Game Wrap-upsPlayoffs

Justin Williams wins Game One in overtime

Photo: Canadian Press
Photo: Canadian Press

Justin Williams capitalized off a pretty gruesome Dan Girardi turnover to give the Kings a victory in¬†Game One. The Kings also came back from down 2-0 in the first period, scoring once in the first and once in the second to tie the game, before Williams won it in overtime. It wasn’t all bad for the Rangers, who used their speed and were all over the Kings in the first period. The problem was that the Kings adjusted, forcing the Rangers into a dump-and-chase game, which the plays into the Kings’ favor.

Benoit Pouliot scored on a breakaway, and Carl Hagelin scored on a mini-breakaway/lucky bounce. Both used their speed to burn past a Kings defense that was not expecting the Rangers to be as quick as they were. But it was a turnover by Derek Stepan that got the Kings on the board, and then it was the Girardi turnover that sealed it for the Kings.

On to the goals:

Rangers 1, Kings 0

Speed kills. Pouliot pressured Drew Doughty at the point, pokechecking the puck away from the defenseman as he attempted a toe drag. After that he was off to the races, ripping a wrister over Quick’s blocker for the early lead. No picture on this one, but that’s because I couldn’t get a clear one, but I found a video instead.

Rangers 2, Kings 0

While on the penalty kill, Brian Boyle gained control of the puck along the far boards and chipped it out of the zone. Hagelin burned Slava Voynov to get the semi-breakaway. His shot was stopped by Quick, but the rebound went off Voynov’s skate and into the net. Speed kills. I couldn’t get a picture of this one either, they all came out blurry.

Kings 1, Rangers 2


Derek Stepan turned the puck over in the defensive zone to Kyle Clifford, who moved the puck to Jeff Carter behind the net. Clifford gained the inside position on Marc Staal a a bad angle, and Carter slipped him the puck. Clifford roofed it over Hank from the bad angle. The Stepan turnover started this.

Kings 2, Rangers 2

Blurry, but you can see the issue.
Blurry, but you can see the issue.

Derek Dorsett was a bit out of position on this one, keeping his attention on the puck carrier instead of noting that Doughty was coming in as the trailer. Justin Williams hit Doughty with the pass, who put the puck between his legs to get around Dorsett on his way to beating Hank between his blocker and body to tie the game.

Kings 3, Rangers 2

unnamed 11.22.50 PM

Girardi whiffed on a clearing attempt (puck looked to bounce a bit), falling to his knees in the process. Then, from his knees, Girardi panicked a bit with Tanner Pearson on him, and threw the puck right to Mike Richards. Richards found Williams wide open in the high slot, who roofed it over Hank. This isn’t all on Girardi, he had absolutely no support. Ryan McDonagh and Mats Zuccarello were in China instead of helping out defensively, and there was no backcheck.

Fenwick Chart:

Courtesy of ExtraSkater
Courtesy of ExtraSkater

The Rangers were completely dominated once they puck dropped in the third period to a 47-35 shot attempt differential at even strength, and a 41-33 shot attempt differential when the score was close (+/- 1 in the 1st/2nd, tied in the 3rd).

The Rangers lost a winnable game, but last I checked the series isn’t over. The Kings can’t win a Cup in one game. Alain Vigneault is a good coach, although he was outcoached in this game. He will make adjustments, and the team will come out firing on Saturday night. However, they now must win on Saturday, as a 2-0 hole is going to be near impossible to come back from against these Kings.

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  • MSL said it best after the game, It’s only one game!

    Well that’s OK, except we can ill afford to play just 40 minutes, and expect to win any game. We looked so good early on, then we went into a shell in the third, and the rest is history.

    Let’s learn from this, and come out strong next game, and please play 60 minutes!! You’ll see different results if you do!!!!!!!!!

    • It’s not that simple. The Kings found their legs and took away the middle of the ice. The Rangers couldn’t carry the puck in so they kept on dumping the puck in. Problem with that is the size the Kings have especially on defense. In this case retrieving a puck against a 220lb defenseman is not easy and then they double team the forechecker and lose possession of the puck. Credit has to go to the Kings for the 3rd period they played.
      If I’m AV I’d be a little more aggressive with the Forecheck when that happens. Maybe use a lock in a 2-3 Forecheck when the Kings trap like they did late in 2 and the 3rd period. The 1-2-2 is ok when you have a lead but in a tie game, AV should change his Forecheck to send 2 in those situations. Against the size of the Kings. One skater isn’t gaining possession off a dump in.

