Lundqvist shines in shutout win over Montreal

October 9, 2017, by

henrik lundqvist

The Rangers finally got a win, shutting out the Habs by a score of 2-0 at MSG. Roster decisions led to questions at puck drop, and in game deployment raised even more concerns. While the Rangers didn’t really control possession, they tightened up their defensive zone coverage and didn’t allow as many cross-ice passes for high quality chances against.

I spent a lot of time looking at defensive zone coverage during this game, and there don’t seem to be any changes with Lindy Ruff on board, as expected. The problem has been execution, with the same issues of chasing to the blue line and the transition from overload to man when the puck is at the goal line. With so many new faces, expect that to be a problem this month.

On to the goals.

Rangers 1, Habs 0

The Rangers had a lot of luck in the first period. The Habs had a pair of goals disallowed, and then the Rangers got one off a lucky bounce. After a face-off win, Brady Skjei took the puck down the boards and fired it to Michael Grabner in the slot. The puck bounced off a defenseman and by Carey Price. This play doesn’t happen without the face-off win and without Grabner knowing to cut to the net.

Rangers 2, Habs 0

Pavel Buchnevich did a good job to force the turnover behind the net on the dump in. Chris Kreider got the puck back to him behind while Mika Zibanejad was left all alone in front. Carey Price didn’t see where puck was going, and Buch fed ZBad perfectly for the goal.

Score Adjusted Corsi

The Rangers did not do a good job of controlling play last night. The Habs generated a lot of attempts. From the eye test, it looked like the Rangers, especially in the third, went back to flipping the puck out of the defensive zone and right back to the opposition. It was a problem last year, and was a problem last night.

Scoring Chances

For the Rangers, it’s all about limiting chances against, specifically Royal Road chances. They’ve been crushed by their inability to stop the cross-ice pass in the defensive zone. Last night was different, and they did a much better job at limiting those chances.

With the win, Alain Vigneault will probably feel vindicated for his questionable roster decisions and deployment.  He will probably use this as a reason to dress 11 forwards and 7 defensemen again for the next game. Winning doesn’t mean you played well, and losing doesn’t mean you played poorly. AV is still, for some reason, learning this.

That said, the Rangers did a better job of clamping down in the defensive zone, as mentioned above. If there is one positive to take from the win, it’s that. To be perfectly honest, there were more positives from the loss against Colorado than the shutout last night, as backwards as that sounds. But a win is a win. If that’s the mental hurdle they needed to get past, then let’s hope they build on it and continue to win while implementing better process.

"Lundqvist shines in shutout win over Montreal", 5 out of 5 based on 11 ratings.
Categories : Game Wrap-ups


  1. King Sieveqvist ! King Sieveqvist ! King Sieveqvist ! says:

    Played a great game … Now we need the last 16 important ones !

  2. Richter1994 says:

    Was at the game and the charts support my eye test. The Habs had the puck most of the night and except for the occasional breakaway in transition, the Rangers generated very little meaningful offense. No forecheck, no long periods of possession, except for their PP which continues to look impressive.

    Zib, man, what a release and shot this guy has, and he actually SHOOTS. Keep feeding it to him.

    The Kampfer/Holden Pairing was a complete disaster, and yet, the coach continued to put them out there. No one knows if Smith was hurt or not.

    This was a typical Ranger game, the team sucked and the King bails them out. Same ole story. But I’m sure people will have something to complain about as it relates to Henrik. What evs.

    • Rangers Rock says:

      How true! The coach decided to play a defensive game and he lucked out. Hank looked wonderful. We should have lost the game and the decision to go defensive is not the brightest idea but it worked.

  3. D C says:

    If anyone thought the rangers played well last night, you’re wrong. The numbers above make that very clear. We won last night because of Hank, the coach didn’t help him out at all. Every single time Holden and kampfer were on the ice the habs controlled play and we couldn’t get out of the defensive zone. That’s not a coincidence. They suck. After last nights lineup decisions, it’s become so clear that AV needs to get fired. This guy isn’t cut out for this youth movement and is going to ruin every young prospect we have. A win is a win but that game sucked to watch.

    • Rangers Rock says:

      I thought I was watching the Giants.

