The Rangers a game that should be considered par for the course for the season: They dominated puck possession, but one turnover and a few good plays by Columbus put them in a two-goal hole. Luckily the Ranger team that showed up was the Ranger team that knows how to erase deficits. The Rangers, specifically Brian Boyle on that celebration, showed some passion and some life in climbing back to grab a point. Yea, they lost in a shootout, but the shootout is a bad gimmick anyway. If this game ended in a tie, everyone would be happy.
This was actually a very well played game by the Rangers, which makes five of seven (Florida, Pittsburgh) where they’ve played very well. The only reason why they lost was because Sergei Bobrovsky made 40 saves and played exceptionally well. Henrik Lundqvist made some huge saves in the third and in overtime to keep the Rangers in it, and New York got some timely goals from Rick Nash. Their two big stars showed up. Finally.
On to the goals:
CBJ 1, Rangers 0
No picture for this one because the Rangers didn’t do anything wrong. James Wisniewski simply threw the puck at the net with traffic in front. Nathan Horton and Brandon Dubinsky deflected it, and the puck beat Hank. That’s what happens when you throw the puck at the net with traffic in front. Remember this for later.
Rangers 1, CBJ 1
Another goal that doesn’t really require any real breakdown. With the Rangers on the powerplay Nash collected the puck at the half boards with room, walked in with Chris Kreider screening Bob, and beat him with a good shot. Bob was leaning right, Nash shot left. That’s what shooters do.
CBJ 2, Rangers 1
Just a bad giveaway in the offensive zone by Anton Stralman led to the Cam Atkinson breakaway. Really bad giveaway there.
CBJ 3, Rangers 1
For some reason everyone is blaming Hank for this goal. This was another goal where the Rangers didn’t really do anything wrong. After their powerplay expired, the Rangers kept the zone for a bit, but the Jackets were able to move the puck to Dubinsky on the near boards. Dubi hit Wisniewski –who simply burned both Stralman and Derick Brassard, not for lack of effort on the backcheck– with a great pass, and beat Hank with a better shot. You can argue that Hank used to make these saves (and the one on Atkinson), but you can’t expect your goalie to bail you out 24/7…even if he’s done so for the past 7 years.
Rangers 2, CBJ 3
The Rangers got very lucky on this one, as John Moore’s shot hit Dom Moore –breaking his stick– and ricocheted right to Brian Boyle for the easy goal. Columbus did allow Boyle to sneak in behind four CBJ players though.
Rangers 3, CBJ 3
Remember that first CBJ goal? This powerplay goal was almost a carbon copy. Nash threw the puck at the net with Stepan and Ryan Callahan in front. Bob never saw it.
The Rangers had another game where they dominated puck possession, and puck luck worked out for them to get the game tied. In the end they had a 53.6% Corsi advantage, and had a few long stretches in the second and third periods where they just dominated play. Of course the Jackets had most of overtime work in their favor, noted by that sharp red uptick at the end. There was also a very long period after New York’s third goal where the Rangers didn’t even manage a shot attempt. Not perfect by any stretch, but generally you’re happy with this kind of Fenwick graph.
One quick note about Kreider: I don’t believe the hit on Fedor Tyutin was malicious. It really looked like he stopped, and he definitely did not hit him in the numbers. He finished his check with his elbow, which is never really a good thing, but it looked like more of a push than a true elbow. I don’t think he will be suspended for the hit. Then again, I didn’t think Carl Hagelin would be suspended for his hit on Daniel Alfredsson in 2012.
So the Rangers lost in a shootout. Oh well, I hate the shootout anyway. The two stars showed up and were huge factors in getting a point in the game. The team has played five strong games in seven, going 4-2-1 in the process. They are 6-3-2 in their last 11, getting 14 of 21 points (67%) of the points in the process. That’s a solid run for this team, a run they desperately need. Chicago and Dallas are up next, and they will present a big challenge for this team that appears to finally be finding some sort of stride.