trivia question about who was still around from the 1998 draft? These two guys are so distracted and miss so much during games that it’s a damn shame. Just for something different, I watched the Minnesota feed Sunday nite. Nothing fancy but they were on the puck and engaged the whole game. Pretty refreshing stuff. Unfortunately, the Leafs feed was not available on Center Ice last nite.