Flat Rangers fall to Penguins and back to .500

Sigh. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Sigh. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

I guess we could have seen this coming after the game in Ft. Lauderdale on New Year’s Eve. The Rangers were sloppy in that game, but managed a win because the Florida Panthers are awful. They played the same way last night in Pittsburgh, and got slaughtered for their (lack of) effort. The Rangers turned the puck over more often than I can remember, and several of those turnovers resulted in goals against.

Turnovers weren’t the only issue. Too many Rangers were coasting, not doing dirty work, not cutting to the net, and blowing coverage in the defensive zone. In short, this was an awful game for the Rangers. I don’t know what else to say here.

On to the goals:

Pens 1, Rangers 0

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With the Penguins on the powerplay, Derek Dorsett blocked a shot that clearly hurt him. Unfortunately he couldn’t get off the ice, giving the Pens a defacto 5-on-3.5. Eventually the puck worked itself to Matt Niskanen at the point, with Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz in front and the Rangers in a diamond formation (Anton Stralman lone man in front). Kunitz gave a little cross check to Stralman, knocking him down –and giving Kunitz some room– just as Niskanen took his shot. The shot deflected off Derek Stepan’s stick, off Crosby’s skate, and over to the open Kunitz for the tap-in goal. A lot of lucky bounces there.

Pens 2, Rangers 0

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Derick Brassard couldn’t handle the puck in the neutral zone, resulting in a turnover. After the puck wound up behind the Rangers net, both Stralman and Marc Staal went behind the net. Jussi Jokinen cut to the front, where neither Rick Nash nor Benoit Pouliot covered him. Brian Gibbons made a nice backhand pass to Jokinen who picked a corner on Hank. All five on-ice Rangers messed up here.

Pens 3, Rangers 0

Carl Hagelin mishandled the puck in the neutral zone, creating another turnover for the Penguins to capitalize on. This time around, Gibbons was able to feather a pass through the defense to Jokinen. Jokinen didn’t handle it cleanly, but managed a backhand shot attempt that rolled up Ryan McDonagh’s stick, off his shoulder, and into the back of the net. Another lucky bounce goal for the Penguins, but good teams create their own luck. No picture on this one, nothing came out clearly. Sorry.

Pens 4, Rangers 0

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As the Rangers powerplay expired, Staal turned the puck over in the defensive zone to a pressuring Chris Kunitz. Both Nash and Stralman were right on top of the play, but neither decided to help or provide puck support. The result was Kunitz gaining control of the puck after a 1-on-3 situation, and beating all three guys with a pass to Crosby for the semi-breakaway. Crosby roofed the puck with a ridiculous backhand over Hank’s glove.

Rangers 1, Penguins 4

Brassard and Pouliot had some strong board work to jar the puck loose from former Ranger Taylor Pyatt behind the Penguins net. Brassard was able to poke the puck to Pouliot, who got the puck off the boards to Mats Zuccarello at the top of the circle. Zucc ripped a beauty of a shot past Marc-Andre Fleury for the goal. No picture for this one either, sorry but the camera angles were off and were focusing too much on one player and not the play itself.

Rangers 2, Penguins 4

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If one Ranger showed up in this game, it was Zuccarello. He simply took control of the play, and moved the puck from the half boards to the point. As Zucc was working with the puck up high, McDonagh slid down low behind the defense, and put himself in position in front of the net. Zuccarello saw this happening, and hit McDonagh with a perfect pass for the easy deflection goal.

Penguins 5, Rangers 3

Just as you think the Rangers are going to make this a game, Crosby ensure that it won’t be. With the puck down low in the Rangers zone after Staal failed to completely clear the zone, Crosby simply overpowered the Rangers in front of the net to generate a shot on goal, and then poke the loose puck to Kunitz on the back door for the easy goal. This was the fifth goal of five than Henrik stood no chance.

Fenwick Chart:

Courtesy of ExtraSkater

Courtesy of ExtraSkater

You may think that the Rangers controlled play here, but score effects play a big role in this Fenwick chart. Defensive zone breakdowns and turnovers led to a 3-0 lead for the Penguins, who simply backed off a bit, allowing the Rangers to generate more shot attempts and take over the Fenwick lead. When the Rangers got within two the Pens turned it on a bit, evidenced by the sharp uptick in the blue line. Suffice it to say: The Penguins controlled this entire game.

