Archive for Game Wrap-ups
The Tampa Bay Lightning ended the New York Rangers’ winning streak with a late shorthanded goal. Valtteri Filpulla and J.T. Brown hooked up for the winner with a minute remaining in the game with Brian Boyle in the box. Dominic Moore tied the game late with a solid individual effort, and the game looked like it was swinging in their favor after the Boyle penalty. But that’s how dangerous the Lightning can be.
This was a battle of two teams that may very well meet in the Eastern Conference Final again this season. You are looking at two of the top four in the East, and Tampa was without half of their forwards for this game.
Mats Zuccarello has owned the Toronto Maple Leafs this year. He has six points in the two games against Toronto this year, and has scored four goals in those games. Tonight he buried one in the final minute to give the Rangers a 4-3 win in a snoozer at MSG. Antti Raanta was great, as expected, and Jonathan Bernier was pretty atrocious, allowing two horrendous goals. The win is the Rangers ninth in a row, and they are now 11-0-2 in their last 13 games. Unbelievable.
During the second intermission, Derek Stepan commented about his goal from the red line, stating he plays for “Knicks bounces.” That has to be frustrating for players. This ice was choppy, and there was no flow in the game because of it. Pucks were hopping over sticks on routine plays. There’s a lot of discussion about more goals making games exciting, but this game was dreadful. Give me action and flow over flukey goals any day.
The New York Rangers made it eight wins in a row, beating the Ottawa Senators in a shootout. The game itself was rather uneventful, excluding overtime. The Rangers put 34 shots on Craig Anderson, including a decent amount from the slot area. Henrik Lundqvist made some pretty spectacular saves, which is becoming par for the course. But this game just didn’t have that level of excitement that others had.
Overtime, on the other hand, was crazy. Chances galore for both teams. I actually gave up trying to gif everything because there was so much I couldn’t keep up. That was by far the best overtime I’ve ever seen.
Before the goals, I wanted to touch on the Zack Smith headshot and ensuing fight with Chris Kreider (gifs here). That’s a clear headshot that the refs missed. Fine, it happens. But giving Kreider 17 minutes and Smith only 7 minutes is laughable.
Despite heavy pressure from a formidable St Louis team, the Rangers held out and maintained their win streak, taking advantage of their offensive opportunities and scoring six goals in the process. The game easily could have been closer for the Rangers had it not been for some phenomenal saves by Henrik Lundqvist. While the Rangers definitely need to tighten up their game in a lot of aspects, especially defensively, it’s hard to be upset with six goals against one of the toughest teams in the NHL.
This was yet another game where the Rangers did not trail, which is becoming a great trend during this win streak. Goaltending is hot, scoring is hot, and both are picking up a troubled blue line that is struggling. This is a team that isn’t even clicking on all cylinders yet.
Rangers 1, Blues 0
The New York Rangers made it six wins in a row last night, topping the Carolina Hurricanes by a score of 3-0, giving Henrik Lundqvist his first shutout of the season. This isn’t one of those games that the Rangers were “lucky to escape,” despite getting outplayed for stretches by the Canes. However, the Rangers were certainly prone to playing down to their inferior opponent. They had a weak start to the game and a weak finish to the second period. Hank stood tall throughout, as per usual, stopping all 33 shots he faced.
Despite the periods of relatively weak hockey at times, the Rangers were still solid on the forecheck, and it resulted in their first two goals, both scored in a 13 second window in the first period. It wasn’t their forecheck that was the problem, that’s for sure. Rick Nash was a force all game, and Mats Zuccarello played probably his best game as a Ranger.
What was a problem, aside from the defensive zone play, was the undisciplined play. The Rangers took six penalties in this game. Their penalty killing is top notch though, so they killed them all off. It’s been a problem for a few games though.
The Rangers got off to a quick start against the Caps last night, jumping out to a 1-0 lead early on an Oscar Lindberg goal. After relinquishing the lead, the Rangers scored three straight and never looked back en route to a 5-2 win. The Rangers scored twice in the second, but they were completely dominated in that period. Elite goaltending was the difference here, as Henrik Lundqvist was sensational in that period. Hank stopped 13 of 14 shots, including two powerplays.
The top line looked really good in this game, as Mats Zuccarello, Derick Brassard, and Rick Nash pressured the Caps constantly, got a few scoring chances, and buried two goals in the second period. That said, it was only the third line that finished in the black in the possession game. This shouldn’t surprise anyone, as the Caps basically pinned the Rangers in their own zone for two periods. Just one goal though, and that was the difference.
Mats Zuccarello recorded his first career hat trick in a 3-1 victory over Toronto on Friday night. The team’s offense came from the top down, with Rick Nash and Derick Brassard picking up assists on all three of Zucarello’s goals, in addition to eight scoring chances between the three of them. Ryan McDonagh and Kevin Klein also played an exceptional game, with the captain leading the team in individual shot attempts and the pair helping to set up the play that led to Zuc’s second goal. Despite three less than stellar powerplays and a slight loss of momentum in the second period, the Rangers maintained their composure and continued to attack well into the third period. The Maple Leafs scored their only goal of the night late in the third period with their goalie pulled, after having an earlier goal waved off on a goalie interference call. It was a solid victory all around, with the top line and top defensive pairing leading the way.
Rangers 1, Maple Leafs 0
The New York Rangers started sluggish, which is expected on the second of back-to-backs, but finished strong en route to a 4-1 win over the Calgary Flames. The Rangers gave up a goal early, but Antti Raanta kept them in it early –making 22 saves– while the Blueshirts got their legs under them. The first period was pretty ugly, as the Rangers looked slow, were sloppy in their own end, and weren’t generating any chances.
The second period was better, as the Rangers got a few bounces, including a big one that led to Dan Girardi’s first of the season. Then they dominated the third period, putting the game out of reach with two goal in quick succession in the middle of the period. It was clear that the Rangers were playing better in the offensive zone as the game went on, winning board battles and getting guys in front for those bounces. In this game, you make your own luck.
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.