Powerplay shines, but Rangers drop opener to Avs

October 6, 2017, by
henrik lundqvist

Photo: Jim McIsaac/Newsday

The Rangers came out last night looking to start the season on the right foot, but fell to the lowly Avs by a score of 4-2. Semyon Varlamov outplayed Henrik Lundqvist, who looked a little shaky, and the Rangers were unable to convert on some solid chances throughout. There were some bright spots, though. Kevin Shattenkirk was solid. The powerplay was phenomenal, moving the puck very well. Mika Zibanejad still has a cannon. They fought back after being down two early.

Overall the Rangers played well, but couldn’t find a way to finish, hitting Varlamov in the chest more often than not. Usually that’s a sign of a goalie playing well, but he was leaving rebounds that the Rangers just couldn’t get to. The broadcast said the Rangers did everything they should have to win, but didn’t. I agree with that assessment. It should only get better from here.

On to the goals:

Avs 1, Rangers 0

Filip Chytil didn’t get his stick in the passing lane, which allowed Nail Yakupov to hit Patrik Nemeth as the fourth man in. Nemeth’s shot was stopped by Hank, but Matt Duchene got body position on Kevin Shattenkirk and had access to a rebound.

Avs 2, Rangers 0

After a questionable tripping call on Chytil, the Rangers penalty kill made a few mistakes. First, there was the chase to the corner, which left the passing lane cross ice open. Then both Jimmy Vesey and Brendan Smith went to challenge the shot, which meant Brady Skjei had to shift to the slot. That left the cutting Mikko Rantanen wide open. Hank had no chance.

Avs 2, Rangers 1

The Rangers owned this powerplay. Eventually the Avs were scrambling and the puck got out to Shatty, who found a wide open Mika Zibanejad for the first goal of the season.

Rangers 2, Avs 2

Another powerplay goal. This time Mats Zuccarello got the puck along the boards and found Zibanejad at the point. What a shot.

Avs 3, Rangers 2

Good breakout by the Avs, as Pavel Buchnevich couldn’t keep up with Tyson Barrie. Alex Kerfoot led him with a perfect pass, and Barrie placed a great shot just inside the post from the high slot.

Avs 4, Rangers 2

Gabriel Landeskog empty netter.

Score Adjusted Corsi

The Rangers certainly controlled play for much of the game, although they did allow some lengthy periods of offense for the Avs. The outcome isn’t what we want, but if the Rangers play like this and control play like this, they will win more often than not. Just need to tighten up a bit defensively, which should happen as the learning curve for the new guys progresses.

Scoring Chances

The one thing the Rangers were still really good at was dominating the scoring chances. They took advantage of a lesser quality opponent, getting numerous high quality scoring chances. But again, Varlamov was the difference.

I’m not going to over react to one game. There were some good things from last night’s loss. There were some areas that need improvement. There were other areas that should come around sooner rather than later. Let’s see how they rebound in Toronto on Saturday.

"Powerplay shines, but Rangers drop opener to Avs", 4 out of 5 based on 7 ratings.
Categories : Game Wrap-ups


  1. James Carr says:

    Really looking for Krieder to establish himself this season. He will need to be more visible going forward. Other than that, this is the team I expect all season.

  2. SalMerc says:

    Buch played very well. Offense was continually caught in their own zone, allowing multiple odd man rushes. Overall the defense didn’t impress.

    • Furls says:

      Except where he lost his man on the gwg

      • Ian says:

        One thing I noticed on that play was that it was a turnover around the COL blueline. I’d have to go back and rewatch but at the time I though that Mika made a bad read leading to an odd man rush. I think Buch and Kreider were already deep when the turnover occurred and Mika then stepped up and tried to make a bad hit on a defense while flat footed instead of retreating. That left Buch and Kreider to chase on a 5 on 3. I do agree that Buch could’ve done a little more to break up Barrie’s shot but it was also a great shot.

  3. flatbush says:

    Agree one game is no reason to be too high or too low. Too many odd man rushes. They tend to look for the pretty play and turn the puck over at the blue line causing the odd man rush and sometimes pass up the simple shot. If your flying north and loose the puck in the N zone or at the Off Blue line it puts a strain on the D man. Sometimes the other D is moving forward also. That’s when things get unstructured and its a scramble to get back. Reduce these unforced turnovers and we have more possession and less time chasing in our end. All and all not bad its only game one.