  • Its easy to win when you throw the rulebook out the window and stop calling any penalties.

    Clutch and grab on display.

    I counted 43 different infractions on both sides that were not called and were blatant
    . From grabbing a face in the corner and holding their head down to checking people in mid ice without the puck. Actually hunting them down to negate speed.

    Sorry gents this isn’t hockey its the Charlestown chiefs.

    Don’t institute an interference rule and then not call them.

    If that’s how they play in the wc, then i don’t know what hockey is.

    • In addition to the clutching and grabbing- did anyone else pick up on the interference that went on in the crease- not on Hank but one of our Dmen-Stralman? on the first LA goal?

      • No kidding, Wayne. If Mike Richards isn’t holding Anton Stralman’s stick, no way does Drew Doughty get free to score the equalizer.

  • Game was disappointing for sure. Nash needs to shot the puck rather then spin like a top. Stepan same either shot the puck or go sit down. Richards wither the cross ice passing through 50 sticks is also getting very old. This game was ours. The seed of dought is planted in there heads. AV will have them playing better.
    I dont know about you all but Pierre is a POS, cant say one good thing about the Rangers all year long. Why is he even announcing is beyond me. Just hope he gets the GM job with the phone penguins

  • The theme here was d zone turnovers. Stepan started the trend with a pretty egregious one. It’s such a fine line in this sport between your pass springing an odd man rush for your team or not executing thus leaving your team out numbered down low in your zone.

    Girardi’s turnover was pretty rough too. For sure he was under more pressure so it was understandable, if you want to call it that, but the better play would have been to eat the puck in the corner and buy some time for mcd to get back down low to help rather than give it a low percentage whack through 3 kings in a pee wee level clearing attempt.

    He had another pretty rough play earlier where he ended up taking a hooking penalty on gaborik.

    Overall a solid start to the series but letting this one slip hurt. Not getting a 3rd goal in the first frame turned out to bite us pretty good. If this game proved anything, this series is just as much ours to win as it is theirs. They don’t scare me no more.

    • I don’t know. I feel that last night was precisely the game they needed to win to tilt this series in their favor. Now game 2 becomes an absolute must win.

      I think that first period is the best we’re going to see in terms of the effectiveness of speed this series. That was our opportunity. We won’t see another 15 minutes where our speed causes repeated turnovers and odd man rushes, and ultimately goals. The King are on to it now, and have adjusted.

      Sure, speed will inevitably create chances. But to sustain it in the fashion that the Rangers did in the 1st, I feel, was something that was only going to happen in game 1, taking the Kings by surprise.

      The way the Kings adjusted mid-game and completely neutralized the Rangers speed game… that scares me.

      • Without question…squeaking out a W would have been huge. You’re spot on with the Kings making some adjustments to neutralize our effectiveness, but still, we have an opportunity to win Game 2. If we don’t do that, I’m biting my nails. But I saw enough good things last night to keep me optimistic about Game 2. I did not expect us to dictate the pace as much as we did last night.

        I have a strong feeling we will get it done in Game 2.

  • To be successful and beat the Kings the Rangers have to be good at both end of their ice. This includes coming back and taking your man. Keep it tight, the Kings are vulnerable to making mistakes too. The Ranger squads just needs to be more patient and outlast LA.

  • AV and the Rangers consistently fix what went wrong in stinkers or even off-games, like last night. Rangers have to realize that a track meet is what they need. Depend on Hank and keep coming. And yes, as several have mentioned… SHOOT the PUCK!

    Only 1 game. Somebody had to win it. Now it gets serious.

  • Staal has not looked good the entire playoffs.

    I was very disappointed in Diaz, as AV was when he was benched for many shifts.

    Nash is history. A power forward does not stop, spin back and have the puck checked off of his stick. The key word here is”FORWARD”, as in that is the direction you should be going in. Richards on the PP makes me sick. These guys telegraph their intent, they do not even pretend that they are going to shoot on net, they heads never even look in that direction.

    I was disappointed in Kreider, thought he would use his speed more, and he gotta keep his stick down. He was very fortunate not to get a penalty.

