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Thoughts following Game 1

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

• I’ll admit, it was really disappointing to see the Flyers strike first after such a dominant chance/possession showing in the first period by the Rangers. Hartnell’s hit on McDonagh that directly lead to McDonald’s goal was the stuff nightmares are made of. Fortunately, the Flyers abandoned the hard, forechecking physicality in favor of stupid stick penalties.

• Philly looked to have a bit of whiplash from the Rangers’ three scoring lines. Clearly, their priority pre-game was to shut down the St. Louis-Stepan-Nash line, but every time they turned their attention there, they got burned by Zuccarello or Richards or Hagelin.

• The first two periods were something of a microcosm of the Rangers season: tantalizing chances, high possession and yet no goals. Ray Emery made some half-decent saves, but it would have been really nice to be up 3-1 in the first or second.

• There really wasn’t a weak link the lineup last night. I thought all three defensive pairs acquitted themselves well, and the forward lines looked balanced and moved the puck exceedingly well.

• On Stepan’s power play goal, the Flyers penalty killers looked cemented in place. What a beauty.

• Man, I don’t know how a team can go so far off the discipline rails as the Flyers did last night. If they can’t get their house in order, this is going to be a short series.

• While not facing much work, Hank did what he had to do to ensure the Flyers didn’t take a cheap lead. You can look at the scoreline and see how few shots he faced and feel that he had an easy night. However, when your team should be leading by a wide margin, it takes a lot of concentration to go long spurts without work.

• That said, I think he has to have that McDonald shot. I understand it went off St. Louis, but the deflection happened almost at the blue line. Plenty of time to react.

• Richards should still be bought out despite his great game.

• Although he also played well, I think with the core of under contract defensemen, Stralman will find a more lucrative payday elsewhere this offseason. Klein has been tremendous.

• Although the shooting percentage normalized over the course of the game, I think the Rangers need to throw some different looks at Emery. He has many weaknesses, and trying some off angle shots and net front presence would help diversify the offense greatly.

• I was on the edge of my seat the last 5 minutes or so of the game hoping they would pot one more so my 5-1 prediction would be spot on.

After an unnaturally long layoff, the series resumes on Easter Sunday at Noon.

"Thoughts following Game 1", 3 out of 5 based on 14 ratings.

20 Responses to “Thoughts following Game 1”

  1. HARLEMBLUES says:

    Excellent write up Justin.

  2. Rob says:

    Brad Richards CANNOT be bought out. I have said this all along. You people have no idea about hockey if you think he should. THE ONLY REASON he played so poorly at first was that he was forced to play on the first line with players that have hearts that are NHL ready but offensive skill that is barely AHL. Dunbinsky and Callahan.

    Do some research and find the results for Richards when he plays with NHL level players.

    I do not realize the love affair this blog has with stone hands Callahan and no hockey sense Dubinsky. End it.

    Brad Richards is a Ranger until the end of the contract because HE IS A GOOD PLAYER. Callahan and Dubinsky are not Rangers because they are overpaid BAD PLAYERS.

    Sorry those are FACTS nit my opinion.

    Rangers look like the 4 line team that can win a cup. Never existed under Torts.

    • leetch says:

      Rob,

      You do not know about hockey or the business of hockey. The salary cap is going to be about 68 million. Zuch needs a major raise. Kreider will get a raise. Next year stepan/hagelin will get major raises. Staal if we keep him will command almost 6 million.

      Richards has been good this year, but defensively for most of the year he was terrible. His 6.67 cap hit is way too much. He had a week off so he obviously looked completely fresh last night, but he does not have the stamina he once had. I cannot imagine him being effective for another 6 years.

      It has been refreshing seeing him play better this year, but if i am not mistaken he was playing with guys like gaborik and nash the past 3 years so i have no idea what you are talking about him playing with non nhl players. He actually got taken off those lines cause he was not cutting it and then placed with dubi and cally. That is him regressing in quality which led to that.

    • Ray V says:

      Sorry, but I think Richards talent has faded. He has to go. Pay attention to his puck possession. Its like hot potato with him (I dont wont the puck). He gets rid of it quickly and usually with a bad pass. Dont get me wrong, he has his moments like last night on the pass to Stepan, but that consistent heads up passing is long gone. Richie give us all you can this post season, and good luck next year with another team.

    • scott rankin says:

      Last night was the best game Richards haS played as a ranger.

    • Steven Cifuentes says:

      If Richards did not have the penalty recapture tied to his retirement I could see the rangers keeping him around until he retires…but they can’t take the risk.

      Could you image 2-3 years of $5-6 million in dead cap space…would kill the rangers who want to spend up to the cap.

      • Steven Cifuentes says:

        This is all you need to see, to know Richards could win the Conn Smyth this year and still, we HAVE to buy him out.

        Under the cap-recapture formula if Richards were to retire with three seasons remaining on his deal, the Rangers would be hit with a dead-space charge of $5.667 million per for 3 years.

        If he were retire with two seasons remaining on the contract, the charge would be $8.5 million per for 2 years.

        If he were to play all but the final season of his deal, the Rangers would be hit with an untenable charge of $17 million for 2019-20.

