Game Wrap-ups

Rangers double up on Senators in defensive nightmare

Derick Brassard broke an eight-game point-less drought with two goals and an assist

Boy, did I pick the wrong night to do a goal breakdown. Both teams played atrocious defense in this game, but at least the Rangers broke out of the offensive slump that saw them score just six goals in their last four games. Oh yeah, and Henrik Lundqvist became the team’s all-time winningest goaltender with career victory No. 302. Better yet, New York picked up two extremely important points while Columbus lost in regulation. Most of it wasn’t pretty, but a win’s a win at this point. You guys will have to forgive me – my DVR couldn’t keep up with all the scoring, so some of these aren’t quite as detailed as the others. On to the goals:

Senators 1, Rangers 0

Brian Boyle is a great defensive forward, but this was not a smart defensive play (a pattern that was repeated throughout the night). Boyle tried to send a long pass across the neutral zone, which Ottawa quickly turned the other way. A couple of quick passes later and winger Mike Hoffman beat Lundqvist high glove-side from the blueline to give the Senators an early lead. There were two Rangers obstructing Lundqvist’s vision, so it’s hard to fault him for this one.

Rangers 1, Senators 1

Right after Ottawa took the lead, Carl Hagelin went off for hooking and it had the look of a long night for the Blueshirts. However, Hoffman had trouble with the puck at the point and Rick Nash took off on a shorthanded breakaway. Erik Karlsson came close to cutting Nash off before he could get a shot off, but Nash was able to beat Robin Lehner to the far side for the team’s fourth shorthanded goal in its last eight games.

Senators 2, Rangers 1

After a minute of four-on-four play, the Senators went on the power play and put on a great display of puck movement, led by Jason Spezza. Mika Zibanejad wisely dished to Spezza for a give-and-go, and Spezza hit Zibanejad cutting to the slot. Hagelin should have picked up Zibanejad, but was loafing on the play. Zibanejad whiffed on his first shot attempt, but still managed to beat Lundqvist on his second try, ending New York’s streak of 22 straight power plays killed dating back to March 1.

Rangers 2, Senators 2

The Blueshirts sustained pressure throughout a two-minute power play thanks to Bobby Ryan’s tripping penalty, and shortly after play returned to even strength, the Rangers evened the score. Derick Brassard handed the puck to Kevin Klein at the point, and Klein’s shanked shot skittered behind the net to a waiting Hagelin (doesn’t it seem like he’s always back there?). ┬áBrassard went right to the net and Hagelin hit him with a pass in the slot. Brassard let go a quick shot that trickled through Lehner to snap an eight-game point-less drought.

Rangers 3, Senators 2

The Rangers finally took the lead after 15-year veteran Chris Phillips made a ghastly turnover in his own end. Hagelin provided heavy pressure, but Phillips inexplicably passed to an unprepared Spezza alone in the slot. Benoit Pouliot immediately pounced and was able to poke the puck through Spezza’s skates and rifle a shot over Lehner’s left shoulder before the Senators knew what hit them. Like Brassard, Pouliot broke a 10-game goal-less drought.

Rangers 4, Senators 2

Lehner imploded here. The Senators made a pretty safe clear along the boards to center ice, where John Moore picked up the puck. He had to wait a full beat for Brassard to get out of the Ottawa zone and onside before skating in and directing a knuckler on net. Lehner completely whiffed with his glove, and the Rangers got a gift. That was not a goal an NHL goalie should ever let in.

Rangers 5, Senators 2

Lehner was in full meltdown mode by the time the Rangers scored their fourth goal of the period, but this one certainly wasn’t his fault. Brassard rolled one to McDonagh at the point, but #27 shot off the pass anyway. The puck ticked off first Ryan’s stick, then Marc Methot and by Lehner. He didn’t have a chance.

Rangers 5, Senators 3

This was a weird one. Marc Staal had just nudged the puck over the blueline to safety, only to have Brad Richards accidentally kick it back into New York’s zone. Ottawa still had three forwards down low against and Milan Michalek quickly snapped a shot by Lundqvist.

Rangers 6, Senators 3

What an awful game for Phillips. He made another bad turnover in the middle of the ice, this time generously putting the puck right on Mats Zuccarello’s stick at the red line. Zuccarello raced into the Ottawa zone and fended off a weak backcheck from Chris Neil and got rid of the puck to Derek Stepan crashing the far post before Phillips could recover. The puck caromed off Stepan’s skate and into the net. A video review finally went New York’s way as it was quickly determined that Stepan made no distinct kicking motion.

Rangers 7, Senators 3

The defensive dumpster fire continued for Ottawa here as the Senators’ clearing attempt was quickly turned around by the Rangers at their own blueline. Two apparently unaware Sens forwards still decided to go for a line change and the third was in no hurry to get back either, so Zuccarello, Brassard and Marty St. Louis cruised in for an easy three-on-two. St. Louis’ initial shot attempt was blocked, but it effectively served as a drop pass to Zuccarello. The Hobbit delivered a beautiful backhand pass right to Brassard in the crease for a cupcake tap-in goal.

Rangers 7, Senators 4

Credit the Senators for not giving up on this game. Ottawa turned up the pressure again despite being down four goals, and after a lengthy shift in the attack zone, they made the Blueshirts pay. The Senators passed the puck around the outside until it reached Eric Gryba at the blueline. He let fly a quick shot and Ryan made a great deflection despite being tied up pretty well by Dan Girardi.

Rangers 8, Senators 4

Dominic Moore did yeoman’s work in the defensive zone after Ottawa pulled Lehner (back in the game after Nathan Lawson got hurt) with over three minutes remaining. Moore cleared the puck to Chris Kreider at center ice, but instead of scoring the easy goal, Kreider set up Nash for an empty-netter.

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  • Before I even got here, I was saying to myself, we played an ugly game, so I am glad it is echoed here. Boyle and Carcillo seemed to be on the ice every time we played stupid defense. To me, this was like the Varsity team playing JV. JV (Ottawa) has a few good players, but we let them get the lead and hang around way too much. Look, am I happy we won, yes, but how we play a good team to a 1-0 loss and a bad team to an 8-4 game, just speaks to the identity of this team. It has none.

    • I hear what you are saying but they have an identity. IMO it’s speed. It’s how they win games. By out skating everyone. They have so many great skaters that many teams D can’t keep up or get forced into mistakes. The players just need to learn how to will themselves to win when the opposition can keep up with them. Like against SJ.

  • Just get a win. Check.

    It was not pretty, but the SJ was. Now it’s even. With all the moving parts on this team (literally, they circle and swarm) it is still not fully in sync, esp. w/ MSL on board.

    If the goalie plays to the average of the top 5 in the league (sorry, it’s not a given for Hank anymore) from here on and Stralman and Moore can be just decent to solid the team has a chance to make and do damage in the PO’s.

    As I watch Richards labor around though, I wonder if AV has a Torts-style benching in store for him in the PO’s. He’s a weak link, a lagging, nondescript player with 2 better versions (Stepan and Brassard) already playing. I picked him here as the leading point getter (or was it goal scorer?) per the BSB question at the start of the season, but…

    Anyway, this kind of team takes longer to get in sync than our beloved Black & Blueshirts because there is so much more to the system than pack it in and protect our (former) KING of all goaltenders.

    I loved the departed Dubi, Pruster, Artie and Cally, but I am going to enjoy watching the current team take shape whether it is this year or next, after some turnover and remaking of the roster.

    Want to see Miller, Lindberg, Allen and maybe McIlrath before too long. Not sold on Kristo.

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