Game 36: It’s lovely weather for a Skjei ride together with you (and a win)

December 23, 2017, by

mats zuccarello

The Rangers host the Leafs tonight, a team they lost 8-5 to in October. I’m not expecting the same outcome –Henrik Lundqvist is playing much better– but I wouldn’t be shocked if the Rangers get dominated again. They’ve played like poop over the past few games, with their goaltending and offense bailing out their horrendous defense.

But hey, just win, amirite? I’d love to see better process, since that is a better indicator of future (read: playoff) success. Toronto is a good team to get back into the swing of things. If anything, this game is going to be a ton of fun to watch. Both teams have high powered offenses. Should be a back and forth game.

Leafs Systems

Mike Babcock plays a 2-1-2 forecheck/LW lock depending on game situation. In their own zone, it was a straight up zone defense. On the PP, it was an umbrella and a 1-3-1 formation. On the penalty kill they changed up their strategy depending on the opposition’s setup. Pretty straight forward for a team lacking skill.

Leafs Lines

Zach Hyman-Auston Matthews-William Nylander
James van Riemsdyk-Tyler Bozak-Mitch Marner
Patrick Marleau-Nazem Kadri-Leo Komarov
Matt MartinDominic Moore-Connor Brown

Morgan Reilly-Ron Hainsey
Jake Gardiner-Connor Carrick
Andreas Borgman-Roman Polak

Frederik Andersen gets the start.

Rangers Lines

Chris KreiderMika ZibanejadPavel Buchnevich
Rick Nash-David Desharnais-Mats Zuccarello
Michael GrabnerKevin Hayes-Jimmy Vesey
Paul CareyBoo Nieves-JT Miller

Ryan McDonaghNick Holden
Brady SkjeiKevin Shattenkirk
Marc StaalBrendan Smith

PP1: Kreider-Zuccarello-Zibanejad-Buchnevich-Shattenkirk
PP2: Nash-Miller-Vesey-Hayes-McDonagh

Henrik Lundqvist gets the start.

Scratches/Injuries: Steven Kampfer (healthy), Jesper Fast (quad)

Crazy Prediction: Three Rangers defensemen score.

Game time is 7pm. Be sure to follow on Twitter for gifs, and on our Snapchat for in-game.

"Game 36: It's lovely weather for a Skjei ride together with you (and a win)", 5 out of 5 based on 1 ratings.
Categories : Game Thread


  1. Joe Cafaro says:

    Key game. After Hank left his soul on the ice in New Jersey it’s time for some intensity and puck management from these guys. Then again from a Vigneault coached Team …. don’t expect it unless the “ players council” takes it upon themselves.

  2. Mikeyyy says:

    Feels like av is still not happy with that 2nd line. I don’t just seems based on performance that Grabner would be on that 2nd considering he is shooting 22% while Nash would be on the 3rd line shooting 8%.

  3. Stevem says:

    Here’s a crazy prediction.. we give up less than 30 shots??

  4. JERRY MALEY says:


  5. Leatherneck says:

    Ugliest long 5 on 3 I have seen in well over a decade

  6. Bloomer says:

    The leafs have bodies going to the net and it pays off for them. Too much perimeter play tonight by the Rangers so far.

  7. Leatherneck says:

    We are not going to win the Cup, Golden Knights have a better chance than us. I am all about becoming sellers, truly it is time for a full on major rebuild

    • King Sieveqvist ! King Sieveqvist ! says:

      Won’t happen

    • RichS says:

      I feel your pain , but I think its worth changing coaches before changing 20 players…….We have 3 lines capable of scoring, full of youth except for nash, lots of speed and skill here and maybe a couple more [chytil, andersson] on the way……
      IMHO kreider, zib, buch, nash, grabner, miller are capable of 25+ and vesey, hayes, zucc capable of 20…….even fast has offensive ability…..
      Add to that mcdonagh, skjei and shatty………
      The devils and islanders have more talent than us ???????????????
      WITH the talent we should be performing better!!!!! I think thats on the coach!!!!!
      Too much inconsistent play……..Coaching! Time for a change…..

      • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

        Yeah, you’re right. When Hayes was just standing there on the ice and could have easily avoided that offside that essentially cost us the game, I said to myself—“what the heck is that clueless AV thinking?”

        And yes, with the Rangers mired In a hideous streak right now that has seen them go pointless in ONE GAME IN A ROW and a whopping 3 pointless games out of their last 11 since the calendar turned to December…and most of that happening without Mika, you are right, clearly any sane individual would clearly see that this situation is just screaming for a coaching change. Or as Leather suggested, a total tear down. Makes perfect sense in some bizarre alternate universe I guess.

