Dec
16

Rangers drop Kings to snap losing streak

December 16, 2017, by

rangers kings Rick nash

The Rangers are currently sitting pretty in a wild card spot, and it’s thanks to the fact that, despite their unfortunate loss to Ottawa the other night (and a real clunker against Dallas, although I’m inclined to write that off as “those happen sometimes”) they keep picking up points where they need them, sometimes against teams they should lose to like the Kings. It was sweet revenge indeed against a team that still leaves a bitter taste in all of our mouths after what happened in 2014.

The Pacific-leading Kings had Marian Gaborik on something of a hot streak with a goal and an assist (insofar as that’s a hot streak – remember that this was a low scoring game), but the Rangers were able to put the Kings away late in the third period with a beauty of a goal from Rick Nash, who is now the all-time leader in game winners for the Rangers (but remember folks, he’s not clutch). Some quick thoughts on the game:

  • All of the goals this game were exceptional in their own way. The first one, a Chris Kreider tip-in off a Kevin Shattenkirk shot from the blueline might strike you as relatively average, but here’s why I appreciate it: Shatty gets the shot through almost 9 times out of 10. I’m not even sure how much work Kreider did (not to discount his effort screening the goalie and tying up the Kings in front of the net to create as much chaos as possible) given that it just kind of hit his leg – it was mostly that sick wrister we’re seeing more and more often from Shattenkirk that did the trick. The next two goals I don’t really have to get into, because they speak for themselves in terms of their quality, butI will say this, on Hayes’ goal in particular the Rangers executed a near perfect breakout, and it shows what kind of damage they can do when they’re showing good process. If we begin to see more of that then, Corsi be damned (we’ll get to that in a moment) then the Rangers are going to, at the very least, be very fun to watch.
  • To dig into the numbers a little bit I’ve posted two charts below, both all situations (so taking PP chances into consideration) and both via corsica.hockey. The first one is the cumulative shot attempts (Corsi) from the game, which demonstrates that the Rangers, despite a few outbursts, were consistently behind all game. The latter chart however shows how to Just Win Baby – not only did the Rangers get their fair share of the scoring chances throughout the game, but they also totally stifled the Kings from about halfway through the first to halfway through the second. Given how often the Rangers do it themselves, it’s nice to see another team flatline once in a while. This was a game of quality over quantity, and although there’s a lot of evidence and experience to demonstrates that’s not exactly sustainable in the long run, it certainly is exciting to watch.

  • One thing I want to highlight, although I’m sure you all noticed because he made you yell at your TV about three times in 30 seconds, is just how good Brady Skjei is looking on the powerplay. It’s not just the scoring chances, although of course those are welcome, it’s more than that. He’s skating confidently, finding open space and making decisive movements to use that space and force defenders into reactionary positioning. He’s distributing the puck excellently, knowing just when the passing lane is open and when it’s closing, and the right reads are crucial on the man advantage. It could be a serious boost to what’s historically been a woeful part of the Rangers’ game – if the Rangers have a stud defenseman quarterbacking the PP in Kevin Shattenkirk on unit one, and then another stud defenseman working PP unit two, opposing teams are going to have a hard time defending, especially when noted triggerman Mika Zibanejad comes back to replace David Desharnais; we’ll have two effective powerplay units capable of lifting the Rangers up in crucial situations.
  • If you had to guess, who were the top Rangers last night in terms of scoring chances? Well two out of the four (five overall is Kyle Clifford of the LA Kings) are pretty obvious – Chris Kreider leads the game in xGF% with a monster 84.85 and Kevin Shattenkirk comes in at fourth with another dominant performance of 67.22, but it’s the meat in the sandwich that interests me. I’m going to be honest, I’m not particular high on these two players, and for one of them that’s probably a common opinion but for the other it might be a little bit contrarian. Nick Holden was the second best player of the game with an xGF% of 70.68 and JT Miller was just behind him at 70.09. I’m happy to eat crow on this one – Nick Holden is more than capable of having great games and Miller, despite my wish that he would either pick one between being a power forward or a playmaker, is one of the Rangers’ best forwards. It just goes to show that even when your eyes give you that gut reaction of distaste for a player’s game sometimes you’re just wrong. It’s not so hard to admit of course when you’re wrong about them being good, because those are happy problems to have, but that’s a story for another day.
  • Not to completely inundate you all with stats, but Ryan McDonagh had a pretty nice game as well I think, despite playing to a pretty lousy 41.18 CF%. He had a 56.75 xGF%, demonstrating that even though he was on ice for more shots against than shots for, they weren’t particularly good shots against, to the point where he actually was a net positive in favor of the Rangers as far as shot quality goes. On a more qualitative level he had a perfect outlet pass to start the rush that finished in the back of the net courtesy of Kevin Hayes, and he made some nice defensive reads in some tough situations. It’s a nice return to form for the Captain, and if he can elevate his game even further from here (and maybe even find himself on a pairing with Kevin Shattenkirk, although that’s wishful thinking) we’re going to see some great hockey from a great player.