    • upstate tom says:

      IT REALLY is time to look for a NEW coach, he looks completely lost as does his associate, who may be more of the problem !!!! can’t be said any better !!!!

    • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

      Ruin young prospects….Let’s see…

      Zuccarello (who said the other day his career took off once he had a coach like AV who believed in him).
      Miller (who got a needed kick in the pants to become the player that he is)
      Hayes (coming along)
      Kreider (after playing for a coach in Torts who did not believe in him, has continued to grow)
      Skjei (one of the best young defensemen in the NHL)
      Vesey (solid breakout first season)
      Zibanejad (thrived early when he was healthy. Now back at 100% and so far playing superbly well)
      Buch (got immediate trust from the coaching staff last year. Back injury ruined his season. Has full trust of the coaching staff now)

      In addition, so many young college FAs CHOOSING to come and play for this guy. Why would they do it if they believed he would “ruin” them.

      Please name me one Rangers prospect that he’s ruined. Everyone he passed on has turned out to be similarly rejected by the league. Etem, McIlrath, even Clendening so far. Back in his same 7D role with the Coyotes.

      Total nonsense.

      • idesof says:

        All every player listed above knows only AV or Torts. Wish they could have Babcock or Weight for 2 months and then see the reaction to how good AV is or isn’t.

        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

          So now Doug Weight is the gold standard for what good coaching is all about? He’s accomplished what exactly as a coach?

          Coach Babs, that’s another story. But he has legit high end young talent to work with. I dont think many people would put the Rangers young players on the same level as the Leafs.

  4. ranger17 says:

    Last nights stat sheet didn’t Shea Weber a minus -1 for the puck going in off of his skate . Now he is either on the ice and gets a minus -1 or some body else was wearing his #. So much for stats

  5. Jerry says:

    Just as we shouldn’t have panicked about the first two losses, let’s not get too high about beating a VERY offensively challenged Montreal team.
    I hope the Holden/Kampfer thing is REAL short lived.

  6. Mancunian Candidate says:

    Vigneault is off to a bad start this year. Holden & Kampfer were terrible last night, and playing 11 forwards is a recipe for disaster. It’s only game 3 of an 82-game season and it’s clear AV is all about AV’s record, long-term franchise concerns are not going to sway him from prioritizing a win in the next game. We all know he’s gonna keep this lineup intact until the next loss too.

    His treatment of Chytil is going exactly as 90% of the fan base has feared. Can’t complain with scratching Smith after 2 bad games from him, but replacing Smith with a pair of old AHLers isn’t doing anyone any good. If Chytil isn’t going to play, something needs to happen with this roster.

    • Rangers Rock says:

      Who would have thought that putting 2 bad defensemen in after playing 2 bad defensive games would produce a win? Neg times neg equals a positive? Doesn’t always work.

  7. Peter says:

    They played DeAngelo for 3:45 last night. If they are going to do that, then they should instead send him to Hartford where he can work on his game. Holden and Kampfer could not move the puck out if the zone. But if they are going to sit Tony then send him down so he gets the work in. There is too much talent there to ride the pine.

    • Jerry says:

      I have to agree. Young developing players do not benefit from watching as compared to playing, even if that playing time is in the minors.

      Young players will make mistakes. Period. Either live with those mistakes or send them to a league where they can play and work on eliminating their errors.

      • Peter says:

        Yes Jerry. He’s made a couple of give aways where he looked like he was not sure where to send the puck, so he fanned on the pass. He made a beautiful pass to Nash last night, but in general he looks tentative out there and that is definitely not how he played in Arizona, where he was all over the ice, making breakouts and joining the rush. It is probably because he has not learned his assignments in the new system. Either they should be working hard with him in practice, or send him to Hartford to learn it. He isn’t going to learn anything sitting on the bench all night or in the press box.

      • Ray says:

        It depends on what you mean by a mistake. What does it mean to play good defense? There are as many opinions here as there are people. AV and DeAngelo don’t agree (nor do AV and Staal, I’m sure). AV needs to either force DeAngelo to change his objectives – or live with what he has. Benching a player is one of the coach’s weapons.

        A key point is that playing helps DeAngelo develop into the player he is trying to develop into – great if you think that is a valid objective, not so great if you don’t.

