Rangers drop second in a row, get blanked by Columbus

November 18, 2017, by

Image c/o Labatt Blue

The Rangers looked to right the ship last night in Columbus, just two days after suffering their first loss in two weeks. Sadly for the Blueshirts, they faced the same hot goalie that they did last week in Sergei Bobrovsky, except this time, they were unable to score.

This game featured Brendan Smith’s return to the lineup, marking his first start since the October 31 win against Vegas. The game also featured the return of the ever-infuriating Pavel Buchnevich Project, where inexplicably, some players get long leashes whilst others do not.

On to the bullet points…

  • Brendan Smith was semi-rusty. He also hasn’t played in over two weeks, so it’s to be expected. Worth noting, however: his first shift showed him drawing a hooking penalty, which is where the Rangers beat the Jackets last week.
  • The first period was a goaltending clinic on both sides, with the Blue Jackets just barely edging out shots on goal at 14-12.
  • Sergei Bobrovsky is Actually Good.
  • The first goal of the game wasn’t scored until 13:34 into the game, when Zach Werenski got an errant pass that seemed to be tipped towards him by David Desharnais right in his wheelhouse from the point.
  • The MSG crew went over the blocking factor postgame, and, although not entirely indicative of the first goal by Werenski, it’s an interesting point that forwards now anticipate that players will actually go all the way down to the ice to block now. In the case of this goal, the block by Desharnais sent the puck towards Werenski’s stick, but an interesting point nonetheless.
  • Rick Nash was sent to play with Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad in the ever-useful send-Buchnevich-to-the-bench exercise in the third period.
  • Pavel Buchnevich took a penalty in the third period, which AV discussed in the postgame as non-egregious (at the very least), and then saw the ice only one shift afterwards. One of your hottest goal scorers riding the bench in the end of a game you’ve scored zero goals. Okay.
  • Maybe AV was just cranky that Artemi Panarin scored on the power play issued due to Buchnevich’s penalty. That one was seen by Henrik and should have been saved.

The relevant charts, courtesy of

5v5 Scoring Chances

Rangers held their own til early in the second

We’re now 20 games in to the season, and the Rangers are 9-9-2. That means they’ve only secured points in 11 games, which, while probably good enough for a playoff spot, is just that. Good enough. Whatever line juggling, inexplicable benching experiments that the coach is playing need to stop. A quarter of the way in to the season is not a time to break up your most successful line for one game with little offense against a burning hot goaltender.

The Rangers will look to turn it around on Sunday night, as they host Ottawa at 7pm.

"Rangers drop second in a row, get blanked by Columbus", 5 out of 5 based on 3 ratings.
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  1. Walt says:

    Bob was outstanding, and we got outplayed by a better team last night.

    The sorry part is that CBJ gained the offensive zone unabated, and the HOF coach made zero adjustments. That’s not to say we would have won, but again, doing the same crap, and expecting different results is the definition of insanity!!!!!!

    On to the next team, and see if we can’t stop this losing streak at two……..

    • Richter1994 says:

      I like to blame the coach as we all know but I don’t think he gets blame for this one.

      I said basically what yo said about the game other than the coach. The players made it easy for the CBJs to skate from one end to the other. That’s not the coach’s fault. I thought the deployment was fine last night.

      A big problem is DD at 3C and Nieves at 4C. That’s the GM’s fault.

      • Walt says:


        We have to disagree on this, you mean to say that no adjustments were needed? Sorry my friend, there certainly was a need.

        Henrik Lundqvist met with the media following the Rangers loss to Columbus and said (MSG):

        On the game, “they played well, a structured game, made it tough for us to get in front and create the big chances. Had some shots from the outside but a tough time getting in front. I thought they played a fast game, a lot of odd-man rushes, especially in the second. Still just a one goal game until there is about 10 minutes left or something. We were right there but it was not enough. They were the better team tonight.”

        Hank’s reaction to the game last night. What he didn’t say was how easy CBJ gained the o-zone, setting up the shooting gallery..

        • Richter1994 says:

          If you want to harp on something with the coach then look no further than Buch.

          Quite simply, he is one of the best forwards on the team, argably 2nd behind Zib. He should never be benched and his pts per 60 minutes are the highest on the team.

          He took a penalty that his coach even said was BS but the coach benched him anyway. You want a bone to pick with the coach for last night? Then I just gave you one.

          • Mikeyyy says:

            Spot on. AV has an addiction with aging non performers.

            Let’s put the coldest guy on the roster on the top line.

            He pretty much gift wrapped it for torts.

            Av’s decisions are like a box of chocolates….

