Fuel the tank: Isles blank Rangers in Brooklyn

February 16, 2018, by
rangers islanders mats zuccarello brady skjei

AP Photo/Kathy Willens

The Isles and Rangers played a relatively fun game yesterday, with the Isles coming out on top by a score of 3-0. Jaro Halak played well, as did Henrik Lundqvist. The difference was that when the Rangers made mistakes, they wound up in the back of their net. Throw in a little luck, and you have a 3-0 win for the Isles. Plus 50 saves from Halak will go a long way towards a win.

The kids played well again. They aren’t going to be perfect, but they sure do look better than the blue line for the first 50 games. They can skate. They move the puck. They get sticks in lanes. They get the puck up to the forwards to transition to offense. That’s what I care about right now, watching the kids to see how they do.

On to the goals:

Isles 1, Rangers 0

This was a good shot by Josh Bailey. The penalty killers didn’t shift to cover him though, so that’s on them. The shot placement was very good. Shots like that over the shoulder are difficult to stop.

Isles 2, Rangers 0

This was a mess. The Rangers were running around, even after they cleared the zone. Matt Barzal regained the zone quickly, found Nick Leddy open as Jordan Eberle cut through the slot to get open. Good pass, Peter Holland with the snow angel, no one takes the passing lane. Hank didn’t have a chance.

Isles 3, Rangers 0

Thomas Hickey got some luck here, as his centering pass went off David Desharnais’ skate and through Hank.

Score Adjusted Corsi (even strength)

This game was controlled by the Rangers from start to finish. Those mistakes were costly, though. Goes to show that you can play well and still lose if you don’t keep your mistakes under wraps. The Islanders may be a tire fire defensively, but their forwards make you pay for your mistakes. They did this game.

Scoring Chances (even strength)

That’s a whole lotta scoring chances for the Rangers, something we expected coming into this. The Isles are hopeless in their own end, perhaps even worse than the Rangers since the calendars turned to 2018. The good part here is that the Rangers limited the Isles to fewer scoring chances than we are used to seeing. Likely a product of controlling the game for the most part.

The kids are the big focal point during the games right now. Tony DeAngelo, Neal Pionk, and John Gilmour have shown they could very well be the future on the blue line. It’ll be a shame when they inevitably go back to the AHL as the roster heals, but for now it’s fun watching them.

"Fuel the tank: Isles blank Rangers in Brooklyn", 5 out of 5 based on 7 ratings.
Categories : Game Wrap-ups


  1. Richter1994 says:

    Meh, next…

    I agree with Brooks this morning, you want maximum return on the eventual traded Rangers but by the same token the risk of injury looms large. Can’t wait until the last minute, either sh-t or get off the pot.

    The good thing is that all these young players are getting valuable experience. They’re all keepers for next year IMO. Andersson and Chytil are next because having players like McLeod and Holland serve zero purpose.

    Skjei taking another shot to the chops by Ladd, and again, nothing called. When a player immediately grabs their mouth, it’s a pretty good bet that is was a high shot to the head area.

    Isles give up almost 4 goals per game and the Rangers make Halak look like Roy. How many in close shots hit the opposing goalie in the stomach? Zib had a clear close in shot in the 1st that had no chance of hitting the back of the net unless it could go through Halak. This is where an upgrade in offensive skill is needed.

  2. amy says:

    somehow this team can’t beat the isles tomorrow afternoon a date with the sens the same team that beat them last spring remember in game 5 brass scoring the empty net goal and Turris getting the winner in ot do we see more of the same?

  3. roadrider says:

    I can’t agree that the Rangers “played well” or “controlled the game”. Those claims just illustrate the limitations of just counting SOG yo determine whether a team played well or not. If not for Lundqvist this would have been a Fish Sticks runaway. He was facing barrages of close in shots and had to make many acrobatic saves, including many in rapid sequence. Yeah, the Rangers piled up a lot of SOG and Halak did play well but I don’t think he outplayed Lundqvist and I never had the sense that the Rangers were “controlling the game”.

    I’m all for the kids but man they need to make big improvements in defensive coverage. I don’t want to single out Gilmour (who I like) but one play that really stands out even though it didn’t result in a goal was when he let an Islander beat him on the outside and skate right in front of the goal for an excellent scoring chance. That can’t happen.

