Powerplay perfection propels Rangers to victory

FInally. (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

Finally. (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Rangers went 3-for-3 with the man advantage last night to bury the Tampa Bay Lightning by a score of 4-3. The Rangers –without two of their top four defensemen, dressing a rookie in his first game, and three very inconsistent bottom-pairing players– managed to erase an early 2-1 deficit with three straight goals against a good Lightning club. Connor Allen played 16 minutes while working his way to the top-four, and afterwards AV said Allen was “one of the better defensemen on the ice.”

Rick Nash played a great game, finally finding the back of the net. Henrik Lundqvist made 37 saves and looked like he could be regaining his old form. Mats Zuccarello had a goal and two assists. Chris Kreider continued his Calder push with another goal. All told, this was a solid team win that New York can build on as they head to Miami to face the Panthers on New Year’s Eve.

On to the goals:

Note: The first four goals were done by Suit, the last three by myself. We also were unable to get pictures for the goals. Apologies for that.

Rangers 1, Lightning 0

Derek Stepan picked off Tampa’s outlet pass on their blueline, trapping the Lightning up the ice. Stepan fed Nash on the left wing for the easy tip-in goal at the far post.

Lightning 1, Rangers 1

Four Ranger penalty killers collapsed around Teddy Purcell in the slot and left Tyler Johnson all alone on the weakside. Purcell managed to get the pass through to Johnson who one-timed an easy goal past Hank.

Lightning 2, Rangers 1

This goal begins with Stepan Dom Moore losing the d-zone draw cleanly. Radko Gudas put a hard shot on net from the point, which Hank stopped with his right pad. Ondrej Palat beat Michael Del Zotto to the rebound and put it past Hank. I’m putting equal blame on Hank here. He had ample time to reset himself after the initial shot but he stayed in the butterfly after the first shot.

Rangers 2, Lightning 2

Luck finally worked out for the Rangers, as Zuccarello’s attempted pass from behind the net — to Benoit Pouliot in the slot– ricocheted off Gudas’ skate and in for the power play goal.

Rangers 3, Lightning 2

Zuccarello gained the zone on the powerplay, drawing all four Lightning penalty killers to him. Chris Kreider skated down the far side wing, and collected the pass from Zucc for the partial breakaway. Kreider used his speed to ensure distance between himself and the defense, and easily maneuvered around Anders Lindback for the goal.

Rangers 4, Lightning 2

The Rangers caught the Lightning running around in their own zone while on the powerplay, and when that happens people miss coverages. Zuccarello was able to pick up the loose puck in the offensive zone, and skate a wide arc to the far side wing before hitting Derick Brassard with a cross-ice pass. The pass drew Matt Carle away from Pouliot in the slot, and Brassard was able to one-touch the puck to him in the slot for the easy tip-in. Tic-tac-toe.

Lightning 3, Rangers 4

Although this was a nice deflection by Valtteri Filpulla for the goal, he was left wide open in the slot. J.T. Miller was in No Man’s Land at the near face off dot following the puck instead of the play. This allowed Filpulla to sneak to the high slot, where Purcell hit him with a pass for the deflection. In that play, Miller has to realize that his job is not the puck. You can make an argument that Carl Hagelin –who was closer to Filpulla– should have made the play, but Hagelin’s job is to keep an eye on the weak side point. Regardless of what Hagelin does, Filpulla is still Miller’s man.

Fenwick Chart:

Courtesy of ExtraSkater

Courtesy of ExtraSkater

The Rangers and Lightning were even in shot attempts until the Rangers jumped to a two-goal lead. At that point, the Rangers didn’t pressure as much, allowing Tampa Bay to generate the majority of the shot attempts in the second half of the game. At the end of the first, shot attempts were 16-14 Tampa. When New York took a two-goal lead they had a 22-21 advantage. The game finished with Tampa Bay holding a 60% Fenwick advantage as the Rangers protected their lead. Since this chart measures all shot attempts, and not just 5v5 shot attempts, it is a bit misleading since the Rangers had three powerplay goals in the first half of the game.

The Rangers found a way to win with a depleted blue line, which is something that should not be ignored. The star players appear to be finding their game, and the secondary scoring is still rolling without missing a beat. If this team can continue to get primary and secondary scoring, and keep their blue line healthy, they are poised for a run late this season. Those are a few big IFs though. For now, let’s call it another baby step in the right direction. The next step is beating a bad Panthers team on New Year’s Eve.

13 Responses to “Powerplay perfection propels Rangers to victory”

  1. Hatrick Swayze says:

    Agree on that last (3rd) TB goal, Filpulla was Miller’s guy, but what do you think about Moore chasing the guy with the puck up to the far blue line?

    Moore also looked out of position on Tampa’s 1st PP goal (sliding down below the goal line). He has looked out of place, often times coinciding with a goal against.

    Right now, I’m not very pleased with his in zone coverage. Needs work.

    • Dave says:

      Moore needs a ton of work. He’s having trouble this year, that’s for sure.

      • The Suit says:

        Goal 3 for Tampa, Hagelin gets blame as well. He should have recognized there was two open guys behind him in the slot, leaving one D to cover three guys in the paint. Miller is in no man’s land, and J. Moore chased too high as noted.

        • @Centerman21 says:

          Moore can’t chase the puck so far from the scoring area like that and leave 1 D alone in the crease. Miller is really bad without the puck. He needs a lot of work on his D zone coverage. I call him the Banana because with the opposition attacking he’s the peal in the coverage.

  2. Seahorse says:

    Nash had that spark last night after the first goal he looked confident. He took guys on instead of just backing in. And I like Conner allen I feel like he has “it” whatever “it” is

  3. Melissa says:

    Was curious where you would place the blame on Tampa’s second goal. In regards to equal blame – is that between Hank and DZ? (Btw, it was Dominic Moore losing the face-off cleanly on that play. Stepan wasn’t on the ice.)

    • Dave says:

      Thanks, this just shows that even suits make mistakes.

      MDZ looked a little slow to get to Palat, but Hank looked like he had time to reset himself. Plus his rebound control that goal was pretty poor. Equal blame I guess.

  4. Kenneth at clinchers of '89Flames '94Rangers '96Avs says:

    Hanka Hanka only allowed one soft goal last night. He appeared more relaxed as the game progressed.

  5. Bloomer says:

    The Ranger power play against Tampa bay was a treat to watch. The Zukerman is truly a magician with the puck and Brassard is no slouch either. Is there any stats on the performance of the Rangers PP after the Gaboriuk trade and the reacquisition of MZA. It seems to me that was when there was marked improvement.

    • Joel says:

      This is AT LEAST the third game this season where D Moore had been cleanly fleeced on a defensive zone face off where the puck was in our net within 5 seconds. It’s staggering that he is put in this situation as often as he is. I’m not sure what he brings to the team. There has to be a better option somewhere. The outcome of the game was a nice treat though.

      • Walt says:

        I think that next season you’ll see Oscar Lindberg in that center position, Moore is just a stop gap for the time being!!!

      • @Centerman21 says:

        I have to agree with you. I thought we’d get more from him as well. He took a year off and it might take him a year to recover. In saying that. He could figure it out come playoff time. Aside from Boyle, the Rangers don’t have a bottom line. Maybe if they played 3-4 mins for a few games it may remind those guys they need to chip into the offense. Let’s see this kid Beach