Rangers Drop Penultimate Regular Season Game at OttawaApril 9, 2017, by
There’s a couple of ways you can make sense of the Rangers’s unfortunate, almost-shutout loss against the Ottawa Senators on Saturday afternoon. You can chalk it up as an ultimately meaningless game, one where the team played a suboptimal lineup and boy did it show. You can look at it as potentially foreshadowing future playoff performance, which would lead to a dreary end.
You can even meet somewhere in the middle, acknowledging that it wasn’t a super impactful loss while also wishing for better things from the team, despite their less than great lineup. I’m partial to the last approach, but that’s just me. One thing we do know for sure is that Henrik Lundqvist will be playoff ready by the time the Rangers matchup against Montreal, with Hank making exceptional saves that kept the Rangers in the game longer than they should have.
As for everyone else, there were few bright spots, which isn’t exactly encouraging, but hey, the team was missing some of its key offensive engines. All in all, this was a definitively penultimate game of an uneven Rangers regular season. Onward to the goals.
RANGERS 0 SENATORS 1
An outside shot and a rebound in front cause some chaos that puts Henrik on his back, and the team scrambles to lock things down while Lundqvist attempts to recover. Failing to do so effectively, Mike Hoffman is left alone in the high slot when the puck comes to him – from there it’s easy pickings as he basically has a wide open net to hit.
RANGERS 0 SENATORS 2
The Senators showed that they too have a nice transition game (courtesy of two ex-Rangers of course), with Stalberg feeding it to Brassard for a nice goal. Stalberg deftly drops Skjei on defense, and then passes it off to Brassard who rips the shot. A pretty goal from a former fan favorite, about as good as you can hope for if the Rangers just have to get scored on.
RANGERS 0 SENATORS 3
This goal is a great example of how defense isn’t just about blocking shots and mitigating scoring chances, but preventing them from happening in the first place. A poor clearing attempt ends up on the stick of Mark Borowiecki, who flips a shot towards the net that JG Pageau tips in while jostling with Dan Girardi. A poor attempt at clearing the zone and then the crease make this a 3-0 game.
RANGERS 1 SENATORS 3
Mika Zibanejad scores one late with a nice wraparound goal, to at least make this game (his Ottawa homecoming) meaningful on some level. As the puck gets kicked around behind the net Zibanejad scoops it up and swings it quickly around the net, beating Anderson as he dunks it in.
While I’m a little disappoint I also understand why this game happened. The silver lining here is that Hank is back, full stop. He made some excellent saves and showed us that he’s more than capable of bringing his A-game when the playoffs get started next week.
The big question of course is whether the rest of the team can do so, but with a third of the team resting this afternoon I can’t say I’m terribly shocked that this was the result. Here’s to hoping they close out the season at home on a high note, and that they show us just how good they can be once these playoffs start.