  4. Dan says:

    Agreed, no need to go nuts. I liked a lot of things that I saw last night. Defense needs to tighten up. I think Colorado is a little better than most people give them credit for (Landeskgog, Duchene, Mackinnon, Barrie and Varlamov are good players).

    Something to think about going forward (at least I will be) … AV’s first two years when we had our runs to the SCF and ECF … we played good in the beginning of the season but things weren’t going our way. Always hovering a bit over .500. Then we became a strong team after Christmas and played strong throughout the rest of the season and playoffs. The following two years, we got off to really hot starts but we all knew we were playing over our heads (Hank was masking a lot of the mistakes/we were scoring 5 goals a game last year) and we were mediocre at best from the holidays on. Should be interesting to see what trend plays out this year. I have a gut feeling that we will eventually get rolling around Christmas. There’s lots of new faces, and young guys on the team who are gonna need time to adjust but I truly feel these players fit AV’s mold. I am definitely more optimistic this year than the last two. It’s exciting.

  5. Five Hole says:

    New Season – Typical Rangers. They make every goalie look like the second coming of Kenny Dryden.

  6. Blaine says:

    Is it just me or did Chytil get a real early seat?

    • Mancunian Candidate says:

      Only 7:40 of ice time in 11 shifts. He had a penalty (unforgivable under AV, unless the player who commits it is at least a 3-year veteran) and could’ve played better overall. Looks like AV wants to get an early start on burying the kid. On the plus side Desharnais looked good last night; only problem with that is AV will have him slotting in as the 2nd line center before long.

      • Mintgecko says:

        Nope because DD will soon be slotting in as the 3c where I believe they want him to be.

      • Matt R says:

        I think we all thought DD was going to be the 3C when he was signed in the summer, so Chytil’s tryout at 2C and leaving DD at 4C is all a bonus to me. Lets give this young kid a couple more chances and see if he has what it takes to stay in the US this year, if not, I think DD as the 3C might be a surprisingly good thing for the Rangers considering how young all of the centers are at the moment.

    • John says:

      He did . Some of it was all the penalties in the second period.

      I think some of it was it became pretty apparent that he is just not physically ready. In the preseason vets are just getting some skating in and trying not to get hurt. Now it’s big boy time. And Chytil just doesn’t look strong enough at this point. He was pushed around both on offense and defense.

      Maybe he was just shocked by the increased intensity and he will come out next game and turn it around. Or more likely he just needs some time in weight room and to grow into his body. Let’s be honest; he is just a high school kid chronologically and physically.

    • wjpeace says:

      My exact thought. He got nailed to the bench real fast.

    • Bruce Cohen says:

      Chytl made the team against all odds and AV will still do what he does and play the vets over kids who should be out on the ice.

      Shattenkirk let Duchene get position on him for the first goal, which he shouldn’t have. The defense will take a little time with both KS and D’Angelo playing to jell.
      Hank looked a bit shaky.
      The offense was impressive dominating and screening Varlamov.
      We’ll be okay

      • Mintgecko says:

        B Smith will be the bigger problem moving forward. I’m pretty sure he had injury problems before in Detroit but either way it seemed that the playoff run has slowed him down. I cannot picture a deeper playoff run this summer with Smith coming back into the 18-19 camp ready to go but it seems to me that he’ll get burned in a top 4 shutdown role this year.

      • jdon says:

        He was pretty effective on the pre season PP. He will not get that time now.

    • Chris F says:

      You all need to chill about Chytil Juice.

      First, he’s barely 18, the youngest player to play in decades. Despite his skill, he has a ton to learn about playing North American hockey. Any expectation that he was going to waltz in and get 20 minutes a night was just irrational to begin with.

      With that said, he could have been in the 12-15 minute range if the whole game wasn’t a special teams marathon. While I do think he should get some PP time, he’s definitely not going to be a PKer any time soon and we spent alot of time killing off penalties. That inevitably was going to curb Chytil’s TOI, regardless of whether AV, Tortorella, Sullivan, Babcock, or any other coach was behind the bench.

      It’s pretty apparent that few listened to AV’s post-game, because he spoke to all of this. All the penalties disrupted the flow and affected Chytil’s time, and AV mentioned that Chytil was having some difficulty settling down after bungling the first odd man rush opportunity. With that said, he said the kid now has his first game under his belt, put his skill on display, and will be even better for the next game. That’s faith in a young player. That’s not a coach trying to bury the kid.

      • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

        Chytil Juice…I love it!

        Well said Chris. The usual total overreaction.

