Category: Game Wrap-ups

Flat Rangers fall to Penguins and back to .500

Sigh. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Sigh. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

I guess we could have seen this coming after the game in Ft. Lauderdale on New Year’s Eve. The Rangers were sloppy in that game, but managed a win because the Florida Panthers are awful. They played the same way last night in Pittsburgh, and got slaughtered for their (lack of) effort. The Rangers turned the puck over more often than I can remember, and several of those turnovers resulted in goals against.

Turnovers weren’t the only issue. Too many Rangers were coasting, not doing dirty work, not cutting to the net, and blowing coverage in the defensive zone. In short, this was an awful game for the Rangers. I don’t know what else to say here.

On to the goals:

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Powerplay perfection propels Rangers to victory

FInally. (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

Finally. (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Rangers went 3-for-3 with the man advantage last night to bury the Tampa Bay Lightning by a score of 4-3. The Rangers –without two of their top four defensemen, dressing a rookie in his first game, and three very inconsistent bottom-pairing players– managed to erase an early 2-1 deficit with three straight goals against a good Lightning club. Connor Allen played 16 minutes while working his way to the top-four, and afterwards AV said Allen was “one of the better defensemen on the ice.”

Rick Nash played a great game, finally finding the back of the net. Henrik Lundqvist made 37 saves and looked like he could be regaining his old form. Mats Zuccarello had a goal and two assists. Chris Kreider continued his Calder push with another goal. All told, this was a solid team win that New York can build on as they head to Miami to face the Panthers on New Year’s Eve.

On to the goals:

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Rangers play strong game, can’t manage a win in Washington

Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images

Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images

This loss is a tough one. Not because the Rangers were outplayed, not because they had a ton of defensive breakdowns that masked a strong performance, but because they controlled the majority of the game and still managed to lose. Dan Girardi’s third period post on the 4-on-4 foreshadowed the impending doom that was the Eric Fehr game winner late in the period.

The Rangers managed 60% Corsi and Fenwick possession rates this game, but Phillip Grubauer (who now splits starts evenly with Braden Holtby) made some key saves –38 of them– when needed in addition to puck luck rearing its ugly head again. Special teams actually worked in the Rangers advantage, killing three of four Washington power plays (considering that unit, 75% is solid) and converting on one of three power plays. But controlling play doesn’t get you the win unfortunately.

On to the goals:

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Although dominant, Rangers need shootout to down Leafs

Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Rangers needed 65+ minutes of hockey to down a pesky Leafs team that just wouldn’t go away last night. Jonathan Bernier played a phenomenal game for Toronto and was the reason why the Rangers didn’t blow this game wide open in the second period.  Bernier made 41 saves, and a lot of them were on prime opportunities. Luckily Cam Talbot was up to the task as well, losing his shutout on a controversial goal.

One thing that really stuck out in this game was the play of J.T. Miller. The biggest thing we have harped on about his play is that he chases the puck and needs to learn to play in all three zones. Over the past few games since his call up, he seems to have put it all together. He played a great game last night, and his goal should have held up as the game winner.

On to the goals:

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Rangers right the ship, dominate Minnesota in 4-1 win

Photo by Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images

Photo by Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images

There is one stat, aside from the final score, that speaks volumes in this game. The Rangers forced the Minnesota Wild into 18 turnovers. This is just one game after the Rangers committed 16 turnovers against the Islanders, so they got the message. Of course, it took about ten minutes into the first period for them to get that message.

The Rangers forced turnovers by pressuring the puck on the forecheck, something we had seen against Calgary and Pittsburgh earlier last week. They didn’t have many defensive miscues, although one did lead to the lone Wild goal. It wasn’t perfect, but it was a much-needed win.

On to the goals:

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Turnovers and sloppy play lead to disappointing loss to Islanders

Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

This was a rough game for the Rangers. They gave up a pair of short handed goals, they committed 16 turnovers (to the Islanders 5), and the goaltending didn’t bail them out as they dropped a disappointing game to the Islanders by a score of 5-3. Henrik Lundqvist really isn’t to blame for the way the goals were scored, but the fact of the matter is he only made 15 saves. Hank blamed himself for the loss, and there is a certain level of blame associated with a goalie who is sporting a sub-.910 SV%.

That said, the blame here is team-wide. The Rangers didn’t forecheck as well as they should. They turned the puck over more times than I can remember. They gave up a pair of short handed goals for the first time in five years. This was a sloppy game all around.

