Rangers Continue to Pile Up Consolation Points, Lose to Blue Jackets

In their last ten games, the Rangers have played into overtime on six occasions, losing five of those games. In another season, this trend would be a mere footnote. It would be an anomaly given scant annotation at the bottom of a New York Post or Daily News game recap.

But in this particular season, the Rangers’ first of a rebuild, the extra-session losses are becoming an actual nuisance for a franchise that equidistant between a playoff spot and dead last in the entire NHL. While the Rangers aren’t actively tanking, when they lose it would behoove them to do so in regulation more often, or they may find themselves in the unenviable position of having the league’s worst win-loss record at the end of the year, but not in possession of the best lottery odds for the first overall draft pick.  That would be a true worst-case scenario.

Last night’s game largely followed the script of the previous nine. The Rangers battled hard, led by a goal, capitulated under late pressure and lost in overtime. It wasn’t all bad. Chris Kreider and Kevin Hayes were absolute beasts, and Brady Skjei looks to be coming out of his early-season malaise. Overall, the Rangers limited Columbus’ chances, and played a strong third period until Ryan Strome’s goal was disallowed correctly upon review for offside. Columbus won it just 31 seconds into overtime.  Let’s take a look at the goals:

CBJ 1, NYR 0

This sequence starts with a terrible neutral zone turnover by Kevin Hayes (it was probably his only bad play of the game, and it was costly). After Cam Atkinson picks off the pass, the Rangers never get set defensively. Boone Jenner makes an alert pass and finds Oliver Bjorkstrand, who has lots of time in the slot to finish.

 

CBJ 1, NYR 1

After his turnover, Hayes redeems himself by executing this 3-on-1 perfectly. He waits out Zach Werenski and slides a perfect pass to Jimmy Vesey for the easy tap-in goal. This was a play straight out of the good days of the AV era, as the Rangers generated offense off a turnover at the blue line and finished the play with a pretty slot-line pass. Credit Vlad Namestnikov for starting the play.

 

CBJ 2, NYR 1

The hot take here is that it’s a goal Henrik Lundqvist will want back, but the real story is how the Blue Jackets break the Rangers’ forecheck and exit the defensive zone. This is what winning hockey looks like. Take note, Rangers defensemen.

 

CBJ 2, NYR 2

David Quinn, when asked recently about the five forward power play unit, vowed to blow it up (literally, he said “Kaboom”). But the coach stuck with it, and was rewarded just seven seconds into the Rangers only man-advantage. Chris Kreider did what he does best (he has the most deflected-in goals in the NHL since 2014, per MSG!), tipping in Mats Zuccarello’s wrist-shot.

 

NYR 3, CBJ 2

Brady Skjei makes this play happen on his own, skating coast-to-coast and beating multiple Columbus checks. His drop pass needed a fortunate bounce off a skate, but it found its way to the opportunistic Kreider, who potted his 19th goal of the year.

 

NYR 3, CBJ 3

The Rangers were rightfully upset after this goal, as the face-off probably should have been retaken (replays showed the puck never hit the ice after it was dropped by the linesman). The Blue Jackets took advantage of the bounces – not just off the face-off, but also off of Marc Staal’s leg – and tied the game.

 

CBJ 4, NYR 3 (OT)

Kevin Hayes got beat to the outside by Pierre-Luc Dubois. Hayes probably should have given him more space, but Dubois really turned on the jets and made a great play. Such is life when it’s 3 on 3.

 

Heatmap


The Rangers played roughly to their season averages, with Columbus owning 55% of the total shot attempts at 5v5 (48-39), and winning the scoring chances and high danger chances battles (28-18 and 8-5, respectively). Still, the Rangers were by no means bad in this game, and indeed might have won it if Strome had been able to stay onside.

After a very disjointed December schedule, the Rangers will settle into an every-other-day rhythm for the next few weeks. They travel to Nashville on Saturday for a game against the struggling Predators.  Game time is 8:00 PM ET.

14 thoughts on “Rangers Continue to Pile Up Consolation Points, Lose to Blue Jackets

  • Dec 28, 2018 at 11:49 am
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    Haven’t been able to post in a while (been a busy couple of months) but still always reading the posts and comments, hope everyone had a good holiday season … what a weird year it’s been so far. I can’t root for them to lose, I go into every game hoping they play well and win. They’ve been my team for 25 years. But I’m well aware of the difference between the 12th pick in the draft and the 5th pick in the draft (or even a potential lottery top 3). I was all on board with trading Hayes in September and then he goes OFF this season. He looks like a different player – is it Quinn being able to unleash him or is it the contract year? I dunno, I think it might be a combo of Quinn and Hayes finally feeling comfortable and coming into his own which is why I would be down for signing him for 5 years with a limited NMC (something I didn’t think I would of said over the summer).

    We’ve got 4 of our picks playing in the World Juniors (Chytil and Andersson would be there too if they weren’t with the big club). So we’ve re-stocked the pipeline and we may have Tampa’s first rounder this year, along with the potential of another first rounder if we trade Zucc. And we have our pick which will most likely be top 10.

    This team has also been hurt a lot this year (as all teams are), and we clearly don’t have the depth most teams do. However, I think when everyone is healthy, we are a halfway decent team that could fight for the wild card spot but we haven’t been fully healthy since November. Not saying we would get the Wild Card but we could battle it out into March/early April.

    The McLeod signing was dumb, he’s not a great hockey player (but isn’t strange that they’ve fallen off a cliff since he broke his hand in the fight against the Islanders?).