So that’s all of the facts I have folks – it was an nice win typically of the Rangers’ style in terms of quality over quantity. This may not be sustainable over the course of many games, and probably not over the course of a drawn out playoff series, but the Rangers are picking up points where they can and making them count.

If nothing more, it’s damn exciting to see players like Kevin Hayes and Rick Nash embarrass allegedly elite goaltenders like Jonathan Quick (did you notice he got caught looking on Nash’s goal, barely catching it whizz by him?). Despite the discrepancy in rings, I’ll always love beating the Kings.

"Rangers drop Kings to snap losing streak", 4 out of 5 based on 8 ratings.
Categories : Game Wrap-ups

15 comments

  1. BL94 says:

    Back in 2014 the Kings could impose their will on the Rangers at the crucial time and win. It looked like the same nightmare was going to happen again, but no. NASH imposes his will, RANGERS WIN!!! LGR!!!

  2. Bloomer says:

    Yes sir the Rangers pulled together a solid team win last night. JT showing he can be an effective centermen and Nash continues to bust his butt. Henk was stopping pucks earning a respectable .946 save percentage in this one.

    The number crunches can pour over the fancy stats all they like. But the one stat that really counts is the teams win percentage.

  3. wwpd says:

    wait, Rick Nash? More GWGs than Jean Ratelle? Rod Gilbert? Leech and Graves? Messier?

    • wwpd says:

      joking aside, is there a source on that Rick Nash gwg stat? Looks like Rod Gilbert had 50+

  4. wwpd says:

    JQ is still an elite goalie, nothing “allegedly” about it. Credit where it’s due.

    • Richter1994 says:

      That’s what the media would have us all believe. I wold rather have our goalie.

  5. Richter1994 says:

    Play a dominating game vs the Devs then lose badly to the Stars and Sens.

    Then beat the Kings. But to be fair, the Kings dominated a lot of the game but the Rangers basically scored on their chances. A step forward and a step back. .500 teams do that. You never know what you’re going to get from game to game.

    Other than Nash and Grabner (and Zib who is out injured), which Ranger forward(s) create their own scoring chances? I’ll wait… The answer is… no one. All the rest need to be set up in some way or need substantial help from linemates.

    Kreider SHOULD be one of those players but he’s too invisible too many games. Where is the Kreider of last night in over 85% of the games? Someone please tell me because I don’t have the answer.

    For all the railing about Nash, he CONTINUES to be dominant during games. The goal he scored last night was on his FOURTH scoring chance of the game that he CREATED FOR HIMSELF. Yes, he will not get 30 goals this year, but he continues to create his own scoring chances without the need for anyone else doing it for him. There’s basically no one else on the team that does that on a regular basis nor any Ranger that’s capable of it. And this doesn’t include his defensive play which is also outstanding.

