Rangers come back twice, earn big win against Dallas

Photo by Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images

Photo by Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images

The Rangers came into this game with a 6-2-1 record in their last nine, needing a win to keep the momentum going. They showed great poise and great determination, eliminating deficits twice before finally taking the lead with two minutes remaining in the game for the big win. The Rangers could have complained after the first goal when the refs missed a call, but they recognized the breakdowns, didn’t do it again, and fought back. That is what veteran teams with Stanley Cup aspirations do.

Henrik Lundqvist played another strong game, making 24 saves, including 15 in the final 37 minutes to keep the Rangers within a goal, then to keep the game tied, then to preserve the lead. New York delivered 37 (home scoring bias warning) hits. Even with the home scoring bias, we saw visually they were hitting everything that moved. These are the black-and-Blueshirts we remembered. They won’t get back to the team they were in 2012, but they can get to it when they need to. They needed to last night.

On to the goals:

Stars 1, Rangers 0

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Despite what everyone on Twitter thought, this goal was not on Lundqvist. The issues started when Ryan Garbutt got his stick between the legs of Marc Staal on the chase to the puck in the corner, tripping him up (no call). While that was a problem, it wasn’t THE problem. Basic defensive zone coverage calls for one defenseman to chase the puck to the corner and the other to stay in front of the net. Staal, the LD in this situation, should be the one chasing the puck to the left corner. Anton Stralman, the RD, should be the one in front of the net to break up any passes.

The other problem on this goal is that no forwards backchecked. In the picture above, there is not one forward in the view. Perhaps a backchecking forward can tie up Cody Eakin –Derick Brassard got the minus, so I can assume Eakin was his man– before he can get the shot off. If Stralman plays where he’s supposed to play, perhaps he gets a stick on the pass from Garbutt to Eakin. Or perhaps a forward picks up Antoine Roussel so Stralman can commit to Eakin.

None of that happened, and Hank was lucky to get a piece of that shot on what was a 2-on-0 at point-blank range. This goal had a lot of fail all over it.

Rangers 1, Stars 1

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Benoit Pouliot and Brad Richards combined for a pretty play to stay onsides. Pouliot skated past the puck, which was in the offensive zone, to get onsides, and waited for Richards to get back onsides before chipping the puck to an open area and allowing Richards to skate to the puck as Ryan Callahan trailed the play. Tyler Seguin was caught watching the play from the netural zone, Sergei Gonchar didn’t get all of the pass to Cally, and Jamie Benn got outmuscled by Cally for the goal.

Stars 2, Rangers 1

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Eakin made a good defensive play to strip Dom Moore of the puck in the defensive zone and transition the rush to offense. The Rangers got caught with four men deep (Staal the defenseman caught deep), leading to a 2-on-1 for Roussel and Garbutt. Roussel was able to hit Garbutt with the pass and Garbutt just finished.

Rangers 2, Stars 2

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With the Rangers on the powerplay, Richards received the puck from Mats Zuccarello at the point, and then fed the puck back to him at the half boards. Zucc threaded the needle to Brassard, who was in between three Stars defenders, for the one-touch goal. Very pretty, and it appears to be a set play. That’s not the first time we’ve seen that.

Rangers 3, Stars 2

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How about that Rick Nash? Nash, who did not have good position on the puck in front, just outmuscled Aaron Rome (I think) while falling down, chipping the puck over Lehtonen for the game winner.

Fenwick Chart:

Courtesy of ExtraSkater

Courtesy of ExtraSkater

Talking about a back and forth game. There was no distinct advantage for either club when it came to puck possession. Dallas had a sharp uptick at the end of the game as they pushed to tie, but that’s the only real trend here. I do want to point out the long flat red line for Dallas as the second period ended and the third started. The Rangers had a powerplay at the beginning of the third, but that was a long stretch to keep Dallas from registering a Fenwick event.

So the Rangers are now 7-2-1 in their last ten, earning 15 of 20 possible points. They have a showdown in MSG against the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday in what is the biggest game of the year to date. With the win, New York leapfrogged three teams (Carolina, Detroit, Toronto) into 7th in the Eastern Conference. This team is rolling.

18 Responses to “Rangers come back twice, earn big win against Dallas”

  1. PAL says:

    I remember during Marion Gaborik’s first year with the Rangers, Joe Michelleti talked about how, during perhaps Gaborik’s first hot streak, there was a palpable sense of excitement every time he had the puck – you just sensed the potential of a big play, for a short period, whenever the puck found it’s way onto his stick in the offensive zone.
    I am starting to feel something analogous every time GadZuchs has the puck – not that he will score, but that he will make a pass that is clever and unexpected – it won’t always make it onto a teammates’s stick, but he seems to have a vision of what’s going on around him that is exceptional. The set-up for Brassard, even if a set play, was sharp and quick and accurate. Good for him and good for us!
     