          • Walt says:


            I agree! The problem is that I’ve been so critical about this coach, many take it personally, and the debate turns to my bias, as opposed to corrections.

            Mancunian Candidate said it best, has AV ever been successful with a Russian player? I don’t know, but there is a valid point.

            But to the point I was trying to make about adjustments, CBJ easily gained the o-zone all night long. Why not stand up at the blue line, let them dump, and chase? Do something that changes the way the opposition has to play you, rather than sit back, and let them have a field day against Hank!!!!!!

            • RichS says:

              You and I both have been critical of this coach and for good reason. AV NEVER seems to make in game adjustments…..except to change lines around or bench a player.
              I find it almost unbelievable that after coaching for ?15 years? he doesn’t seem knowledgeable or capable of making in-game strategical adjustments.
              He fits the definition of insanity…..keep doing the same thing over again and expect a different result.
              His inability to make adjustments really becomes evident in the playoffs………

              • Walt says:


                You just can’t change the stripes on a zebra now can you???????

              • Reenavipul says:

                You can change them when it’s just a jackass with stripes painted on.

                Or you get an actual zebra.

              • Richter1994 says:

                Walt and Rich, you both know where I stand with the coach. I thought he should have been fired a long time ago, but he’s here.

                I like to blame him too but the players have something to do with game results too, right?

                Do coaches have to tell their players to forecheck at this level? There was none in the CBJ game and allowed the opponents to skate freely out of their own zone, through the neutral zone without resistance, and then into the Rangers’ D zone without too much trouble.

                Is that on the coach? Or the players who shouldn’t have to be told to forecheck?

              • Walt says:


                You’re right, but there is still a point where the coach has to stand up and say get the forecheck going, or change the defensive scheme. You just don’t sit there and chew gum, with a blank stare, and do nothing but scratch your butt!!!!!!

              • Richter1994 says:

                I played sports through high school. Even at that level my coaches would say “I shouldn’t have to tell you” on very basic things.

                I mean I guess yeah, if the players aren’t doing something that they weren’t I guess the coach could say on the bench “where’s the forechecking?” and get it in the players’ heads.

                And, to be fair, how do we know that AV didn’t say that on the bench and the players were being too lazy to do so?

                I think my criticisms of the coach are fair, explained in detailed with examples, and he has proven my criticisms time and time again. But to blame him for a lack of forecheck is a stretch IMO. Now if he did zero to try and get a style of play, then he is wrong on that. Why have a coach then?

              • Walt says:


                fair enough!!!!!

      • Walt says:

        As to your point about DD, and Boo being the GM’s fault, could be, but he isn’t behind the bench, sending the players out there, and not adjusting to what Tort’s was doing.

        • Richter1994 says:

          Boo stinks, everyone needs to face that fact. Lettieri should be here instead.

          • Mintgecko says:

            Yeah he does but the idea of him never getting his full shot with the big club was a choice in trying out for the 4th line.

          • RichS says:

            Correct!!!!!! And so does DD……..

            Letteri needs to be here!

      • flatbush says:

        I didn’t see the game but listening to the feed back here it seems we had no fore-check and or we turned the puck over in the N zone. In either case that would contribute to easy access to our D zone. Two weeks ago the most significant change was the existence of a fore-check and first touches and we went to work down low. Granted that’s not the pretty way but that’s the hard way and it paid off. Also during our success we got through the N zone and avoided the long isolated stretch pass. So I leave it to those who watched to comment on our fore check and turnover rate in the N zone. If my assumptions are correct it does support the angst with the lack of adjustments. Did we want to fore check aggressively? or not ? Lets assume the players are at fault for not executing. That’s when the coach must make an example and sit someones ass. That never happens but we sit a guy who may score a goal. Seems like, we either had a dumb game plan or we let players off the hook for being softies. Who ever you want to blame makes no difference but that’s how you lose tough close games.

        • Richter1994 says:

          yeah flabush, there was no resistance to the CBJs entering the Rangers’ D zone. After the first period, this was a big issue and ultimately was why the Rangers lost.

          I guess the coaches can always get blame but I didn’t feel that as much during the game last night, as I watched it.

    • Walt says:

      This is to the thumbs down happy crowd who read my name, and automatically go nuts, read and enjoy. Then show how brilliant you all are and get the thumbs ready for another example of mental midgetry in action!

      The Rangers were not the better team on Friday night
      Nov 18 | 11:32AM

      (Adam Hunger)
      After a first period where the Rangers led with 15 shot attempts for and 13 against, they were out-attempted 25-12 in the second period at 5 on 5.

      Overall, in the second period the Rangers were out-shot in all situations 19-9 by Columbus.