    Ok, let’s get it out of the way, that was a horrible goal that Hank gave up. It was at my end of the ice and it was just brutal. That being said, he outplayed Quick, easily, and stopped way more high danger shots than Quick did.

    I counted at least 10 SOG that ended up in Quick’s bread basket where he didn’t have to move. And that includes Grabner’s golden chance in the slot where he turned and fired. The shooting skill on the Rangers is not very high quite honestly. No real sniper that can “pick a corner.”

    While Hank appeared to be “fighting the puck” all night, he still came up big, like the “3 save” sequence he had in the 2nd period, for which I had a great view of at my end of the ice. He still remains sharp and quick in his goalie movements.

    The turnovers. My God. Even in games the Rangers play fairly well, they make terrible, terrible turnovers at inopportune times. Fortunately, the Rangers have the goalie(s) that can bail them out.

    I won’t talk about the D, even I am tired of saying it, other than to say that they were ok last night.

    The 4th line, after several good games for a good run, has been invisible. Again, Boo is not that good and Carey is a bad hockey player, though he tries. Please put Lettieri with Boo and Vesey/Fast and see what happens. PLEASE. And put Fast back on the 4th line where he belongs and put Vesey back with Nash and Hayes where he belongs.

    • Stevem says:

      Let me get your opinion on this: I wasn’t fully vested in the game because I was at my daughter’s school for a show.. but on Mitchell’s tying goal.. do you think if Shatty read that pass better thru the neutral zone.. does Gaborik even get to come in on Hank? I felt that Shatty could’ve read it better and intercepted the pass to start a transition. Instead he lamely pokes it back into Gabby for him to come in and Mitchell to clean up the garbage. Your thoughts?…

      • Richter1994 says:

        First of all, all of the NHL is “poke checks.” What they call and register as “hits” now would not even have been counted years ago. Physical play is out the window. Martinez aid a couple of Rangers out last night but those hits are few and far between.

        Even the use of the body for defending purposes is not common any more. It’s all stick use to defend, which means that you’re easy to beat as a defender. It is all laziness IMO.

        So with that in mind, and using a “cause and result” type of approach, I agree with you. A lot of defending is doing the things that PREVENT scoring chances from even happening.

        A couple of weeks ago I called out Holden who “created” 2 defensive plays that he had to make because he put himself in that position to begin with. So yes, that goal was on Shatty IMO. Not only for allowing the scoring chance to begin with but then standing there while the rebound was put back for a goal. So that’s 2 for 1.

        • Stevem says:

          Yeah, just seeing that it wasn’t a crisp pass to Gabby that Shatty could’ve stepped up and intercepted it.. then yes, his impersonation of a statue on the rebound.. ugh

          • Richter1994 says:

            The Rangers stand around a lot near their own net.

            • Stevem says:

              No doubt about that

            • RichS says:

              Richter1994
              Agree that the rangers stand around a lot near their own net, leave opponents uncovered……been going on for years now, players SHOULD know better and so should the coach! ”’Zone”’ defense is ok, but not close to the net.
              Kreider , IMHO, has been playing well especially with Buch , and I agree with the rangers announcers that he should get some credit for Buchs play. Also dont forget Kreider and Buch
              are playing 2 on 3 since Zib went out, Desharnais
              is just awful and overmatched. Kreiders play and pass the other night to buch for the goal was a great play, and he is a terrific forechecker and passer. He cant however be expected to retrieve the puck in the corners and pass to himself for a goal which is what he must do playing with Desharnais. He is not a true sniper ,but likely to increase his numbers again this year like he has
              in 4 of his 5 years.
              Nash however is playing at another level and deserves to have 20 goals by now with all the chances he gets, mostly due to his own play.

  6. Richter1994 says:

    BTW, I saw Pat on the board. His row won the Papa John’s pizza coupon, lol.

    Congrats Pat!!

  7. amy says:

    I just want to say thank you boys for making my birthday so great on Friday thank you Rick for that and thank you Mats for Saturday and I will see you guys on saturday