    • Swarty says:

      The kids are going to make mistakes and since there is no one else to play hopefully they get the opportunity to learn by playing through it.

      BTW…these mistakes are no more egregious than the ones we consistently have seen from the veteran D-men over the last few seasons.

    • Egelstein says:

      IMO, the system is predicated on defensemen constantly chasing; more of a reactive system than a preventative system. Until that changes, I don’t think many defensemen will shine in it. Even those who are known for having better skating than the average defensemen seem to be out of place a lot as a result of the constant chasing, trying to figure out when to overload and not, and trying to stay on their man. When the puck gets back off the boards and out to the middle and you come out of the overload to regroup, it’s a whole lot easier to get back to your zone than to find your man, who could be anywhere after the scrum unless you had him pinned on the boards the whole time. I feel this is a big part of the reason why AV’s system bleeds high danger shots.

      Watching it on TV and having the wide view, it’s easy to yell at the screen, “HOLDEN! What the hell man, that’s McD’s guy! Why are you going behind the net with McD to cover McD’s guy?!?!”…but it’s just chaos out there on the ice with this system, so I’m somewhat sympathetic to all the defensemen in that regard. Simply put, opponents get loose far too often in AV’s flavor of the man/overload system, and even above average skating can only do to much to compensate for the flaws of the philosophy.

      • roadrider says:

        Yes, I agree with the point on the system, which has never made much sense to me. However, one would think that the more mobile guys the Rangers now have on the blue line would do better with it than guys like Holden and Kampfer. But its fair to say that the system is so bad that even more mobility can’t overcome it.

        Still D’Angleo, who skates very well, has been completely undressed on two goals since his recall and neither case was really due to the system since they were off the rush. Similarly, on the play I mentioned, Gilmour seemed to almost ignore the guy flying down the wing until it was too late and let the guy walk right in on Hank (who made the save). That had nothing to do with the system – just bad coverage on the rush. I like what I’ve seen of Gilmour and D’Angelo but they both need to improve in that area.

      • Mintgecko says:

        Maybe if Zib wasn’t a liability in his own end then he could help out. I’m really seeing the no 3 zone center in him and it seems every time he gets the nod to PK than he be a liability in that as well. Forwards need to do a better job at helping out. Zucc is a bit overrated on D, Fast is okay 5 on 5 but anytime I see him on the PK I would noticed more teams getting away with what they want to setup during their PP’s. Then you have someone like Vesey who maybe played more in the OZ last night but 80% he’s a defensive liability. This is when I would kill to have a younger Cally, Antoine Rousell to keep player’s on their toes in the DZ. I think the bottom line is that this team is lacking quality two-way hockey player’s and not just scorer’s.

        It’s a real shame about Vesey because I thought he was going to be that north/south Pascal Dupuis type of player.

      • odielicious says:

        Just have to add my 2 cents. Think everyone is totally wrong. I think the system AV has in place has gotten him repeated presidents trophies for a reason. It is just that everyone is looking from the outside in.

        How effective were the players the first year he came here and put this system into play? They got off to a horrible start and cost Biron his job. But once the players figured out the system it was really hard to stop that team. I mean his first year ended in a cup appearance and 2nd year was the presidents trophy and conference finals. But it was a hell of a lot better then Tort’s system of defense first. Where offensive minded players got shoved to the side for reliability in their own end. You think torts would be playing buch right now? Buch would be in the minors so don’t kid yourself.

        Point being give the kids some time to adjust and learn the in’s and out’s of this system. Don’t go off the deep end and blame the coach. Remember the guys on the ice now are trying vs. the guys that used to be on the ice have lost that will to win and compete. So not only are they learning the NHL game but at the same time learning a new system. It takes time to put all the pieces together. As long as they compete I am happy.

  4. Jack says:

    The 80’s smurfs are back, Pionk, Gilmour & Tony, all under 6′ and 200 lbs, sprinkle in Zucc, DD and we have to be the smallest, softest team in the league. I can’t wait for us to draft the 5’10 165, guy who has a nice shot and a burst of speed.

    • Dave says:

      A roster of Cody McLeod’s is really what this team needs. Can’t teach size, right?

      • Egelstein says:

        Is sarcasm font possible for this host site, Dave? I’m telling ya, if so, it would make replying to comments like these all the more fun!

