Archive for Game Wrap-ups
Today’s goal breakdown is from Pat Keogh, who will be contributing here on a more regular basis going forward. Be sure to follow him on Twitter.
The Rangers built on their Monday night success against the Sharks as they took on the Arizona Coyotes, beating them 4-1 in a game that including some interesting occurrences. Despite Arizona taking an early lead in the first period and stifling the Rangers in the neutral zone, the Rangers kept up the pressure, eventually tying the game on a brilliant goal by Chris Kreider midway through the second period. Kevin Hayes got them the lead early in the third after Mike Smith misplayed the puck behind the net amidst pressure from the Rangers, which was followed shortly thereafter by a Keith Yandle power play goal. Finally there was Rick Nash’s first goal of the season, an awarded goal that would have been a penalty shot on an empty net in the final moments of the game.
The Rangers top line of Rick Nash, Derek Stepan, and Mats Zuccarello drove the offense against the Coyotes, with Zuccarello’s playmaking ability and vision shining through, particularly on his assist to Chris Kreider in the second. Defensively they limited the Coyotes’ chances, for most of the game, despite letting up slightly during the late stages of the game. Although he let up a goal that he’d probably want back, Henrik Lundqvist made some crucial saves, including a highlight reel stop on a high-quality scoring chance from Anthony Duclair. Overall, despite Arizona clogging up the neutral zone and turning on the gas somewhat late in the game, the Rangers played a solid all around game., driving the offense and allowing few high-quality chances from their opponent.
It had been a rough three games prior to last night, capped with a pretty terrible overtime loss to the Devils. But the Rangers righted the ship by beating the San Jose Sharks by a score of 4-0. The Rangers played their best game of the season, limiting a potent Sharks offense to only a few quality chances throughout. The offense chipped in three goals, including one on the powerplay. Their penalty kill was perfect, including a killed 5-on-3.
More importantly, the defense showed up to play. Led by top pairing Ryan McDonagh and Kevin Klein, the Rangers really did a good job shutting down the Sharks. But it was their ability to finally chip in on offense and start rushes that really stood out. The defense had a hand in all three goals, something they need to do more consistently.
And then there was Antti Raanta, who was brilliant in this game, getting his first Rangers win and the shutout while making 22 saves.
Once again the Rangers found a way to play down to the level of an opponent. What was a fast start by the Rangers was in fact a false dawn. The Rangers came out quick in the first period creating chances, pressuring the Devils defense into mistakes and using their speed to enter the Devils zone all of which was evident in Derek Stepan’s opening score. A turnover forced by the impressive Oscar Lindberg resulted in the Rangers going the other way up ice and Lindberg’s excellent cross ice pass found a streaking Stepan who went to his backhand to put it under Corey Schneider.
As the game plodded along however, the Rangers progressively lost control of the game. The Devils outworked the Rangers in the second and deservedly tied it up following a turnover by the Rangers in their own zone. The Rangers coughed up the puck along the boards and Adam Henrique put the puck on net with a kneeling Dan Girardi screening Henrik Lundqvist. Lundqvist may have been unsighted on the play and maybe wasn’t tight enough to his post which allowed Henrique to follow up his own rebound to tie the game. That’s how the game stayed until overtime. The remainder of regulation saw a few chances exchanged but the Rangers never really had significant offensive zone time, a few isolated shifts aside.
The New York Rangers simply could not solve Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price tonight, dropping their second in a row by a score of 3-0. The game was a lot closer than the 3-0 score, as both goalies needed to make great saves throughout. This was a true goaltender duel, similar to that 1-0 Henrik Lundqvist/Martin Brodeur duel way back when. Lots of action, lots of scoring chances, just great saves.
Price made 25 saves, and while he made a lot look easy, they were not. Lundqvist made 30 saves, equally difficult. The Rangers actually dominated the first two periods, getting the majority of the shots and scoring chances. Problem is they had a rough third period, and it doomed them. There were long periods where they couldn’t get out of their own way.
The Winnipeg Jets served the New York Rangers their first loss of the season, beating the Rangers by a score of 4-1. The Rangers had a very strong game, perhaps their best at even strength, but it was special teams and Michael Hutchinson that did them in. The Rangers failed to score on five powerplays and allowed a shorthanded goal against. They also allowed two powerplay goals.
Hutchinson was straight up fantastic, stopping 40 shots, including 20 in the second period alone. It makes you wonder why he isn’t the starter in Winnipeg, he’s clearly better than Ondrej Pavelec. The Rangers out-chanced the Jets by a fairly wide margin in this one, but it was Hutchinson who out-dueled Henrik Lundqvist to steal the win. While this was the best display overall at even strength, it’s worth noting that the fourth line had a rough night.
The New York Rangers didn’t even give the Columbus Blue Jackets a chance in this one. The Rangers scored three times in the first six minutes of the game and didn’t look back. They were helped out by Henrik Lundqvist, who was unreal in this game. He made two saves that qualify for save of the year. I gif’d them (save 1, save 2). I thought this game would be a defensive battle with big hits, but the Rangers ensure it was a rout early.