        But hey, it’s Festivus, the season for grievances, so I guess you are entitled to blow off some irrational steam. So, may I be the first to say, Happy Festivus, Captain Hyperbole! 🙂

      • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

        And BTW, on our out of town scoreboard, I see the defending SC Champions Pens were blanked at home by the medicore Ducks, and the Caps were blanked by the expansion Knights. The Pens and the Caps have far more talent than we do. So what’s the deal? Were they outcoached too? Why are the Pens behind the Rangers in the standings? Maybe the players have tuned Sully out. Maybe Trotz, who has failed EVERY SEASON to get past the second round in his long coaching career, just can’t get it done—period. Or is AV the only coach held to the standard that all losses are his fault, and all wins are because of the players in spite of him?

        • RichS says:

          After we win 2 cups in a row then the coach gets the benefit of the doubt…….but this guy has proven nothing!!!!!
          Except how often he can take a favored team into the playoffs to lose to an under dog!!!!!
          This team has played almost 40 games this season and continues to get down by one or two goals in the first period every game……when does he fix this, when does he make some defensive adjustments so Hank doesn’t have to face 40 shots each game????
          With a hall of fame goalie…..3 solid defensemen , 9 forwards capable of 20 plus goals……when is it on the coach??????

        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

          Another Captain Hyperbole overblown statement. What does Sully’s two Cups have to do with this season? Why is the team playing so badly? Is it on the coaches? Players? Evil spirits? This was a team that was supposed to win the Metro with ease. Why are they behind the Rangers with all that talent?

          AV has proven plenty. One of the winningest coaches of the past decade. More playoff series wins than any Rangers coach in 80 years. You mention the series when he was upset. How about the ones when he did the upsetting? Or do those not count?

          Of all active coaches, only Babs, Hitch and Q have taken their team’s deeper in the playoffs more often than AV. That’s fact.

          The team gets down early. Clearly not good. But they invariably rally back. So aren’t both occurances equal parts credit/blame to coaches and players?

          It’s not solely on the coach or on the players. It’s on all of them to be better.

  8. Bloomer says:

    Nice wrap around by Jimmy puts Rangers back in it.

  9. Bloomer says:

    Someone needs to teach Lundqvist the correct method in breaking stick on crossbar….

  10. Joe Cafaro says:

    Like I said. PUCK MANAGEMENT and intensity. Outplayed. Outskilled. Outcoached.

  11. Joe Cafaro says:

    And how many games now have we seen that defensive lapse where 2 go in to dig and the forward daydreams or is video taping the action for an opponent to drift and shoot point blank. I hate this coach.

    • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

      Right. It’s all on the coach. Players have nothing to do with it when we lose.

      Rangers players record—19-0-0
      Rangers coaches record—0-13-4

      • Richter1994 says:

        Bro, is the coach responsible for anything?

        Because he’s not responsible for bad starts to games.
        He’s not responsible for overall sloppy play like turnovers.
        He’s not responsible for poor defending by the D men.
        He’s not responsible for poor line up decisions.

        But yet, he gets credit for every win.

        I mean, why have a coach?

        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

          My friend…..what did I say above? Did I say the coach was blameless? Have I ever said the coach gets credit for every win? Heck, I can’t recall specifically praising the coach for any win. I’m just saying the silly ongoing narrative out here is that all good things the Rangers do, that’s on the players. All bad things…coach. That’s what I object to. Of course the coach has to take part of the responsibility for anything wrong with the team. So does the GM for assembling a flawed team. So do the players for not executing the game plan. It’s on ALL of them….good or bad. Not just the coaches. That’s why it’s called a “team”. 🙂

          • Richter1994 says:

            I’m not convinced we have a totally flawed team that is being outplayed like it is.

            Yes, it’s a flawed teams but all teams are flawed. But they are being outplayed just about every game. Something is not right in Rangerstown.

            • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

              “This is a bad team”—Richter at 9:17am (on the next page)

              “I’m not convinced we have a totally flawed team”—Richter at 10:16am

              I’d like to know what epiphany you had in those 59 minutes that got you to go from “bad’ to “not totally flawed”? 🙂

              I’m just busting on you. But maybe the answer is, it’s just the ebbs and flows of the season. This team to me is exactly what I expected it to be. In order to win, their offense has to click and they must shine on special teams. Failing that, pray that Hank stands on his head.