        • Mintgecko says:

          Nah he should add a fresher voting system for my insecure brothers and sisters

    • omgrodnick says:

      The leading scorer in the league is 5’11-178.

      • Richter1994 says:

        you lost little boy?

        • Jack says:

          You guys are totally right….lets out finesse everyone…it worked out really well for us this year.

          Goons, goons and more goons…

          • Egelstein says:

            Would love to hear about all the goons featured on the Penguins last year. This year they (moronically) gave up a first round pick for Reaves due to #narrative.

            Or for another example, Vancouver is one of the more physical teams in the league…how’s that working out for them?

          • Richter1994 says:

            Jack, it’s about tough players that can play.

            Why Mcleod is on the team, I have no idea. But thinking that he protects any Ranger should go back to the Preds game just a week ago where he was in the line up and 2 Rangers got knocked out of the game.

            It solves nothing.

        • Richter1994 says:

          I see the omgrodnick family has checked in, lol

    • D C says:

      I find it incredibly comical that people still are criticizing size. Yikes.

  5. SalMerc says:

    They have become unwatchable. I will wait until next season to re-engage as they just are not competitive anymore.

    Yes we are doing a youth movement, but without our 2 top prospects, these games are nothing more that an audition for next years 3rd and 4th lines.

    Question – Why is McLoud (sp?) playing and not Boo Nieves? Does it really matter the McLoud is in the lineup without a future? Let’s get another 20 games from Boo instead.

    • Randy says:

      While I understand the McLeod frustration, he does serve a purpose, especially when we are playing the young kids.

      As Jack pointed out above, we have gotten very young and very small with the kids up in the lineup. There is a good argument for having a guy like McLeod to make sure that nobody f*%!s with them.

      That being said, I don’t see why Holland is still up. He has not shown much, and guys like Boo are more likely a piece of the future and deserve the time.

      Front office likely doesnt want Chytil and Andersson starting their ELC’s this season, but i would still like to see them both come up for the max 9 games or whatever it is.

      • Egelstein says:

        If you can show me one clear example of when McLeod prevented a Ranger from getting run over, I’ll buy you a steak next time I’m in your hometown. Heck, he fought McQuaid (and lost) twice in one game last week. This is not Gudas we are talking about here, who you really gotta look out for. Like Glass, McLeod doesn’t really strike much fear into the opponents and he seems to miss about as many hits and take himself out of the play as he manages to get down.

        If anyone wants to make the claim that the Rangers as a whole need to play with a bit more snarl, then that is more than fair enough. And, that would be the correct answer to this alleged “softness” problem. I’d be willing to bet that most NHL players would rather fight one guy and take their chances with him for a minute-or-two-long tussle most nights out than knowing three or four guys with actual speed (unlike most “enforcers”) and size were fixing to line them up and light them up all night long. After all, hits are where the vast majority of game-ending (or worse, of course) injuries come from in hockey.

        Most fights that result from a hard or dirty hit, they dance and then the offender is out there as soon as he is out of the box for his next shift, looking for his next opportunity to light someone up. Whether another fight is the result of the next big hit or not does not phase most pit-bull types one bit.

        McLeod doesn’t ensure anything other than for however many minutes he gets a night, the Rangers are sending out one of the least-skilled players in the NHL for that duration.

        • odielicious says:

          Said this once before McCloud is not there for the opposing team. He is on this roster for this team. Just like Tanner Glass …he is a mole for the coach. He is a enforcer of accountability. If you play hard and try he will back you up on the ice and in the locker room. But if you are soft and half assing it he will watch you get laid out. Don’t be a fool and think that night against nashville was a coincidence. That hit on Vesey was deliberate and I didn’t see the one on staal but I sure that was the same. You think he didn’t call his friends from Nashville and say do me a favor and lay so and so out?

          • Mancunian Candidate says:

            So much stupid to address and so little time:

            according to your post—

            1. McLeod called his own ex-teammates in Nashville and asked them to hurt particular individuals on the Rangers.

            2. based on discussions McLeod had with his brand new coach, he and Vigneault picked select candidates on the Ranger roster that should be set up for hits that injure them against Nashville.

            3. goons now “will watch you get laid out” by the other team if THEY have judeged a particular player on their own team to be “soft and half-assing it”.

            4. to sum up, you think the role of goons is to set up their own teammates for premeditated violence because the coach is mad at them.