    There’s so much more that has happened, don’t have to get into now but it has been really weird. I can’t figure out who/what I should be rooting for at times. I just want to fast forward to February and see where we’re at. Last year was a complete debacle and I felt like after the New Year, the team just quit. I think what I’m hoping to see from this team in 2019 is that the compete level is there night in and night out. Because I got to the point where I couldn’t even watch them last year because they checked out.

    I don’t have that same feeling this year. They battle every night, and although at times very inconsistent (the D is a hot mess), they fight hard till the end of the game.

    Hope everyone has a great New Years, and LGR!

    • Dec 28, 2018 at 12:12 pm
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      Yeah it’s called Hayes has a chance to put up 45+ points due to increase in ice time, quality linemates and PP1 time he continues to be a force in all 3 zones and while being shorthanded. Expect a 6-7 years and a NMC clause for the first 4 or 5 years.

    • Dec 28, 2018 at 1:09 pm
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      Well said Dan, well said. I really don’t care one way or another about the results. Last night was a game they should have won, in some ways we should be glad it was just a consolation point. As things stand now this team just needs to re-learn how to win these tight games, we use to in the not so distant past and we will again — next year or the year after that hopefully.

      • Dec 28, 2018 at 2:54 pm
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        “in some ways we should be glad it was just a consolation point.”

        as it relates to the Rangers, there is zero good when it comes to these useless and actually harmful single points.

        • Dec 28, 2018 at 4:27 pm
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          Would you have preferred then that they won the game, like they should have? Seriously, don’t be so negative. It seems the Rangers can’t do anything right in your eyes of late … they win and you want them to lose, they lose and you think they suck and should play better, they get 1 point and it’s useless/harmful.

          • Dec 28, 2018 at 6:19 pm
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            It’s not negative, it’s real world, it’s reality.

            I hate this “middle of the pack” s–t. And that’s where this is headed if they end up just keeping the guys they have now.

            They need a FRANCHISE player in the draft. That’s top 2 or 3, if they’re lucky.

            They need no less than 2 more quality D men.

            They need a top goal scorer that will score year after year after year.

            Tell me any of this is wrong. It’s not negative.

            I invest plenty of time and money into this team. I want improvement but I am willing to wait for it, if it’s done the right way. So, if it were up to me, then I would have traded ALL the vets on the team, and REALLY start from scratch, as opposed to this half assed crap that they are doing now.

            And again, you pick and choose what you want to respond to me. Because I said that they played well against Toronto, even though they lost. And I have acknowledged good play from players who deserve play.

            And yes, these “loser” points are useless for what they need to do, and that is draft at the top of the draft, without asking them to lose on purpose.

            • Dec 29, 2018 at 12:50 pm
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              They aren’t quite middle of the pack and they’ll end up with a good draft pick, unless they decide to go on another 9-1 run. After all there’s still more than half a season of games to play and they will slowly slip down the rankings as the season progresses IMO.

              • Dec 29, 2018 at 1:43 pm
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                Probably true, agreed.

          • Dec 28, 2018 at 7:19 pm
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            You’re a good guy and you want the team to do well, like we all do.

            But sometimes you have to take a step back to go 2 steps forward. The Rangers’ FO is not willing to do that, which is a disservice to the team and the fans.

          • Dec 29, 2018 at 6:13 am
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            I don’t get it either when fans talk about the team finishing near the bottom to get a top draft pick which is usually a crap shoot. There are fans on here that use the word “tank” which , to me, defies reality unless we are the black sox. Does anyone really think the players tank or do you think they should tank? The players are thoroughbreds some better than others but they all want to succeed. They are no where close to being the average person. When we stay home from work because of a head cold they are playing with a lot worst ailments. Nobody’s tanking unless the front office and coach put players on the ice who don’t belong. I can’t subscribe to the philosophy that if you are going to miss the playoffs you should finish close to last. The game is played to WIN. If you get in the playoffs as a wild card or 3rd place and lose in the first round should we have tanked because we didn’t advance.

            • Dec 29, 2018 at 6:34 am
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              I’ve gone to 14 home games so far and NOT ROOTED FOR THEM TO LOSE ONCE.

              There’s a big difference between knowing that a team is not good enough to make the playoffs, hoping for a high draft pick and rooting for them to lose. I do not root for them to lose.

              But by the same token, if this were me running the ship, then I trade the vets except for maybe a select few, get what I could in draft picks and prospects, and let the young players play. That’s a true rebuild.

              Being a .500 hockey team is the worst case scenario, IMO. They won’t make the playoffs and they will not get a top 3 draft pick. Though the tougher part of the schedule starts now, so the situation may end up taking care of itself.

              Hank’s getting frustrated so that does not bode well for the team overall. But by the same token, he knew the situation here, so what did he expect?

  • Dec 28, 2018 at 12:29 pm
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    These ot pts is going to cause this to be a wasted year in some respects we needed a top 5 pick this is not a playoff talented team. Hank will prevent us from getting a top 5 pick

  • Dec 28, 2018 at 12:57 pm
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    I can’t find stats for this observation but this team seems to play harder and not give up as many goals just after they’ve scored and seem to fight back harder then in years past just after opponents score.

    Zuuuccccc, hard to type this, but it’s time the Garden faithful cheer for him while he is wearing another teams colors.
    it’s time

    LGR!!!

  • Dec 28, 2018 at 5:33 pm
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    Fear not! still only 3 or 4 points outside of a top 5 lottery position

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