On the positive side, this marked the third game in a row that the team came back from two goals down.

On to the goals:

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Rangers manage a point, lose in shootout

Photo by Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images

Photo by Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images

There won’t be a goal breakdown this morning, a product of my travels to the middle of the state of Illinois. But the hotel bar was kind enough to put the game on for me, so I am at least able to provide some in-game thoughts. I miss bullet points, so I’m bringing them back for today.

  • They may not have won, but the Rangers again showed some great determination to come back from two down to at least get a point in this game.
  • The first Pens goal was a product of banging away at a loose puck in front. You can make an argument that the Rangers could have been more physical in front, but it’s tough to put blame on any mistake or defensive breakdown there.
  • Carl Hagelin sure does have some speed. He made everything happen when he tied it at one goal a piece in the second. He batted the puck out of the air, used his speed to gain room, and beat Marc Andre Fleury five hole.
  • I  don’t think there was a slash on the Pens second goal. It looked like Pascal Dupuis came down on Ryan McDonagh’s stick, but it didn’t break. McDonagh’s stick broke later, at the top half, when he played the body. I thought it was unrelated and unfortunate.
  • On the Brandon Sutter goal – Michael Del Zotto’s job is to force him to the outside there. I understand that the inside is Sutter’s backhand, but the defenseman’s job is to force to the outside. He did not do that. It was a bad play in an otherwise decent game for MDZ (64.4% CF$ with 40% O/D St%).

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Second and third string goalies befuddle Rangers, losing streak hits four

Dejection. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Dejection. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Once again the Rangers played a game to a lesser team (at least on paper) playing their backup goalie(s). Once again the compete level of this team did not match the expectations. Once again bad decisions and failed defensive coverages led to goals and chances. Once again, the Rangers lost. It’s one thing to do the right things and lose, it’s something completely different –and far worse– when you lose while doing everything wrong.

The Blue Jackets chased Henrik Lundqvist (by no fault of his own) before the first period even ended. Hank was victimized by two odd man rushes and a shot that hit one of his defensemen. Meanwhile the Rangers couldn’t get more than two past a backup and a backup to a backup, despite the fact that both were giving away more rebounds than the New York Knicks.

Enough ranting, on to the goals:

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Another DVR fail, so some points from being at the game

Photo by Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images

Photo by Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images

My DVR failed again last night, as Optimum told me the game was on NBCSN. It was not, and I recorded soccer instead. Luckily (or unluckily), I was at the game last night. While I won’t be able to give a goal breakdown, I can still manage some thoughts on the game:

  • Losing Ryan Callahan is a big blow, but maybe the time off for his sprained knee will help heal his shoulder as well. I’m convinced he was not 100% when returning, and it showed on the ice.
  • This was another game where the Rangers failed to show any real urgency or desire to win. Too many lazy backchecks, missed coverages, failed zone entries, avoiding taking the body, etc. The list goes on and on, but you all see it on the ice.
  • There were very few people at the game last night. I’d say MSG was 75% full. Some of it may have to do with the Rangers record, some with the weather, some with the fact it was the Predators. But there was no one there, and The Garden was quiet for the entire game, except when they got scored on.
  • This team sure is boring to watch, maybe that’s why no one showed up.
  • In 2011-2012, teams hated coming to MSG or having the Rangers come to town. That was a team that hit, fought along the boards, and made you pay for every inch of space out there. This team, not so much. Too vanilla. Even the additions of Arron Asham and Derek Dorsett can’t change the attitude of this team.

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Rangers forget they had a game, don’t show up for 4-1 loss to Washington

Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

After a tough loss on Saturday against the Devils, the Rangers had the Washington Capitals, a team that Henrik Lundqvist has absolutely owned over the past three meetings. As long as they put forth a solid effort, they should have at least come out with a point. But instead they forgot to show up, and allowed the Caps to walk all over them in their own building. After a scoreless first, the Rangers allowed the Caps to jump out to a 3-0 lead without much fight. After that, the Caps did a good job collapsing around the slot and protecting the house.

Henrik Lundqvist played a solid game last night, but the team in front of him made rookie Phillipp Grubauer look like Patrick Roy. There aren’t many positives for this game, and I’m going to avoid harping on negatives. But I will say this: The New York Rangers succeed as a team and they fail as a team.

On to the goals:

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