Game 40: Continue doing the right things in Tampa

December 29, 2013, by
Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images

Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images

The Rangers played a very good game against Washington on Friday night, but came out on the losing end after Philipp Grubauer made 38 saves. If the Rangers continue to play like they did on Friday night, they shouldn’t have a problem beating a lot of teams in the Eastern Conference. They face a tough matchup in Tampa Bay tonight, and the Rangers dodged a bullet with Anders Lindback starting tonight instead of the Team USA bound Ben Bishop. That said, beating backups hasn’t been a club forte this season.

Jon Cooper has the Lightning playing a pretty similar system as the Rangers. They run an aggressive 1-2-2 forecheck with a lot of pinching from their defensemen. Once they get a two goal lead, they tend to sit back in the neutral zone with a more passive 1-2-2. In the defensive zone, they mix man-on-man and zone coverage. On special teams, they still run a 1-3-1 power play and a diamond/box hybrid penalty kill.

Rangers Lineup:

Chris Kreider-Derek Stepan-Rick Nash
Brad Richards-Derick Brassard-Mats Zuccarello
Carl Hagelin-J.T. Miller-Benoit Pouliot
Brian Boyle-Dom Moore-Derek Dorsett

Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi
John Moore-Michael Del Zotto
Connor Allen-Justin Falk

Henrik Lundqvist gets the start.

Scratches: Ryan Callahan (knee), Marc Staal (concussion), Anton Stralman (wrist), Taylor Pyatt (healthy)

Game time is 7pm tonight on MSG. Don’t forget to check out our Rangers Tickets link for deals to attend games.

Categories : Game Thread


  1. Bloomer says:

    Entertaining first period, but the Rangers continue to leave players all alone in the wheelhouse. I can’t point the finger at Henk on the first 2 as it was like a shooting galley in the Rangers zone. IMO they still look confused on their defensive zone assignments and lose to many puck battles in their own zone.

    • @Centerman21 says:

      That to me is the skaters and more importantly the defenseman thinking about their job changing when the puck comes off the boards and the puck gets worked towards the slot. They have to go from a man to man coverage to a low zone collapse and back to man again if they don’t recover the puck. Still don’t get the assignments 100%. Too bad McIlrath is hurt. I liked having him in the lineup. This kid Allen played well when Strahlman returns, it could send DZ to the box for a while.

  2. Walt says:

    Rangers win, Allen looks OK, not great, PP was working, Hank looked better!!

    Interesting thought:

    Pouliot 7 goals
    Zucc 9 goals
    Kreider 10 goals
    Nash the scoring machine 7 goals???????

    Just thinking out loud!!

    • Spozo says:

      Also thinking out loud. “How many less games has Nash played than those guys?”

      • Walt says:

        Hay we gave away the shop for him, you expect more than he is giving!!

        At time he looks scared with the puck, is he afraid to get hit??? I don’t know, but it appears that way.

        • Spozo says:

          I agree he needs to pick his game up as does the whole team. He, along with the rest of the team has been better the last couple of games so let’s hope this trend continues.

          • @Centerman21 says:

            He sure has been better. He’s been seen in deep on the forecheck turning the puck over and those are the things that the championship calibre stars do to win games. Nash is the NYR star player and has to do more than skate the puck in the zone then turn around. What’s with that anyway. He hasn’t done it the last 2 games much but says to me fear of hit. He has to drive to the net.

    • @Centerman21 says:

      Hank looked like he has for 7 years now. He wasn’t left with a skater all alone in the crease with the puck much. The man defense AV plays is much tougher on goalies. Forwards get off much cleaner shots at the net.

    • @Centerman21 says:

      Just screaming as load as I can so you can here me while you’re thinking.
      Nash will be fine. He may be a little tentative right now but that will pass as he takes more and more contact. You can see he is stopping at the RW face off circle and turning for a pass when the old Nash would have gone in for a shot like the one he scored on either Tampa or Toronto last year. He beat Hedman wide I think and went all the way around the goalie and scored. That’s what’s missing from his game right now. He’ll be fine eventually.

      • Walt says:

        Good point, that’s what I’m talking about when I said we need more from him, than what we are getting!! I hope your right, that with more contact maybe the fear of getting hit will go away!!

    • Brendan says:

      it’s a 3 way tie between Nash, Kreider & Hagelin for goals per game at .30. Callahan is .29

  3. joe719 says:

    Eh…. they won. I guess its important to get the points. But still, should every game be this hard? If there is a softer group of defensemen in the League, I haven’t sen them yet. Just brutal in the 3rd trying to clear the puck. John Moore really just gets in the way out there. Still, they won. Baby steps. At least Hank looked better.

    • Bloomer says:

      I know we want dman who can skate and rush the puck. However, the Rangers’ defence can’t continue to puck watch and wave their sticks at the opposition. When the opposition is dancing around in the Rangers end with the puck someone needs to lower the boom on them. AV needs to tell his players that NHL doesn’t stand for the no hit league.

    • @Centerman21 says:

      John Moore gets in the way because he skates so fast he’s on #5 while his partner is still thinking about step 1 or 2.

  4. @Centerman21 says:

    Can we please put some room between the .500 mark. Maybe win 5-6 in a row here. Shouldn’t be impossible given the talent on this lineup. LGR. The Cats are playing well of late.

  5. SalMerc says:

    Seemed to play a more aggressive game in their zone. Guys like St. Louis really make our d-fense look lost. I think Kreider has really come of age. Plays hard every shift. Pouliot plays bigger than he is and Boyle plays smaller. Where would we be without Zucc right now?

    • @Centerman21 says:

      So what about Boyle. He does his job as well and as consistently as anyone on the team. He wins face offs and kills penalties. At even strength he throws hits and takes the body. He’s a shutdown defensive forward. He doesn’t have to play big. He is big. The man does what’s asked of him. If every player on the team did that. We’d be in 1st in the East. Don’t bash Boyle.

      • SalMerc says:

        Boyle needs to be a 2-way player, not just a defensive forward. He takes face-offs, yes, but he rarely stands in front of the opposing goalie. I know you love him, but on a team with 8 defensive forwards, someone needs to put more pucks in the net on the 3rd & 4th line. He just does not put up enough points.