            You post is the dumbest thing that’s ever been written about this sport. How does someone even think like this?

    • Andy says:

      They have been tough to watch as a group, but the DeAngelo, Pionk and Gilmour have been fun to watch. Sadly we are playing better without out Veteran D man…just an observation.

      Would like to see Chytil and Andersson playing also, but there is no point in wasting a year on their ELC’s with they way the team is playing. Not bringing them up is actually good asset management. Plus let them play big minutes in Hartford for now. They can come up for the last 5 to 7 games to see how they look.

      Mcleod is playing because AV could not convince JG to sign Tanner Glass to another 3 year deal…(sarcasm)

      • Egelstein says:

        I’m not at all surprised the defense looks (a little bit) better without the vets. These young legs are more well-equipped to run man/overload. I’ve been continually astounded that AV likes to lean on veteran “shut-down” defenders so much, given that this system basically will reveal all the warts of a defender who isn’t an above-average skater. Most of those types of defenders are not above-average skaters.

        It’s like showing up for the Indy 500 in a dump truck. It’s not to say the dump truck doesn’t have it’s own perfectly acceptable/admirable strengths…but you shouldn’t expect it to shine in that scenario, haha.

  6. jrrangersdad says:

    Lots of shots but not a proportionate number of scoring chances. The forwards are going to need to make adjustments as these young defensemen are much more adept at getting the puck to the net rather than sending it back down into the corner to be cycled. I suspect they get 2-3x more shots to the net than the old guard. Kreider would have a field day in front of the net with these defensemen. They are fun to watch!

    • Mintgecko says:

      It takes a whole line to fight for the puck or at least 2 guys down low. This isn’t basketball where a dude can time his jump and keep dominating the backboard. Besides I don’t think his production would go way up from D men getting pucks to the net. Shatty was doing plenty of that on the PP along with Mika always hitting the goalies pads for juicy rebounds and it’s not like he took advantage of that and went ape crazy with all the lose pucks. Kreider may get by due to his god gifted body built but for anyone who watches hockey knew by now that the reality is that just about every elite forward center or winger are better at finishing lose pucks or tipping them in. Small guys like P Kane have better hands down low. Johnny hockey taps those backdoor plays and can make a high quality chance from a rebound everyday of the week and twice on Sunday. Simmonds is at a stage that I don’t think Kreids will ever get from making a living down low. The stuff I see him do down there reminds me of when Lucic was actually a good hockey during his Bruin days. It’s not like his play could ever mimic a Holmstrom type of player which is just a shame when you think about it. I like dude but when it comes to building superstars, I would take his freak of nature type of built and put it on someone like Zucc but never the other way around. Ps have you ever seen Jamie Benn fight for loose pucks? It’s maybe not fair to compare but there’s a huge difference when ones competing for a rebound.

  7. Robert Carroon says:

    Another disaster. Keeping the young players up in NY prevents the one team in the Franchise, the Wolf Pack, from even getting a shot at the AHL playoffs. At least let them play with a team that has spirit and a chance not the dismal bunch with Rangers on their jerseys.

    • Egelstein says:

      Do you, by chance, live in or near Hartford and frequent Pack games, and root for the Pack but not the Rangers? If not, I don’t see why this concern would even be on your radar.

      That said, keeping the young players up in NY – while a bevy of injuries are forcing that anyways, mind you – allows the front office to see what they have at the NHL level of competition and better evaluate their place in the league during and after the pending rebuild attempt. Even if there were zero injuries – again, in terms of being on the cusp of a rebuild – the Rangers should be looking to get some of these players up and see how their game translates.

      If scouting was an exact science, 1st rounders would never be busts and 7th rounders would never play an NHL minute. If the organization truly wants to move toward the future, best to give these young players a good look-see at their game in the big leagues rather than to let them toil in the AHL where their games have already been pretty well-defined at that level, to further advance the scouting profile on them. It’s not as though they are calling up 18 year old kids from the Swamp Rabbits here, because they have plenty of time to figure those guys out. Players like Pionk, Gilmour, and Lettieri however, they may be vital to the rebuild process.

      Even NHL teams whose seasons are completely and utterly lost don’t generally send down a player they believe belongs at the NHL level long-term to give the AHL squad an assist.

      • Egelstein says:

        Quick follow-up thought/opinion – I’d also bet most young players would tell you they’d rather be losing in the NHL than winning in the AHL.