     

    • Gary says:

      Even beyond Zuch, who is really fun to watch, the whole team seems to swarm the O zone now where before the black and blueshirts we so loved would dump in and hammer. 
      There is something going on here and they seem to be getting the system both O and D.  This is several games now where I have seen them swarm, actually looking greedy for goals, with support in the O zone.  Before it used to be all kinds of support in the D zone. 
      This team is going to morph into an offensive one over this season.  If the D and G can continue to firm up I think we could look back and see that AV is doing what they probably hired him to do; take this thing to the next level.  Break them out of the shell and see what we got as an offensive team.  Some of the off seasons maybe guys slooowly getting it.
      Something is changing.

      • @Centerman21 says:

        I agree 100% Gary. In the past the Ranger players would always look to pass and set up a teammate. Now there’s more of a shot first mentality. 2 on 1′s now almost always produce a SOG instead of a broken up pass. Same for
        3 on 2 rushes. You can see the overload in the offensive zone beginning to work as well. Two Rangers swarming the defenseman trying to clear the puck. I have to give credit to AV for sticking it out through the tough times. The lack of Elite teams in the Metro & East helped to keep the team in reach of the playoff race but that’s how it goes sometimes.

    • Walt says:

      Agree, and imagine that Zucc, Pouliot, and Brass make up the first unit PP???
      The little guy is fun to watch alreight!!

    • @Centerman21 says:

      He has stepped up in a big way. Beyond anyone’s wildest expectations. During the summer many fans would’ve been happy if he scored 20-30 points all season as a 3rd liner. He has surpassed that at the half way mark. He has made himself into an integral part of this teams attack and now that some of the other players are finding their game. This is a dangerous team. The lineup used the last 2 games is the most complete used all season.

  2. ranger17 says:

    We nee to flip Hags and Kreider. Top line just dosen’t seem to have the chemistry they need to be our #1 line 

    • Dave says:

      I don’t know. That line of Kreider-Stepan-Nash had some great shifts, although their first 4-5 were rough.

    • @Centerman21 says:

      Don’t you think Hagelin is kind of small to play top line Mins? At least with Kreider the Rangers can play physical when not scoring. Kreider is hard to defend with his size and forces the opposition to use their top D pair. That leaves the middle of the lineup (2nd & 3rd lines) to play against lesser competition. I’m just saying. Hagelin IMO has been better as a 3rd line player.

  3. JerseyRanger says:

    I know this is crazy but I would like to D. Moore get a few shifts on an offensive line.  he is playing well on the 4th and has been a solid pick-up but he seems to have the speed and moxy to generate some offensive chances.

    • Gary says:

      I like him too, but I like him right where he is because I like having a useful 4th line.

      • @Centerman21 says:

        The 4th line won the game for the Rangers last night against Dallas. They have been more than useful the last 2 games. The Rangers were a little sloppy with the puck last night at times but they came out and hit hard and Forechecked. That became contagious among the entire team and when Dallas pushed. They pushed back, Instead of letting the Stars to build momentum. Seems like a small part but (IMO) for the top 9 to have the room to skate, they need the 4th line to open that time and space. What do you think?

  4. Bob says:

    you guys know banter is doin goal break downs now, with video, pics, system stuff, etc. cramping your style

    • The Suit says:

      I didn’t know that. This is the only Rangers blog I read ;)

      They’re entitled to do what they want. Makes no difference to me.

      • @Centerman21 says:

        One thing I want to point out to you Is not only do the Rangers have most of the month of January @MSG but many of their opponants have games the night before playing @MSG. The Rangers can use not only home ice but tired opponants to climb the standings. Rifle off wins this month. It would be a huge dissapointment if they don’t. I also wanna note this month to the conspiracy theorists that feel the NHL is against the Rangers. This is an obvious advantage given by the league to one of its bigger TV markets.

  5. JerseyRanger says:

    they were 1-4 at the start, since then, 22-16…and the trend line continues to point up…These next 8 games will tell us exactly where they are.

  6. Bloomer says:

    The Rangers are playing better but still have to improve their play in their own end if they want to take the next step forward. 2 dmen chasing the puck carrier in the corner with no forwards coming back hard on the back check is not good hockey. Looking forward to the game against the Flyers it will  be a good gauge to determine if this Ranger team is a playoff contender.

    • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

      I agree.  I think this team is a playoff team, but to reach their goal, incremental improvement in their own zone and in the neutral zone is necessary.  They are trending in the right direction however (fewer breakdowns), and it does look like Lundqvist is coming around, too.

  7. paulronty says:

    Utterly fantastic goal by Nash, there are very few guys who could score  goal like that. And Zuccy, he’s a freakin’ little gem, I love that Hobbitt.  As Balin says in the movie to Bilbo, Hobbits are tough little dudes.