        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

          And sometimes NOT playing helps a young player more. Especially one like DeAngelo who has a somewhat checkered background.

          But some people out here think this is a pee wee development league, where everyone MUST play. Why should AV worry about points? I mean, what does it matter if the team makes the playoffs or not? 🙂

          • Peter says:

            What I am saying 3E is if you have an obviously talented kid like Tony, then develop him. If that means playing him in Hartford until he improves his defensive zone play, then so be it. He has skills that not many can boast so I think they need to work hard on him.

            • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

              I agree with that. But there are different ways to work him and send him messages. Depends on the player and the circumstance.

  8. Reenavipul says:

    If this continues, I wonder if AV makes it to Halloween. 3-10 start is a real possibility.

  9. idesof says:

    Is running around in your own end the defensive strategy employed? What next?
    Is the Captain hurt, his play says he is.

  10. Doug Peters says:

    Don’t like DeAngelo from our blue line in. Too small and passive. Gets pushed off the puck too much. At least Holden and Kampfer use their bodies in the defensive zone. Really wish to see either Graves or Pionk rather than DeAngelo. AV should spend more time on breakout play.

    • Nikolai says:

      Very ironic that you both praise Holden/Kampfer while saying the team needs to work on the breakout in the same comment.
      From behind the net, all those two could do is push it around the boards for a Hab to pinch down and keep the pressure on.
      They can’t escape a forecheck with either their skating or a pass. If the centers don’t fish the puck out from behind the net with that pairing, it’s shots against until a whistle and a line change.

      Even when they have the puck in motion and are transitioning up ice, they don’t hit their forwards with passes, their either lob the puck airborne into the neurtral zone, or off the boards to the opposing D.
      These two aren’t NHL defensemen anymore (well Kampfer never was).

  11. Mythdoc says:

    Sometimes they outshoot and outplay and lose (Colorado). Sometimes they are outshot and outplayed and win.

    I just fundamentally disagree, and have disagreed for years, with the whole premise of the blogs (this one being the best of them, which is why I stick around), that the Rangers are a great team that would have Cups on the shelf if not for bad coaching. For so many reasons… First, that a cup = success and anything less is failure, and second, that it is fair to cherrypick a given mistake out of context of the coaching staff who brought your team to that point.

    To repeat, the idea that the Rangers would have Cups on the shelf if not for AV is not rational. (OK, being a rabid fan of a team is not a rational kind of involvement.) It is much more reasonable to conclude that the team has overachieved its talent level if you go down the roster player by player.

    Every year we hear the same hyping of a new youngster. Look at JT Miller: fine player, gritty, plays with heart. I love him. But the early hype that he was another Messier in the making has fallen through. His ceiling is second line.

    Hayes at best is a second line center.
    Nash is on the downside of his career and is a second line talent.
    Kreider, second line talent at best, no shot
    Vesey, third line
    Grabner, third line
    Fast, third at best

    That leaves you with three first line candidates: Zucc, Zib, and Buch. Now, these guys are arguably “adequate” to the task of standing up to another team’s first line. In the case of Zib and Buch, they may become better and better. But please don’t tell me that this is a cup winning first line, when you have McDavid and Dreisaitl, Crosby and Malkin, or even Matthews and company in Toronto.

    I could do the same thing with the defensive roster, touted to be the strength of the team coming in. What pairing did Shatty play before coming here. Why?

    I invite anyone to debate me by going over the roster player by player. And this misconception about the skill and talent level of our beloved team needs rational debate, not emotional scapegoating. Thanks for reading.

    • supermaz says:

      I agree on your assessment, and I’m not saying they would have won the cup with another coach, but they will never win with this guy behind the bench. His player deployment is bordering on criminal. And I completely disagree with his handling of our young talent. He’s arrogant. I think we need a coach with a little fire in his belly. I hear Lindy Ruff is available.

      • Mythdoc says:

        Well, if they do conclude that AV’s shelf life has expired, I’d like to see two changes in tactics. 1) We play zone D. 2) Use the big bodies we have to play the kind of offense where we hold the puck in the O zone and wear down the opposing D. That means play the puck to space until they are tired instead of trying to force the perfect pass.

        That still would not deliver a cup, in my opinion, but it would perhaps deliver a few more regular season wins and maybe get us a round further in the playoffs.