Oscar Lindberg opened the scoring with the first two goals, and he now has four on the season. The fourth line also chipped in a goal, as Dominic Moore whacked a puck out of mid-air for his first of the season. In a game that I thought would be a defensive battle, both teams allowed many prime scoring chances. Lundqvist stood tall, slid tall, dove tall, and basically did everything tall, while Sergei Bobrobsky wasn’t able to keep up.
Boy was this game fun in the third period. The Blue Jackets are a tough, physical team, and this game had that feel to it early on. There were hits, there were penalties, there were borderline hits that went uncalled, and there were tempers flaring. But at the end of two periods, it was still 1-1. It wasn’t until the worst rule in hockey (puck over the glass) reared its ugly head that actual scoring took place.
The Rangers, down 2-1 late because of the penalty, scored three times in 1:17 late in the third to seal the deal. J.T. Miller and Oscar Lindberg combined to tie the game. Then Kevin Hayes caught Sergei Bobrovsky sleeping. Then Mats Zuccarello sealed it with his second of the game. It was so fast, I had trouble keeping up with the gifs.
The New York Rangers caught the Chicago Blackhawks in a bit of a Stanley Cup ceremony lull in the first period, jumping out to a 3-1 lead on the backs of their middle-six forwards. The Rangers came out aggressive, fast, got pucks to the net, and capitalized on a number of chances. Chicago was clearly overmatched in the first period. The Hawks settled down in the second period, cutting the lead to 3-2 and exploiting a Rangers top-four that has had a bit of a slow start to the preseason and season. If not for the Kevin Klein/Keith Yandle pairing, I’d say the Rangers are in trouble. But they survived, even with gaffes from all four of their top four.
Back to those middle-six, wow did they have a game. The Kreider-Stepan-Hayes line clicked, as did the Stalberg-Lindberg-Miller line. That sextet can really take the pressure off the top line, which didn’t have the best game. When the top line gets clicking, the Rangers have three fast, skilled lines. That fourth line was very solid as well. All in all, a solid first win for the Rangers.
Update: I added the video code from Sporting News, our video partner, to this post. However the video is blocked at work, so I can’t tell if the code is working or if the video fits on the screen. Can you guys let me know in the comments please?
The Rangers closed out the preseason with a 3-2 win over the Boston Bruins, ending the preseason with a 4-1-1 record. Preseason records don’t necessarily mean much, but you can tell a lot about the Rangers from this preseason (which we will get to, I promise). The team will travel to West Point for some bonding before heading to Chicago to open the season. Here are the bullet points from last night’s game.
- Dylan McIlrath better make this team, and he better play. He’s certainly earned it. As I’ve said, and as everyone who writes for this blog has said, if he can do what Klein does, at $2.3 million less, then it’s a no-brainer. We already know he can do what Tanner Glass does.
- Speaking of Klein and Glass, I know I only caught the last two periods, but I didn’t really notice them that much. I could be biased though since I am specifically watching for McIlrath.
- There was one play that I saw from Raphael Diaz that stuck with me. The puck was behind the Rangers net late in the first with the Bruins pressuring. Diaz lost his balance, but was able to dive and get the puck across to Dan Girardi. It was one of those solid plays that went unnoticed.
- As for Diaz’s game, I thought he was solid. Good puck decisions. Moved the puck well on the powerplay. Made a few miscues positionally in his own end, but nothing that would be deemed glaring.
- Viktor Stalberg and J.T. Miller went straight to the net for the Stalberg goal (the Ryan McDonagh shot). Good to see someone other than Chris Kreider in front.
The Rangers showed some moxy last night, erasing a 2-0 lead in the third period on goals from Dan Girardi and Chris Kreider to force overtime. Then it was the Keith Yandle show, as he forced a turnover, turned that into a penalty shot, then scored on the penalty shot to give the Rangers a win. It was definitely a nice win, even if it was preseason.
- Dylan McIlrath is going to force a Kevin Klein trade at some point. I only caught the second half of the game, but what I saw was a poised defensemen who was calm with the puck. He’s not perfect, but he’s not the kid that runs everyone over and hangs his partner out to dry. If he can do what Klein does –I think he can do more– at less than half the cost, then it’s worth trading him for futures.
- Keith Yandle is really, really good.
- It was nice seeing the crowd that into it for a playoff game. Crowds like that all season long would be a refreshing change.
- Dan Girardi giveth, Dan Girardi taketh. Girardi did a nice job finding open space for the first goal, but he also lost Wayne Simmonds on Philly’s second goal. Worth noting that the goal came on a Jarret Stoll faceoff loss.
- Why is it important to note the faceoff loss? Because everyone seems to think Stoll is a god-send because of faceoffs. He loses some too, you know.