    • HARLEMBLUES says:

      BR is so overpaid for his production.The Rangers should let him go and get out from under his contract.It was a bad signing to begin with a bad one.BR made more than Zuccarello,Brassard and Pouliot combined this season.He also was a minus7 the highest amongst the Ranger forwards.Do the math.If I was Zuccarello i would ask for 6 for 6 if the Rangers kept BR.Hell he was only our leading scorer.BR must go.He’s playing for a new contract.

  3. Walt says:

    Justin, your spot on relating to BR, the man has to go, and make room for a kid, or two.

    The only thing not mentioned was how the puck was bouncing around all night long. Dorsett was in alone, and lost control of the puck, where he could have had an easy shot on goal.

    Over all, good game, and let the peckerheads in orange try to figure out that maybe, if they play clean, and smart, they may have a chance!!!!!

  4. Seahorse says:

    Why arent the cavemen complaining about how we scored on the powerplays we got after not retaliating. And instead played a hard physical gritty down below the goal line game and forced turnovers of a bad flyers d

    • Walt says:

      It’s the play offs, and we didn’t play our so called cavemen. The need didn’t arise, and the longer the series goes, with the peckerheads in orange keep finding themselves behind the eight ball because of their dirty play, the less the chance of them employing their goons!!!

      Are you one of those who would have turned down Clowe’s services had he re-signed with us??? I think not! I would have welcomed him with open arms, assuming he was healthy!!

      • Seahorse says:

        Clowe scores in the playoffs at a very high rate compared to the regular season. The point is theres a difference between hitting everything in sight hard and clean and battling in the corners and punching people out because someone takes a slashing penalty. The toughness of this team in the broader sense of the word does not concern me its their team size that does. But if they can play fast and deep that will be less of an issue even against the Bruins and the west

  5. Paul says:

    I thought Nash looked pretty damn good out there last night. But he absolutely has to start getting to the middle lanes of the ice, and not just taking perimeter shots from the blue line.

    In his intermission interview he said that his overall plan was to just throw pucks on net and see if that led to chances. I agree that this sort of strategy can and often does lead to scoring opportunities, but we’ve seen Nash virtually disappear during the regular season when staying on the perimeter (he even admitted it himself).

    This is the playoffs after all, and I think he’ll find his elite form. When he does he’ll be creating his own time and space, which will make him super dangerous as well as open up the ice for his line-mates! But first he really has to commit to driving the net and getting into those dirty areas.

  6. Erixon20 says:

    Brad Richards should be bought out this offseason no matter what. Some lucky team will get him for a more reasonable deal. He will land happily somewhere else for 4.5 – 5.25mm per season which is still probably a little more than he is worth. I think he can add serious value to a good team for years to come, but his contract is insane, esp the length, hence the need for a buyout. As for this year, you could argue that he is easily a top 5 important player for NYR, maybe top 3. And he made it happen last night, hope he can keep it up.

  7. Ray says:

    There was one weak link. McDonagh was downright awful in period 1, not so bad thereafter. Next game the rust will be gone and the Rangers will be better.

    Re Stralman, funny how things change. So valuable as a right side Dman just a few months back. Then throw in Klein and Diaz and he’s a dime a dozen commodity.

  8. SnakeX3 says:

    I’d just like to say that as one of the people that thought Carcillo should play over Fast (and groaned when I saw Fast in the lineup), boy was I wrong. Fast played a good game and added far more value then I expected. I am thoroughly enjoying this plate of crow courtesy of Jesper and Alain….and yes, I would like another serving thank-you-very-much!

  9. Ray V says:

    I dont know about anyone else but that smile on Zucks face after he scored that first goal and he is mobbed by his team mates says it all. How can you not love this guy = )

    • Rob says:

      Comparing the contract of a seasoned vet to the coming out season of Zukes, the reemergence of Pouliot, or the 4th year up and down Brassard is not very interesting.

      Let’s be happy the Ranfers do not have the weight of stone hands Callahan or no hockey sense Dubi to weigh them down or take the roster spot of skilled players like Fast or Hags.

      Defense and PK can be thought. Please notice that Nash is on PK and Hags and MSL.

      So if the Rangers keep Richards for all 3 years and never buyout or let him retire the cap hit is 6.5. If he plays just 2/3 of the games (do recall that he is never injured as opposed the STIFF Callahan). I am very confident that Richards will produce enough be worth it.

      He goes not seem a step slower. He pass the puck quickly because that is good hockey. Not the inept drag it to the front style of Callie or Dubi.

      You people seem SO confident of the buyout that I willing to wager 1 overpriced MSG Beet that I will give you versus 6.5 that you will give me.

      Any takers?

  10. Ray V says:

    Sorry Rob, I like Hags but in no way do I consider him a skilled player. Yes he has speed, yes he is a relentless beast against the boards and gives you everything, but not a skilled player. Ask for Cally, he gives you everything but he never was or will be a 1st or 2nd line player. Would love to still have him on our team but in a 3rd or 4th line role. Same for Dubi, agreed, no hockey sense but…..if his role was 3rd or 4th liner I would want him with us for the grit.

    • Rob says:

      Callahan is MINUS 3 in 2 home playoff games. MSL was instrumental in 2 PP goals. Callahan looks exposed in all 3 zones.

      Mister Sather should put a notch in his belt.