Archive for Game Wrap-ups
By all accounts, the Rangers dominated the Red Wings last night. However they could not solve Jimmy Howard after the first period, falling 2-1 in a fast paced game. Howard was the story of this game, standing on his head and stopping many difficult shots as the Rangers peppered him with scoring chance after scoring chance. Alas, they could not solve him.
This is the second time in four games where the Rangers have played a strong game, but got PDO’d into a loss. Howard was magnificent, and it was one bad goal that led to the loss last night. Such is life sometimes. It’s game four of 82, so there’s not much cause for concern. The process is there, and it will even out as time goes on. That is, as long as they continue to play this way.
The Rangers put up a touchdown on the San Jose Sharks last night, barely holding on for a 7-4 win. It sounds weird to say they held on for a win by three, but they did allow the Sharks to get to within a goal –after being up by three– before scoring two empty netters. Chris Kreider led the Rangers with another multi-point game as seven different Rangers scored in the win.
The one troubling aspect here is that the defense again gave up a ton of goals, including three in the third period. This was a much closer game than it needed to be. There weren’t any weak goals by Antti Raanta, it was just allowing too much room for the Sharks to maneuver. As an elite NHL team, San Jose makes you pay. But the Rangers made them pay more.
On to the goals:
The Rangers dropped a game to the Blues last night in St. Louis, and boy do we have some things to unpack here. What needs to be said prior to this bullet point recap is this: the Rangers played well and were on the wrong side of PDO last night, so let’s take this loss with a grain (or twelve) of salt.
- The first goal, and beginning of the game, featured some bouncing pucks and attempts to settle play. The goal was a bad hop over Girardi’s stick at the blue line for a Tarasenko breakaway. Fun fact: he doesn’t miss those. Ever.
The Rangers started off the season on the right foot, as their offense shined in a 5-3 win over the Islanders. Jaroslav Halak kept this game interesting in the first period, as he was very sharp and basically kept the Isles in it. But it wasn’t enough, as the Rangers put up a five-spot on him by the time the night was through.
As expected, the defense still remains a concern for the Blueshirts. There were some pretty terrible breakdowns, some of which led to goals. If this team is going to hang Henrik Lundqvist out to dry all season, then they are going to need to score five per game to win. But a win is a win in the first game of the year. Lessons are learned. They adjust. They move on.
On to the goals:
Boy was this a boring game. The Isles and Rangers played like they knew it was preseason, except the Rangers played like that with half the lineup fighting for a spot on the roster. I find that to be frustrating, but it’s the fourth game in six nights, so it is what it is. Not many Rangers impressed last night with cuts looming.
- Way too many people make something out of who has the ‘A’ in a preseason game. This is the second time Glass has had the ‘A’ and people freaked out. Relax. It’s the preseason.
- The Rangers didn’t really get much going. They were bland offensively, didn’t gain the zone often, and were just unable to get shots off. Considering there were two lines that could be dressing next week, that’s not that good.
- There were a lot of defensive miscues and odd man rushes given up. Says a lot about the defensemen that were playing, as three of them are on the bubble. All of Brady Skjei, Adam Clendening, and Dylan McIlrath had rough games. John Gilmour too, but we always knew he was headed to Hartford anyway.
For a preseason game, last night’s OT loss to the Flyers had a little bit of everything that encompasses Rangers/Flyers. It had physical play, it had dirty play, it had good defense, it had scoring bursts, and it left a seed for the regular season. The Rangers may have lost, but they erased a 3-0 lead in the third period to get “a point” in the preseason standings. It may not seem like much, but showing the guys to come back like that means a lot for the kids and playing the right way.
- First things first, that hit by Radko Gudas on Jimmy Vesey was nasty. That’s the type of hit the league is trying to get rid of, and I guarantee that Gudas won’t be suspended because Vesey turned. But here’s the thing, the hockey play there is to stop, turn, and gain some space. The turn is the hockey play, getting creamed from behind is not. Here’s a link to multiple angles of the hit.
- Credit to Dylan McIlrath for jumping in and literally dragging Gudas out to fight. He wound up taking on Jakub Voracek as well, who did not get penalized for third man in. I have never seen that penalty called in my life. Not once.
- Don’t know why Vesey was back. It’s the preseason, feel like it makes sense to take caution with your offseason prize. But what do I know?
Well I did not get a chance to watch the game last night, so I figure this is a good time to reintroduce the Twitter recap. Because when we can’t get a goal breakdown or recap, we rely on you for commentary. Also, if you haven’t been following on Twitter, we have a Snapchat now (snap: blueseatblogs). If you are going to a game and want to take over the account, reach out to Becky (@bhabs37).
I’m glad I wasn’t on Twitter to see the reactions to this one. Must have been entertaining.
Another game, another multi-point night for Brandon Pirri. He scored a goal and an assist in the first period and added a powerplay goal in the third. In two games, he has a line of 3-2-5. Pirri was the entirety of the Rangers offense, as they beat the Devils 3-1 to improve to 2-0 on the preseason. Since it’s the preseason, bullet points sum up how the kids played better than goal breakdowns. On to it:
- Nick Holden looked like he belonged early, leaving Mike Cammalleri wide open in front. Antti Raanta bailed him out. But then he bailed out Raanta later in the period. Funny how that works.
- Jimmy Vesey got sprung for a break early by Kevin Hayes, and wow what speed. If Hayes and Vesey click with Nash, that’s some incredible speed, talent, and vision on one line.
- Apparently Hayes lost 20 pounds, per the broadcast crew. That’s interesting. Obviously it’ll help him be quicker. But what bothers me is that he lost 20 lbs in about four months. Would take me two years to do that.
- John Gilmour has a rocket of a shot. It seems like the Rangers have targeted guys that look to shoot recently.
The World Cup of Hockey has finally started its official matchups, and Team USA and Europe had the distinct privilege of being the ones to open the tournament. Things didn’t go exactly as planned for the United States however, with the squad falling losing in a 3-0 shutout despite lofty expectations and a relatively easy opponent.
While Team USA tried to play a hard hitting, gritty game to take control of the action, Europe’s patience and playmaking paid off, taking away space from the Americans and setting up multiple odd-man situations. This provided something of an upset for the Europeans, and gives Team USA an uphill battle going forward as they look ahead to Canada and the Czech Republic.
Europe 1 USA 0
It was a disappointing end to the season to say the least, with the shock of Rangers’ blowout loss to Pittsburgh away matched only by their previous two efforts at home. The game was microcosmic of the season – flashes of pomising play at the beginning, with defensive breakdowns and endemic failure getting worse over time. This loss was the kind of game where you wished for a mercy rule, not only for our sake, but for Henrik Lundqvist’s, who despite being the best Ranger of the past decade is sure to receive some of the blame for the Rangers’ early playoff exit this year.
This playoff series against the Penguins was troubling but unsurprising for many fans who had seen underlying issues with the team papered over by stellar goaltending all season. It was the kind of series that makes you worry that the window is just about closed, and it makes this offseason that much more critical for Jeff Gorton.