      The Rangers did have 15 shots on goal in the third period but were unable to beat Sergei Bobrovsky.

      Mats Zuccarello said that the Rangers were “out-fore checked” and couldn’t generate the same kind of pressure that Columbus did. (MSG)

      He added, “we didn’t deserve to win, they were the better team.” (MSG)

      Zuccarello said that at 5 on 5 the Rangers didn’t get enough offensive pressure and that they need to get to the “inside” more. (Newsday)

      Alain Vigneault said that the Rangers played a “hard fought game”on Friday against Columbus but that they couldn’t replicate the success of their forecheck in the first period.

      Vigneault said that the Rangers were not able to capitalize on mistakes that Columbus made bu were still only in a one-goal game heading into the third.

      Henrik Lundqvist said that Columbus played a structured game and that the Rangers didn’t do enough to make things hard on Bobrovsky.

      He said that in the first period the Rangers got the puck deep and were able to create some pressure but had a much tougher time doing that in the second period.

      Lundqvist added, “we were right there but it was not enough. They were the better team tonight.”

      Ryan McDonagh said on MSG that the Rangers need to be more efficient, play at at a quicker pace and get to pucks quicker.

  2. Mancunian Candidate says:

    AV up to his old tricks. I hope he keeps it up, that way he’ll quickly earn his spot on the breadlines. His treatment of Buchnevich is a joke. Has Vigneault ever had a Russian player who has prospered on his various teams? I’m drawing a blank.

      • RichS says:

        Great find Mikeyyy!!!!!!
        Thanks for posting it!!!!!
        As Walt so aptly puts it, ”’you cant change the stripes on a zebra.!”’
        It is truly amazing how AV, has been unable to change or adapt in any way as a coach…….even ”’old school”’ Tortorella has made some significant changes in how he treats players, more use of 4th line, less blocking of shots…..etc etc.
        This is why his teams always underachieve in the playoffs , despite being the favorite more often than not!!!!

        • Richter1994 says:

          I cited that article many times. Just change the names of the players and you have the same situations.

    • Mikeyyy says:

      I have a link under moderation but the gist of the article is. Why was av fired from Vancouver.

      1. Lack of consistent 60 minute efforts
      2. Unable to deal with younger offensive talent. And actually told the press a player was faking only to find out they had a serious back injury.
      3. Repeated playoff failures

      Sounds eerily familiar. Question is do we wait 7 seasons to figure out he ain’t the guy.

  3. Richter1994 says:

    Shots on goal for the year (I do not think they include last night’s game) through 19 games:

    Zuc – 35
    Miller – 23

    Totally unacceptable.

  4. SalMerc says:

    Panarin’s shot was s laser from point blank. He isn’t stopping that.

    Buch did seem off last night, but not 4th line off.

    Staal looked quite good last night.

    CBJ played a very strong game, blocking lanes and rocketing in their breakouts.

    They owned the boards. We need offense out of the bottom 6, and we need it soon. We do not have anyone to put this team on their backs and carry them to the win. Time to think about giving kids chances (like Letteri (sp?). I forget, AV is behind the bench.

  5. DAVID k says:

    The Rangers need to find a third line center NOW.

    • Bobby B says:

      David k, spot on, sad thing is they had a great # 3 center who was only going to get better in Oscar Linberg ( enormous mistake by Gorton) . He should have left Jasper Fast ( coming off surgery no less) unprotected. Vegas coach Gerard Gallant raves about the solid 2-way game Linberg provides.

      • John B says:

        100% correct. We didn’t already expose Fast enough. We should have found a way to leave him unprotected and completely naked. Only way I figure we could have exposed him more to Vegas.

      • RichS says:

        Bobby B,
        Not only did we lose Lindberg but we lost our 3/4th line which was very productive at both ends of the ice in addition to being physical and great on the forecheck.
        I am in the minority but I would have left stepan [ 2 goals 21 GAMES ]
        unprotected instead…..but I think vegas would have taken grabner anyway and not stepan…..
        Gallant also stated that he must find PP time for lindberg…..

  6. Chris F says:

    Some thoughts:

    Bobrovsky was absolutely lights out, and CBJ came hard last night; they were relentless on the puck, and made life very difficult in the neutral zone. Any analysis of last night’s game has to start with this recognition, and give the lion’s share of the credit to CBJ, as opposed to searching for scapegoats on the Rangers side.

    Hank was awesome, which is becoming the norm again. The team played fairly disciplined, and despite ferocious Columbus pressure, managed to put 36 shots up against Bob. This was by no means a poor effort from the Rangers.