        • Chris F says:

          While I totally agree with you, Mythdoc, about the unreasonable expectations and evaluations of this roster, and the bizarre obsession with overrating new young talent, I would add in one caveat:

          All the Rangers goals this year have been generated from work down low, crashing the net, screens, etc. Now I’m not sure if that’s what you mean when you say “wearing down D” but that’s an effective approach to scoring when you have big guys like Kreider, Nash, Miller, Hayes, etc.

          I generally like Steve Dangle and find him to be as insightful as he is entertaining. After that Leafs game, despite Toronto winning, he argued that the Rangers embarrassesd the Leafs in the crease, and showed the League how to beat them with a “heavy game” of net crashing and screens. If we can continue doing that and focus just as much on that area of production as we do quick transitions, I think this team carve out some consistency and success once they settle down.

          • Mythdoc says:

            Yes, I think the Darryl Sutter style Kings team is the template for O. Net crashing, but after you have played keep away for 30 seconds so that even if you don’t score the other team is too tired to do anything but get a line change. Or take penalties and cash in with our newly skilled PP. I disagree with a pond hockey, all or nothing type of O that gives up better chances than our shooting talent can muster, and that disregards our player size and stamina.

            Again, caveat, we don’t win a cup with this approach but we don’t win a cup with any approach without having much better skill in the lineup.

      • Mythdoc says:

        See, Maz, you are indulging in typecasting. I think this “arrogance” and player mismanagement stuff is emotional venting and largely BS. It doesn’t recognize the players we have and imagines players on the ce that we do not have, or that the players would be different because their feelings are hurt or something. I’m not even sure what it is this argument says…?

    • Rangers Rock says:

      I totally disagree. We have 3-second line very good quality players. And Fasth is best a 4th ling player/checker that doesn’t hurt anyone.
      I didn’t want to go crazy on the coach yet but if he was a better coach we would get more out of the players instead of putting them in a bad situation like last night and give the advantage to the other team before the game even started. (we lost a game 7 because he did the same thing)
      So all you have to do is get one of the lines to shut down the top line of the other team and walla we have the advantage.
      Isn’t being on the advantage better than being at the disadvantage? That’s why its better being on the power play is better.
      I know thats simplistic but it is also true.

      • Mythdoc says:

        Simple answers are sometimes the right ones. But your reply is, with respect, very vague. Which of my player evaluations do you disagree with? Who is better than I give him credit for? It sounds like you are saying the team is worse than I say, which would only bolster my conclusion more. I’d like you to be clear. What are your expectations for the team? Which player is riding the bench who would be delivering wins.

        The typical argument that I hear on this blog over and over again runs the lines of saying: “ we are never going to win with player X on the ice so we might as well give us time to player Y and Z.” But then player Y and player Z go elsewhere and they don’t do great things. All we have proven is that we were never going to win anyway. Which is my main point.

        • Rangers Rock says:

          Who is better than I give him credit for? Kreider is a power forward who if used the correct way can be an unstoppable force. (May the force be with him.)
          The typical argument that I hear on this blog over and over again runs the lines of saying: “ we are never going to win with player X on the ice so we might as well give us time to player Y and Z.”

          No, the typical argument is why not play X player with Y and Z player. And Q player does not play well with x and y players.
          And why play Q player with no offensive talent with other players who have now will not have any offensive abilities because they have to back up Q player.
          Example of balance is last night.
          We have not proven we cant win. That is only your opinion. The only thing we did not change is the coach. The players will again stop listening to the coach.

    • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

      Major thumbs up to Mythdoc. I could not have said it any better.

      I said this the other day. It makes no difference what team you root for in any sport. Virtually without exception, the fan base all grows tired of the coach/manger in short order. They despise John Farrell in Boston. In KC, people hate Yost….they all believe that any other manager would have done just as well if not better even guiding them to two World Series. If fans had their way, 90% of the coaches/managers would be canned each year. There wouldn’t be enough to go around!

      Did anyone listen to the Rangers radio broadcast on Opening Night? AV was greeted with a pretty loud ovation (at least, I didnt hear much in the way of boos). Have you ever heard an “AV must go” chant, or anything at all like that? This suggests that the rank and file fan base views him very differently than the blogosphere does.