  8. Orland says:

    It was far from a disaster. There will not be many games where the Rangers out shoot their opponent by almost a 3 to 2 ratio and still lose handily. And there will not be too many games where Halak out plays the King. Halak was excellent as he usually is against the Rangers (for whatever reason) and almost no one else. And puck luck was against the boys. Something will typically bounce into the goal a few times when one gets 50 SOG but it wasn’t meant to be. Since winning isn’t that important at this point it is just another entertaining game that didn’t go our way. The kids looked fine and got more valuable playing time. Of course losing to the Islanders is annoying but it doesn’t really matter. In fact it would be enjoyable to see the Islanders get the 8th slot and give up 7 goals a game to the Lightning in a short series.

    ps – need to keep Chytil and Anderson under the 9 game limit so we don’t burn off a year of control. They can come up at the very end of the season as they both deserve that.

  9. Agentsmith says:

    As larry writes this morning gotta soon consider sitting out nash grabner and zuc. At least against phili. Those games are always a train wreck and .. Gudas is always due for some thing stupid.

    • Swarty says:

      I dunno about that. Taking that line of thinking to a silly extreme – if McD is not traded now or over the summer should he sit out until next year’s deadline?

      My main man Justin would probably say that is a “slippery slope” kind of argument.

      It is a valid consideration though. Especially against the Flyers…

      • Mintgecko says:

        Nah it’s the stupid way to go and a for sure way to piss off the heart/soul/elite talent in Hank. This is why we won’t do it because Hank at the end of the day wants to get in the playoffs to see if his team could pull off a miracle run. I think the FO will try and sweat out any good in Zucc and Nash before they get traded. Then again it’s not like Zib knows how to take advantage of playing in between those two.

  10. Dave says:

    Embrace the tank. Love the tank. Be the tank.

    • Swarty says:

      Fuel the tank – one of your better lines

    • SalMerc says:

      To tank is one thing, but a tank without promise of a new dawn is depressing. Maybe when we have accumulated 3 first round picks I will feel better, but now we are just LOSERS.

      Need to move players way before the deadline.

    • Richter1994 says:

      It’s hard when you’re at MSG to openly root against the team, but deep down, it’s for the greater good.

    • Larry says:

      Don’t tell that to AV, AV is trying to win every game he can to become the winniest regular season coach in NHL history.

  11. SalMerc says:

    Rumor on the web that Edmonton might be interested in Grabner and Holden. Not sure what the return could be, but site mentioned that they need a shot in the arm for the next 20 games.

    • Dave says:

      That makes no sense. They aren’t making the playoffs. Maybe as free agents, sure. But they won’t give assets for these pending UFAs.

      Then again, Chiarelli gonna Chiarelli.

      • Mintgecko says:

        Include Vesey and make sure Nurse comes back
        Oiler’s might think that Vesey could take advantage of playing next to McDavid.

    • Richter1994 says:

      It’s like someone mentioned Nash to the Oilers, and it’s like WHY?

    • Larry says:

      Since the Oilers was Glen Sather’s old team, the Rangers are sure to give Oilers Grabner Holden and Nash for free.

    • Larry says:

      Since the Oilers was Glen Sather’s old team, the Rangers are sure to give Oilers Grabner Holden and Nash for free.

  12. Ray says:

    Why on earth is Hank playing every game? Wasn’t the idea to get him some rest, especially since they are not all-in for making the playoffs. Besides, Georgiev is blazing hot right now. He certainly was far inferior to Hank two months ago, will be a year from now, and probably will be a month from now. But I suspect he’s the best Range goalie today. (unless of course this long layoff has cooled him off).

    If the Rangers are not going to play their #2, they should bring up Halverson or Nell and give Georgiev a chance to get the Puck into the playoffs.

    • Ray says:

      Pack into the playoffs of course.

    • Egelstein says:

      AV probably knows his defensive system is absolute crap without an elite goalie (yet is too stubborn to change it due to his own hubris and high regard for himself, which is evident in his general smugness even if you never watched a game), and Hank is a competitor to the bone. So, my guess is, Hank wants to be out there for his own pride, and AV is more than happy to oblige since he’s looking for every win he can squeeze out to either pad his resume, or to try to convince the front office not to fire him once the season is over (for the love of all that is holy, please, no).