              The team is what it is at the moment, and I don’t believe a coaching change alters that narrative in any meaningful way at the moment—not until the right replacement comes along. Change for change sake is a bad idea and clearly not Sather or Gorton’s MO.

              • Richter1994 says:

                I haven’t changed my mind at all, lol.

                As is? They are bad, but your coach needs to change. I ranted in the most recent thread, lol. Go take a look. 🙂

          • RichS says:

            Time to man up and tell me what comments below are NOT correct?????
            1. We have 3 lines capable of scoring, full of youth except for nash, lots of speed and skill here and maybe a couple more [chytil, andersson] on the way……
            2. IMHO kreider, zib, buch, nash, grabner, miller are capable of 25+ and vesey, hayes, zucc capable of 20…….even fast has offensive ability…..
            3. 3 top defensemen mcdonagh, skjei and shatty………
            4. A hall of fame goalie, playing like one…..
            5. The devils and islanders have more talent than us ???????????????

            • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

              Rich, you are an interesting fellow. There isn’t anything you are saying here that is categorically false. It’s just overblown beyond any level of rationality.

              It would be as if you and I were having a hamburger at McDonalds. You ask me how it is. I say it’s fine. You say….”Fine? These burgers are the best burgers ever, with the finest ingredients available. The only reason the Smith and Wollensky burgers are better is because their chef is so much better than the McDonald’s chef. Hire him, and McDonald’s is better than S & W”.

              That’s about how off the wall you are going with this.


              1) yes, but so does just about every team have three lines “capable” of scoring. No one is elite. No one can be counted on to do so. There are no snipers. No true finishers. That’s the problem.

              2) you are, as usual, overrating them. They are good solid players. If NHL players were allowed to go to the Olympics, how many of those guys would be chosen, other than Zuc by default? Quite possibly zero.

              3) Skjei is emerging but still learning. McDonagh is coming around but has not been great and has been playing hurt or out all together. Shatty has never proven to be a top pair guy at all with anyone, and he’s been largely ineffective the past 15-20 games. That’s on him, not the coach.

              4) on that we agree, but wow are you fickle, since it was only a few weeks ago that you were all Captain Hyperbole on him and wanted him benched or out.

              5) Irrelevant. This is a balanced league with only a handful of standouts. Back to my Olympic analogy, how much would you be willing to wager that more Devils and Islanders would be chosen to their countries Olympic squads than ours? You are, as usual, overrating our talent and underrating the competition. Because to do so allows you feed the phony narrative that it’s ALL about the coach when the team falls short, and all about the players when the team succeeds.

  12. Leatherneck says:

    Zuke can be so frustrating….Shoot the puck Zuke….thinking of Mr Chadwick here fellas….Gordon and Chadwick were the best

  13. Stevem says:

    Only show up one period… Hayes not watching the line negating Grabner’s goal.. a stupid too many men penalty with under 2 minutes left..
    Makes me wanna go out and punch Santa Claus in the face. Hank was great again.. especially in the 3rd stopping multiple breakaways..

    • Bloomer says:

      Yes Henk was battling hard out there as was JT. Hayes looked punch-drunk and was Zib even on the ice? Holden was totally out matched by the speed on the Maplelaffs. Really dumb penalty by Shat during a critical part of the game. Skjei continues to impress me too bad the Rangers didn’t have a 2nd right handed Skjei on their roster.

  14. Richter1994 says:

    Was there again to “witness” another game live, and if was effing ugly. Leafs made the Rangers look like a senior citizen team, because their speed and skill totally over matched the Rangers.

    It is dumb for fans to yell “shoot” but the Rangers have multiple PPs including a long 5 on 3 in the first and they barely crack 10 SOG.

    Vesey with a 2 on 1 with the Leafs’ D man OBVIOUSLY playing the pass and Vesey tries to force the pass anyway. He had a clear shot at the net so he passes, play broken up, and they end up with no SOG. How many odd man rushes result in no SOG? Very frustrating.

  15. Jerry says:

    Dave and all the contributors to BSB, Wishing you all a Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays. Thank you all for the time and effort you all put into some great and thought provoking articles. I think it’s safe to say, that all of us who post here truly appreciate all of your efforts.

    I’d just like to take a moment to stray some from Hockey, and ask us all to keep our brave Service men and women in our thoughts during the Christmas/Holiday Season.

    Speaking from experience spending Christmas/Holidays thousands of miles away from family and loved ones in a combat zone is horrible. Actually it’s beyond horrible.

    Hey Leather, Semper Fi, Brother.

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all !