      But of even more relevance was this comment from Dave Maloney during Opening Night Introductions—“I know this guy gets roasted on the internet. What I would like to ask is…WHY?!? He’s one of the best coaches in the game.” Now, you might say Maloney is just a company lackey towing the company line, but anyone who listens to Maloney on a regular basis knows that he has often been critical of the Rangers and the coach in particular.

      The coach is not the issue. First of all, there aren’t better options out there at the moment. We already have a top 5-10 NHL coach—the winningest coach in the sport over the past decade. If the Rangers go south here, yeah, he might get fired. He’s been here 4+ years and every coach has a shelf life. So I’m not saying it won’t happen, or shouldn’t happen eventually. But the Rangers pattern has been patience. They hired Renney. He did a good job, but they saw a chance to upgrade with Torts and they did. Torts did a good job (although statistically speaking, the team slightly regressed under Torts…Torts supporters have done a good job of covering that little fact up), but he lost the room and they upgraded again with AV. AV has succeeded better than either of his predecessors with a team of mostly “B-level” talent. To me, he has overachieved here, not underachieved. They are not going to fire him unless one of three things happen—

      1) The team epically unravels
      2) He loses the room, like Torts did
      3) Someone BETTER than him becomes available.

      It’s three games into the season. The team is still trying to figure things out with many new players. Everyone just needs to chill.

      • Rangers Rock says:

        Your right who is better than him?
        But I look at it the other way.
        No one does a better job of lifting us up before he kills us.
        He takes the most basics of tasks like putting the best players in and screws it up.
        I expect more from a coach who is so talented.

        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

          Please….give an example. Who are you referring to? Because it seems to me that, every player that AV should have played that has gone elsewhere is similarly not playing or not playing well for their new team. So your definition of “playing the best player” doesnt match up with the rest of the league—which suggests that even with a different coach, the same decisions likely happen.

      • Ray says:

        I suspect that at any one time, the NHL has three brilliant coaches, seventeen good coaches and ten guys who don’t belong (roughly). I think AV is one of the seventeen — and I think the game is not to get one of the three, but to avoid the ten.

        I think the Rangers have had more talent than you give them credit for and that AV has not overachieved with them. The Rangers have done more or less what they should have.

        And much of the Stanley Cup is just luck. If Team A is better than Team B, that may mean they have a 75% chance of beating them in a seven game series. The series could be played in four alternate universes and the best team wins in three of them. Does that mean Team B was actually better in the fourth universe? No, it was just luck.

        The 2014 Rangers beat a better Penguin team. The 2017 Rangers lost to an inferior Ottawa team (both series IMO turning on the psyche of the Ranger goalie – but the psyche of players is part of what makes luck, last year being decided by a single shot that bounced off Hank’s back).

        And a team with a 75% chance in each series has less than one chance in three of winning it all — you can really be the best team and have nothing to show for it OR a not great team and win two Cups.

  12. supermaz says:

    Nice to get a win, but that’s not going to work going forward. I think AV’s time in NY has passed. Thanks for the memories, but his methods have grown tiresome.

  13. Peter says:

    Buchnevich looks much, much stronger this season. The kid is playing extremely well with Zibanejad. Buch’s passing has been spectacular. He is definitely a bright spot thus far.

  14. Spozo says:

    “AV jerks the youngsters around so much and treats them so unfairly compared to his fav vets. He benches a rookie for any mistake yet looks the other way if a veteran does the same thing.”

    AV benches Smith after a horrible game and the teams wins their first game of the season.

    “AV sucks he benched the wrong guy!!!! Wahhhh!!!!!”

    • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

      It’s hilarious!!!! They benched Smith, who is not a young player. And everyone still goes nuts here. Unreal.

      • Spozo says:

        This is 2 games in a row I have a “wahhh AV suck regardless of whether it falls in to the narrative I’ve painted for the last 3 years” post. I think I’m going to do one after every game. Lord knows I have been given enough material to work with.

  15. Ray says:

    So often, the Rangers play well and lose; so often they play poorly and win. Did it ever cross people’s minds that you don’t know what playing well actually is? The Devils of fifteen and twenty years ago never controlled play.