The Rangers doomed themselves again with bad defensive zone coverage, turnovers, and general lackadaisical play. That said, this team is still 4-2 in their last six and still have a good chance of making the playoffs. Of course, in order to make the playoffs they need to start doing the right things on a consistent basis. That seems to be too much to ask lately. This was also just the 13th game with Staal, Nash, and Callahan all in the lineup.

29 Responses to “Flat Rangers fall to Penguins and back to .500”

  1. Walt says:

    I didn’t want to post last night because I was sooooo pissed off at the no show, that I wanted to cool off first.

    After hearing the interviews, I’m sick and tired of “We have to learn from this” remark that we hear all the time. Are these guys brain dead, how many times does a team have to have the snot beaten out of them to learn???

    I’m a Ranger fan first, and foremost, but again we got beat by an AHL team from Wilkes-Barre. Imagine how the Pens will play when all their injured players come back? One hell of a Team Shero put together there. This to all the guys who will defend our record by saying the Pens tanked to get Crosby, Malkin, Flury, etc, because they were so poor for so many years. The Pens have been winning for the last 7-8 years, and draft after us, yet look at how deep their system is. Isn’t someone looking at Sather’s results?? Oh well you can’t kick a dead horse, and expect results.

    Hank had a poor game, but in his defense, he was hung out to dry last night. On the 4th goal I believe, Girardi showed how slow he is, and kind of reminded me of Pyatt there for a second. Are they really thinking of resigning him for any extended period of time?? Mistake my friends!!

    Let’s not fool ourselves, we won’t make the play -offs this season, so get rid of the dead wood, bring up the kids, and pray for a lottery pick, because this is a sham!

  2. Eric Goldberg says:

    I am huge Ranger fan who spent way too much money to see them play the Isles at Yankee stadium.

    The Rangers looked bad last night. It seems to be recurring theme take a step forward and two back.

    I am sick about hearing about the fenwick and other advance stats. It seems when the Rangers have the majority of the puck possession they lose. So in my eyes these stats are garbage.

    Walt I totally agree with making some deals. It is time to make over the team. This team is pretty much the same as last year but playing a dramatically different style. Give AV the type of players that will make his system work. AV doesn’t get a complete pass in my eyes because a lack of effort is squarely on the coach.

    I just think this team isn’t that good. We are 40 plus games into the season and I think we are boarder line playoff team. Nash has not been the same player since the concussion. Stephan is having a an off year (smart move missing camp).
    Kreider is playing well (torts really screwed the pooch with him). Zucc has been very solid and his compete level is unmatched on this team. If the team competed every night like Zucc, this team would have it least 5 more wins. Cally I give an incomplete too. He gets injured way too much. So should rangers sign him long term? Richards will be bought out in the summer. The bottom six is ok. I am sick and tired of everyone killing Boyle. All the guy does is win big face offs and plays very well in the defense zone.

    Slats work your magic and get the right players that fit AV system.

    • Walt says:

      My son and I were going to go to both of the out door games, but after watching this team, with the lack of desire, pride, or whatever you want to call it, we decided that we are not going to give Dolan another penny until he puts out a real team that New York deserves, not a second rate team!!

    • Rangers Rock says:

      The coach got what he deserves, lack of passion Just the way he coaches! Why trade anyone for more lack of passion.

  3. Mikeyyy says:

    Av is the problem. Another coach trying to implement his system instead of what the team is strong at.

    He clearly hasn’t gotten them to play with more urgency.

    Gotta get rid of him. Or rebuild the roster. Now. This isn’t a playoff team, so why are we waiting?

    • Walt says:

      It also falls on the shoulders of the players. If they had any pride in the jersey they are wearing, they would play with a lot more emotion than they are showing. At this time, the coach, front office, players are all in a cluster f**k!!

      • Rangers Rock says:

        If the racing car doesn’t work replace the parts, but I suspect its the driver(coach).

        • Bob says:

          Why would anyone respond to this coach? He doesn’t reward three zone hockey players. Ryan Callahan our captain is one of the only guys who even attempts to forecheck, block shots, or throw hits. He did all of that last night and all he got was 14 mins? Meanwhile Nash, who hasn’t pissed a drop this season is getting 1st line minutes night in and night out. Where’s the accountability?

          • Walt says:

            To answer your question, it’s their job to get themselves ready to play.

