Game Wrap-ups

Rangers/Senators recap: Turnovers sink Rangers

Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers. There’s a reason why I said that three times. The three Senators goals (with a goalie in net) were the direct result of three New York Rangers turnovers. Brian Boyle had the first, John Mitchell had the second, and Michael Del Zotto had the third. Many people blamed Martin Biron for the loss, but that’s laughable. Sure, the third goal should have been smothered, but the first two were not his fault. It’s been a while since the Rangers have lost two games in a row in regulation. It’s best they get it out of their system now, as opposed to April.

First Period

  • It’s tough to say that the Rangers played poorly in the first period, even if they came out of it down 2-1. They had a good start to the game with a great forecheck, and it evenually led to a goal.
  • Speaking of that goal, the pass from Brad Richards to Ryan Callahan was magnificent, but that finish by Cally was even better. What a great goal all around.
  • John Mitchell had an interesting period. He made a great play on Erik Karlsson to force a turnover, then found a wide open John Scott for a breakaway. But later, he made a poor clearing attempt, and it led to the Sens second goal.
  • That Scott breakaway was actually a great save by Ben Bishop, who had a strong period.
  • It’s tough to really understand all the hate on Martin Biron. He allowed two goals, of which one was a deflection off Stu Bickel, and one was a rebound off the Mitchell turnover where Marc Staal failed to cover his man. Some people irrationally hate.
  • Marty had a decent period. Yes, he got beat twice on four shots. But, as a goalie, you consider it a win when someone misses the net. It means you took away enough of an angle that they were forced to shoot wide.
  • Speaking of those two Ottawa goals: Brian Boyle with a bad turnover and then Condra found Smith for a wide open shot that deflected off Bickel; followed by a turnover by Mitchell and failed defensive coverage. The common theme? Turnovers.

Second Period

  • The second period was when I started noticing that the Rangers have gotten away from their main strategy to beat trapping teams: dump and chase. Ottawa was trapping the entire game (1-1-3 or 1-2-2) and the Rangers were still trying to gain the zone. They were successful early in the year by dumping and chasing. They haven’t done that in the past few games.
  • Something else they’ve stopped doing: crashing the net. Bishop was having rebound trouble, and no one was there to bang home the garbage goal. This is not only killing the Rangers at even strength, but it’s why they can’t get any powerplay luck either.
  • The Richards-owned powerplay was a pretty good powerplay though. They did everything but score. Story of the season to be honest.
  • How about that Chris Neil? In the first period he sticks out his knee and nails Boyle with a knee-on-knee, then in the second period he knocks down Prust from behind. And remember when the Rangers almost signed him? I shudder to think that he could have been on this team. But then again, if he were signed, Sean Avery wouldn’ have been brought back, and I wouldn’t have to answer 15,000 tweets about him on a daily basis.
  • Joe spent a lot of time talking about players and their plus/minus. Could there be any more of a useless stat in hockey? In sports? I mean, Marek Malik led the league in the stat in 2005-2006…shouldn’t that say it all? If you want a better stat, stick with plus/minus per 60. It factors ice time into the equation.

Third Period

  • How in the world did Erik Karlsson catch up to Carl Hagelin? I didn’t even know someone could catch up to him. Shows how good that kid is.
  • There were a lot of passes by the Rangers that were in skates, or too far ahead, or just not on the tape. Passing seems so simple, but the Rangers had a lot of trouble with such a simple aspect of the game.
  • Biron needs to control that rebound. The shot hit him in the chest, he should have smothered it. But he let that rebound loose and Kyle Turris buried it.
  • That said, Del Zotto had a bad turnover in the offensive zone that led to the goal. That’s the third turnover that led to a goal.
  • Right after that third goal, the Sens switched to the dreaded “five in the picture” trap, copyright New Jersey Devils circa 1994.
  • Bishop looked good int he final two periods, but the Rangers made it easy on him. They didn’t get good chances regularly until they pulled Biron.
  • Speaking of pulling Biron, could you that John Tortorella was desperate for a win? He pulled Biron with 2:30 left.

Losing streaks happen to every team, no matter how good or bad. This is the first losing streak in a long time for the Rangers. They happen.  The Sens owned the Rangers this year, going 3-1 (one in OT) and looking dominant in a few of them. This would be a rough matchup for the Rangers in the first round.

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  • Biron looks shaky. The first goal was a deflection but he should have made the save. Bad positioning and no reaction. The second and third goals were inexcusable rebounds. Yes the defense should have helped, but maybe Biron is culpable for leaving the bad rebounds.

    On other matters, Torts has a rag tag second PP unit. Why no Hagelin? He might be their best player around the net. Maybe a second unit of Anisomov, Mitchell, Hagelin, Staal, and Stralman makes the most sense. Or possibly flip flop AA and Callahan . Torts needs to send the same group together for a few games to get some consistency.

    Finally, why not put Scott on D to take advantage of that big body in front of the bet and use Bickel as a forward. Clearly Bickel is a much better skill player. At least for the first period of the game.

  • Stop blaming Marty; we are all just spoiled by Hank. He makes a half dozen magic saves every game and never gives up a rebound. Never. Torts needs to send a memo to the rest of the team- you need to score a goal every month or so. This team’s offense is awful, and getting worse.

    Someone said a day or two ago that everything is fine, that this team is built for the playoffs. Forechecking, defense and goalkeeping. OK, fine. If you tell me they’ll win every playoff game 1-0, fine. That means one mistake and they’re in an OT game. And don’t forget, in the playoffs you actually have to score to win. No more shootouts.

    Nervous yet?


    • so far having lost only twice in OT out of 16 games, while winning six, I feel okay about it.

      if there was a shootout in the playoffs i’d be more nervous. rangers 3-5 in shootouts this year.

      • Agreed. Would have liked to have seen Biron stop Smith’s goal, but the other two were blown coverages by Stralman & Staal who were hurried by failed attempts from Mitchell & Boyle. Those goals happen from time to time.

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