        I will say though, when he passed up the shot and made the pass on that first period breakaway, I said to myself, “He’s the perfect fit for this team. Another guy who’d rather pass than shoot!”. 🙂

        Mika was unreal. If he plays like that consistently we will have a real star on our hands.

        Hank was a bit shaky, but he hadn’t played a game in 10 days. That never works well for Hank, who needs lots of work to stay sharp. He’ll be fine.

        Overall, I’d say more positives than negatives despite the outcome. Still, it just drives me crazy how our forwards consistently make goalies look like George Vezina all too often. I know as collective this team scored a bunch last year, but most of that came early in the season, and this team is different now. The one thing that worries me is what always worries me with this group going back a decade—do we have enough guys with that proverbial “nose for the net” who can score big goals? It’s evident we will possess the puck a lot more this year and move up in the Corsi rankings, but we need to finish 5 on 5.

        Just like Dan said, I expect an uneven start to the season, followed by a strong push once the calendar flips (a la AV first two years). This is a new group with players taking on new roles. AV’s system takes time to learn, They should be fine.

        • Chris F says:

          Clearly, the thumbs downs were just those jealous they didn’t come up with Chytil Juice. 😉

          But, yeah, I didn’t see a lot of cause for concern last night. The defense is overhauled and will take some time, but the mobility is gonna be a huge boon for us, I think.

          Shattenkirk is gonna produce, I have no doubt. And that forward depth is scary.

          Are we a dominating team that will run roughshod over opponents? Probably not.

          But this is a roster that can more than hold its own and make a deep run.

          • Chris F says:

            After practice today, AV actually said they’ve been going over tape with Chytil and they soon may give him some opportunities on the PK. They think his speed could be effective for that role.

  7. Bloomer says:

    Toronto like New York is a very fast team. If the Rangers open it, up Henk will see a lot of rubber. Personally I enjoy watching wide open hockey. It’s entertaining to watch and fun to play. For the Rangers to be successful however, they got to put the puck in the net.

    • Creature Feature says:

      Hit the goalie in the chest so much, I could swear we still had Stepan.

  8. roadrider says:

    Mixed feelings about this one. The PP was good, even the ones where they didn’t score. Only the last one was a bit weak. Lots of good chances but weak on finishing. Yeah, Varlamov was good but as Dave pointed out they hit him in the chest a lot and he gave up a lot of rebounds – gotta get to those. Not a strong defensive game and Hank was average at best. A learn from it and move on kind of game. My concern is that struggling against COL is not a good sign. Against a stronger team this could have been pretty ugly.

    Some other observations:

    Those “slashing” calls looked kind of subtle. I didn’t watch any pre-season games but I did read about the NHL’s latest officiating crusade.I wonder how long this one will last.

    AV – who’s picking your neckties?

    • Egelstein says:

      I’m disappointed they had that bad of a game against COL as well, but on the flip side, their bigger names played pretty well last night, and they were the ones who did the damage on the scoreboard.

      • Egelstein says:

        Clarification/correction: “that bad of a result”, I meant to say. They did not actually play a bad game.

    • Mintgecko says:

      Buch and Mika were hungry in the slot area’s but this was a game for Kreider to finish up the garbage that was left on his plate all night. I would have enjoyed more shooting from the point by Shatty and DeAngelo when the screens were provided. I feel that this team has alot of skill hand and eye big body players to make those deflection shots.

  9. RichS says:

    Good—-We had a ton of scoring opportunities , even announcers said ”rangers had to have 20 A-1 scoring chances.
    —– Grabner was flying and had at least 3 chances, Miller has a few and threw the hardest checks since viktor stallberg left….in fact he leveled Barrie at start of third, and who got up real slow………
    ——nash, buch , kreider, deangelo, shatty , Zib [2 goals!!!] all had many chances
    ——-sjkel and smith looked very solid

    Bad——We need to score on some of those chances, 5 Hole said it best””we make every goalie look like ken dryden!!!!!
    ——-Hank only faced 24 shots, needs to play a whole lot better , outplayed by colorado goalie big time!!!!!
    —— Mcdonagh/shatty cant be on ice for 3 goals against!!!
    ——-Where was hayes????
    —— chytil ????/ there is always letteri

    • Egelstein says:

      Miller also gave Kerfoot the business along the boards in (I think) the first. Was nice to see that snarl from him.

  10. pas44 says:

    More positives then negatives. This team is better then last years.

  11. upstate tom says:

    should be a lot more snarl on home ice. no need for opponents to have so much freedom. 1st “d” pair on ice for 3 goals ?????