    But, nevertheless, after two periods, down 1-0, with no line really taking charge and generating sustained pressure, AV started the third with new line combinations. This, apparently, is the reason the Rangers lost, because if he had just squeezed out one more period of KZB they assuredly would have done what they failed to do in the previous two periods, which is score a goal, and turn the game around. That was sarcasm, obviously.

    There is no way to say what would have transpired had AV just stuck with the original lines. Maybe, a line like KZB that has been dangerous all year would have finally broke through. I can appreciate the perspective that you should lean on your best players in a time of need. But I don’t believe it’s a sacrosanct truth. KZB generated three shots on goal last night. That’s really not enough from your top line on a regular night, and it’s surprisingly low given the team actually peppered Bobrovsky with 36 shots. Vesey and Grabner alone each had 4 SOG. Miller, Hayes, and Fast each had 3 SOG. Last night, it was depth guys who were getting the puck on net with regularity. So, why exactly is it so obscene that AV would juggle things in the third period and allow these guys to get a few extra looks?

    Well, if you read BlueShirtBanter, it’s obscene because despite the low SOG totals, KZB was rocking a high Corsi last night. Ok. A couple of things about that. Given the already established lack of SOGs by the KZB line, a high Corsi would indicate positive shot suppression more so than shot generation and chances, meaning KZB was deftly handling their defensive responsibilities, but it doesn’t mean they were clicking offensively. Down a goal in the third, as a coach, I’m looking for the guys who are finding ways to get the puck to the net more so than guys who are playing a solid shutdown game. Now, you can say the two should go hand-in-hand, but with only three SOG all night between Kreider-Zibanejad-Buchnevich, clearly that wasn’t the case last night.

    And this leads me to another issue about advanced metrics. I love the value that stats like Corsi and xG% bring to the table in terms of expected performance. They hold great predictive value over a large sample. But, their most vocal advocates are usually the ones who lampoon the eye test. These same folks will tell you AV never should have reduced Buchnevich’s role last night in the third period because he was sporting a team high 76.9 CF%. But is this data that is evident or available during a game? No, it is not. You can’t tell me a coach can sit there during a game, while managing line combos and matchups, trying to gauge opposition deployments, making tactical adjustments, etc and still necessarily notice the difference between a player whose on-ice Corsi is 45% and another whose Corsi is 55%. Certainly, it’s possible to notice this trend, but it’s going to be based largely on the in-game eye test.

    What a coach can track is players who are getting to the crease, players making plays, and getting pucks on net. At the end of the night, this might not align precisely with Corsi statistics, but during a game, you work with what you have, and last night, AV had a top line that got three pucks on Bobrovsky all night. Not good enough.

  7. InvalidBeard says:

    How about that turnover by Hayes on the kill for Panarin’s goal? Disagree that’s on Hank. Point blank, slap shot, super in-close, no time to react. He hit a spot.

    Frustrating that this team doesn’t crash the net more. They will score their share of cross-seam passing goals, but you need to adapt for defensive styles, and have more than one trick in your bag for when things aren’t clicking. Kreider pealing away on Mac’s backhand in the first is one obvious example (his terrible instincts being an issue specific to him). CLS just constantly out-manned NY on the puck in all areas. Couple that with their superior size, and you have a possession nightmare. If Torts can figure out how to run a PP, that team will be super dangerous once again.

    • Richter1994 says:

      That was a horrendous turnover by Hayes. it would have been bad enough at even strength but even worse shorthanded.

  8. Peter says:

    Torts’ team played the Torts style game-hard forechecking and good TEAM defense -very well. CBJ deserved to win the game”

  9. Eduardo!Eduardo!Eduardo! says:

    Amazing how some guys crawl outof the woodwork to comment once we lose a game or two Andy of course it’s the coaches fault again. AV can do the same thing another coach does but he’s wrong when he does it # keep crying about the coach

    • Richter1994 says:

      I actually defended him as it relates to the CBJ game but why would you bench your best 5 on 5 forward when 5 on 5 scoring is a problem? Especially when you’re being shut out?

    • Walt says:

      It’s amazing how some people defend this guy to no end. If you know the game, and see zero adjustments due to the coach’s decision not to make any, and expect a different outcome, welcome. If we can’t question him, then your accepting his style. I’ve been pretty quiet this year, yet the same outcome from the AV fools, they see my name, auto thumbs down, which is fine with me. This just shows that with them it’s emotion, not use of brain matter, so they continue to show that they’re fools.

      Posting what you did, do you fall in this category???????? Now crawl back into your woodwork!!!!!!!!

      • Richter1994 says:

        AV’s answer to everything is juggling his line up. That’s not what I call making adjustments. Anyone can juggle the lines and pairings.