            You don’t need all the ra-ra sh*t to get ready to play, they are professionals! Again, it’s pride in their team, and jersey that’s on their backs, and that is reason enough!!!!!

  4. paulronty says:

    Motivation is definitely the coach’s job and this team is unprepared from the get-go. Reminds me of Colin Campbell days, down & out in the first period. All this stuff about AV’s system is BS because when there is no fire then the system will be irrelevant.

  5. Leatherneckinlv says:

    This team is soft and is playing with no heart. They got pushed around last night and only Callahan did something about it once….I am not a fan of Nash. He has not shown me he is worth the trade. Skill is not enough, attitude is everything.

  6. andres says:

    I dont understand how the team can come out so flat when its their first game of 2014 and their captain is returning from injury!! I dont know what this teams needs, they’ve had plenty of games to use as wake up calls. At this point they will be fighting for a playoff spot that I don’t want them to have. Some teams have enough skill to make a run, others are motivated, work hard and have energy – this Rangers team has neither.

  7. BobM says:

    NASH $7.8M 25 GAMES 7 GOALS 9 ASST 16 PT -4
    RICHARDS $6.6M 42 GAMES 9 GOALS 18 ASST 27 PT -9
    CALLY $4.2M 25 GAMES 7 GOALS 6 ASST 13 PT -6
    BRASS $3.2M 41 GAMES 6 GOALS 16 ASST 22 PT -10
    STEP $3.0M 41 GAMES 7 GOALS 18 ASST 25 PT -4

    $25M on 5 players = 36 GOALS 67 ASST 42 games -33

    I will never forget when he was GM of the Oilers and he said “If I had the NYR checkbook, I’d win the cup every year.”

    On the other hand:

    ZUCC $1.1M 41 GAMES 10 GOALS 20 ASST 30 PT -2
    KREIDER $800K 35 GAMES 10 GOALS 12 ASST 22 PT +9
    MAC $4.7M 42 GAMES

    • Walt says:

      Bob

      I recall that statement myself, and have questioned Slat’s performance, “Where’s the beef”? Someone refered to Sather as stupid, and comfortable, maybe he was right on both counts!!!!

  8. BobM says:

    NASH $7.8M 25 GAMES 7 GOALS 9 ASST 16 PT -4
    RICHARDS $6.6M 42 GAMES 9 GOALS 18 ASST 27 PT -9
    CALLY $4.2M 25 GAMES 7 GOALS 6 ASST 13 PT -6
    BRASS $3.2M 41 GAMES 6 GOALS 16 ASST 22 PT -10
    STEP $3.0M 41 GAMES 7 GOALS 18 ASST 25 PT -4

    $25M on 5 players = 36 GOALS 67 ASST 42 games -33

    I will never forget when he was GM of the Oilers and he said “If I had the NYR checkbook, I’d win the cup every year.”

    On the other hand:

    ZUCC $1.1M 41 GAMES 10 GOALS 20 ASST 30 PT -2
    KREIDER $800K 35 GAMES 10 GOALS 12 ASST 22 PT +9
    MAC $4.7M 42 GAMES 7 GOALS 17 ASST 24 PT -4

    • "The Original" Rob says:

      I can def feel you’re pain Bob but at the time there was no salary cap when he said that. The dynamics of how money is spent on a team is very different now.

  9. JerseyRanger says:

    I think the team has 7-10 games to show improvement
    If there is none, the team is selling, and to me the only safe skaters are: McD, MZA, Kreider, Hags, Step, Brass.
    Sell low if you have to, but blow up this team. Makes no sense to wait until free agency when some of these guys arent coming back.
    Get something back for them now.

  10. paulronty says:

    Blowing up this team would be exactly the wrong thing to do because this team is a lot better than Ranger fans give it credit for. The fish rots from the head down and this has proven to be a very lacklustre group of coaches. Sather has a history of picking the wrong coaches(except for Torts at the time) and he’s done it again. It’s now notable how fast AV wants to get out of those press scrums now. Five years of AV? Never happen. If they miss the playoffs then what. Blow up the team? Too bad if that happens.

  11. paulronty says:

    Fire Ulf Samuelsson & bring up Jeff Beukeboom. Now that would really help.

  12. The Suit says:

    This team is so undisciplined. Aside from the turnovers, which happen when you’re completely over matched, the effort in three zones is not there. Not even close.