    • King Sieveqvist! King Sieveqvist! King Sieveqvist! says:

      McD is in trouble

    • Ray says:

      To be fair, the third goal was irrelevant. An empty netter with three seconds on the clock cannot affect the game. Even if you block the shot, there is not enough time to score the tying goal. Think of it as a -2, still bad, but not quite so bad.

  12. Peter says:

    The Rangers at times looked very good, especially on the power play. Chytil struggled a bit after the early going, but that is not unexpected in his first real game against NHL’ers. The key will be whether he learns and adjusts quickly enough to stick a while.

    DeAngelo had at least one nice shot that he ripped at the goalie, and except for one pass that he fanned on that led to a scoring chance but no goal, I thought he didn’t look too shabby in his own end. It will take a couple of games perhaps for the second PP unit to jell.

    I like Buchnevich on Zibanejad’s line. The Hayes line was a little too quiet.

    I would have liked a win and don’t like losing to a team like the lowly Avalanche, but they had a bunch of scoring chances. Onward!

    • Mintgecko says:

      If Grabner finished on the first scoring attempt of the game and pass by Hayes than I bet this would have ended differently. I’m not worried about that line, Hayes needs to trust his shooting more, there were way to many times that he would start the cycle to then get into a prime position to shoot only to over pass and give it back to the point.

  13. Craig says:

    Just one game in and the Rangers so far, still are playing the same type of game they have for years. Dominate puck possession, a lot of shots right into the goalie, and sustained pressure with out scoring.
    They still lack the great skilled players to finish a play and a real legitimate sniper. I know it’s only one game in (new adjustments, new players), but hopefully the offense will click and finish a play. They are a good team, and I’m sure they’ll manage to scratch their way to around 100 points again. A lot depends on Hank, somewhat scary.
    Dushane, though not a superstar, would have been a good piece to add to our roster but the price was to high. We really need a McDavid or a Matthews type of player to get us over the edge. I’m prepared to be stoned for saying this:trade McD. now for a number 1 draft choice. We can get by without him.This team is NOT going to win the cup this year as is unless it’s a miracle.

    • Matt R says:

      Hey man, they had some pretty awesome chances to score last night, Varlamov stole the show. Also, you imply the Rangers need more scoring, but the Rangers were 4th in goals scored last year, so I think a bit more patience is needed.

      • craig says:

        I hear you, and agree to a certain extent, but Iv’e been patient since 1994. They make the playoffs year after year because they have good teams but not elite teams. With their good offense, they were eliminated in the second round last year. True the defense should be better as well as the Powerplay , but they still lack a legitimate superstar or two like Crosby or Malkin. You need at least one or two on a good team to become an elite team. The elite teams usually win despite the hot goalie syndrome, which seems to happen often against the Rangers. Many of the shots on goal last night were right into the goalie and not great quality shots . This year, they are weaker in goal and down the center. Shattenkirk will help, but that isn’t enough. They will get their 100 points and sellout every game as they do year after year.

      • HARLEMBLUES says:

        A superstar and a couple of snipers short.

    • HARLEMBLUES says:

      I’m all in on trading McD while his value is high. Plus what’s his current contract situation? If it’s up this year or next I would do that trade for the Oilers Leon Draselti or top five pick. If McD want big money in his next contract yes trade him for that missing piece. We have young assets now on D to get that cup we need a Superstar. Well a couple of snipers would do.

  14. King Sieveqvist ! King Sieveqvist ! King Sieveqvist ! says:

    The name says it all …. Outplayed by Varlarmov

    • Richter1994 says:

      lol, King was not great, for sure, but I still want to know where the 2nd chances are because I didn’t see many.

      Again, too many days in between games was dumb.

  15. rglv says:

    We keep hearing the same tune year after year: the opposite goalie stole the show! There are shooters (we have plenty) and snipers (we have none).

  16. Richter1994 says:

    How many days between the last preseason game and last night? F*cking genius.

    • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

      Yeah I agree…..too much time off was not good for on ice chemistry and crispness, and certainly not good for Hank. But are you sure that was an AV call specifically? Seems to me that would be an organizational call, and I can’t imagine it happens if Gorton and Sather aren’t comfortable with it. So I’d take them all to task…not just AV.

      • Richter1994 says:

        It basically killed the idea of having preseason games to begin with. Just stupid.

        Rangers were quick but sloppy, blame it on the time off between games.

  17. Reenavipul says:

    I know it’s only 1 period, but TBL CF% is brutal. Girardi is 2nd best D and his CF% is 42.