    Richie’s backing checking was laughable last night. The ‘lucky goal’ against the Rangers (number 3) was a 3 on 2. He literally just watched the play go by him in the neutral zone. Inexcusable for a guy wearing an A. Can’t wait for him to be out of here.

    • Walt says:

      Agree, maybe brain dead Dolan should take lessons from Ed Snyder, fire coaches, and have the new coach, and GM report directly to him.

      Did you see the turn around of that team after Snyder got involved? No Dolan doesn’t give a damn except to get gate receipts. Maybe the fan base should stop going to a few games to get the message across that we are tired of this no heart, no pride team!!

    • Tim B says:

      Honestly Slats should hire you to coach this team. You replace Ulfy. He doesnt know how to coach. The Rangers didnt need a more player friendly coach like AV. I would have loved to see Torts back. Maybe a different staff under him. Arniel has done a good job. Team has no confidence. I dont hink we’ll make the playoffs. We need to go in a different direction with this team. We need a really good forechecking 4th line. We need a really good 2 way line as third line that can forecheck well. At this point i only see a few players who will be on this team next year.

      Cally, Mcdonagh, Moore, Miller, Kristo, Fast, Zucc, Stepan, Kreider and Hagelin. Richards will be bought out. Nash isnt the same Rick Nash. He may even be traded. Brassard isnt the same player as last year. MDZ sucks. Girardi is getting older by the year and every game shows it. Staal is an accident waiting to happen. Stralman is excellent but if McIlrath & Connor Allen make the team than Stralman would get top minutes on first pairing which many would not like. So he could go too even though he has been nothing but great. Money will be spent on a Top 2 RD. a 2nd line center? Bottom 6 guys and maybe a Top 4 LD. Hell get a sniper or 2 in free agency.

  13. Pete says:

    Again, we have the same problem thats been driving us fans crazy for what seems like ages, lack of effort. It happened under Renney, Torts, and now under AV. Could it be the lack of locker-room presence of veteran leadership? Love Cally and all but is he captain by default because he’s the best of the bunch or is he really captain material? and if he is surely he cant be the only voice in that room…

    Also, we need to curb our expectations a bit. The team is 1. too small 2. too soft and ultimately 3. lacks 1st line talent to be truly competitive. A bunch of 2nd and 3rd liners (with the exception of Nash, but who the knows wtf is up with him) arent winning squat.

    SO basically, FU Sather because this is most definitely on you, with an even bigger FU to our dear owner Jim.

    • "The Original" Rob says:

      I don’t think that that it was “lack of effort” that’s been driving us crazy the past 5-6 seasons, but the lack of goal scoring. So what do we do? Either trade away or fail to re-sign some of the players that brought that effort every game. (Dubinsky, Prust, Feds etc)for the high octane goal scoring that we ALL wanted, like trying to plug in spots on friggin baseball team, and this is what we get. A team that’s balance is way off to what we were accustomed to the past 5-6 seasons.

    • "The Original" Rob says:

      To say that the team lacked effort under Torts is nuts. Especially since we always seamed to be out of gas deep into the playoffs.

      • Pete says:

        Thats really not true, I remember many nights when, esp last season, when there was a clear lack of effort… Maybe you dont remember…

  14. Bloomer says:

    I think AV should sit MDZ and Miller again because obviously they are the reasons why the Rangers suck this year.

  15. joe719 says:

    All you needed to see about this team was when Brassard got out-muscled in front of the net and Crosby joined in in roughing him up. No push back at all from the group on the ice. Only a token pushing match from Cally. Say what you want about the Isles, but even they would have gone after Crosby. Same thing in the 3rd with McD and Crosby. How can a GM construct a team with so many, non-confrontational types, and expect to compete for a Cup? Yeah they all seem to be nice guys; I mean they’re always showing films of them at home with their families. But come on, this is Big Boy Sports. Grow a pair, and get after it.
    Last night was just an embarrassment. They looked afraid!!

    • Walt says:

      A very wise man named Leo Derosha (spelling??) who managed the NY Baseball Giants way back when I was a kid said it best;

      “Nice guys finish last” !!

      Yes they looked scared because they were. That pus*y Cindy takes liberties because he knows that Engglland, and the rest of his enforcers will defend him at all coast. Kind of reminds you of what Bobby Clarke did with the broad street bullies!