    These hockey sticks are more like match sticks. On Boyle’s penalty, it appeared that he stick checked and the stick just broke from that tap. The PK looked awesome, but the few shots in the third made us look like a peewee team.

    Strahlman played more than a decent game.

    I dunno, they get a lead and then sit back and coast, no killer instinct.

    I understand that it is only one game, but the third period and OT showed our weaknesses.

    • They weren’t sitting back. LA made the necessary adjustments, pinning them for stretches in the third. It wasn’t a conscious decision to protect a lead, it was a lack of execution/adjustments.

      Agreed with Nash. He’s reverted to some of his old bad habits in that game. The lack of shot attempts by him and Stepan was frustrating.

      Disagree on Staal being bad the entire playoffs. He’s been a big part of the at times dominating defensive corp. Do wish he’d contribute a little more offensively though.

  • Taking an early lead and suddenly falling asleep on the ice has been our calling card this season. I think we’ll come out swinging next game.

    But on a positive note, we did a great job on the PK (which is something we NEED to win this series) and despite being more or less dominated in the 3rd, they weren’t able to score.

    If we get back to playing full, solid games, I’m not too worried.

    • Yea, we sort of only played 45 minutes of regulation. I also think Richards was a non-factor. He needs to give the puck to MSL, but MSL was working way too hard on his own.

      They are a big, strong team and made it tough for our D to go to the boards and come away cleanly with the puck. They absolutely saw how we came out in the 1st and made adjustments. I didn’t see too many adjustments on our side. I would have liked to see D. Moore with MSL and Hags for a shift or 2.

  • The Rangers stopped skating for a long stretch. Going up 2-0 was because they played to their strengths. There were as many flaws in the Kings game. Lundqvuist should have had that 1st goal but it went in. Girardi should have had better control and it bounced over his stick. The bounces went both ways with 1 more to the Kings for the win. This is not the ime to panic. I would only tell them to shoot the puck on goal and leave a player infront of the net. I agree that Nash must shoot the puck from all angles and stop that pick and roll move of his. He does that and usually it gives him a back hand shot anyway.
    Kings defense is slower than our forwards, there are strategies they can devise.

    • I would also shadow Doughty when in the offensive zone for various reasons…like Puliot goal and the vice when Doughty scored

    • To your point… “While New York only got 27 of their 63 shot attempts on net, the Kings ended up getting 43 of their 64 shot attempts on Lundqvist. That ended up being the difference.”

      ^ Taken from “Jewels from the Crown” the SB Nation Kings blog.

  • Disappointed but hopeful the Rangers will come back strong. Everyone is talking about the Kings like they are so much better than the Rangers but remember in the regular season they finished 10th and the NYR were 12th. I think it’s the comeback/resiliency factor that has created a mystique about the Kings. Even I found it hard to enjoy the 2 goal lead thinking it was time for LA to turn it on and “pull a comeback”. I sure hope that hasn’t crept into the Rangers mentality. The Kings are a good team but so are the Rangers.

    On another note, the announcing on last night’s game was awful! Especially the color. There was way too much dead air and no passion at all from the play by play. I never heard such a boring call before in my life! Not a good way to attract the casual hockey fan on a national network.

  • Their first goal and the OT winner were gifts. Other than that, I really thought they played a decent road game. If they could only have buried a few of the chances they had in the 1st, they might have ended this early. There were stretches there, where they really had their forecheck going. I was really happy the way they came out. They looked like they belonged there; didn’t look overwhelmed at all. All LA did was win a home game; nothing more. We lost the first game in 94′ too: at home!!!! Richards, Staal and Girardi need to wake up. The useless bombs from the point by Richards on the PP just kill time. Girardi has been handling the puck like a grenade for a while now. And as for Staal, he tends to zone out and lose his man lately. Needs to read the play and anticipate a lot better. No need to panic. I thought they looked like a team that has a chance; just eliminate those miscues and tee it up on Saturday.

  • Dave and Co:

    What adjustments can the Rangers make to be able to better utilize their speed through the neutral zone as well as negate some of the LA forecheck? The way they were dominated from the third period on begs for an adjustment or two, I just don’t know what that is.

    • I could be wrong here, but it looked like Sutter adjusted to the Rangers speed by switching from a 2-1-2 to a passive 1-2-2. This still sent 1 man in, but it clogged the neutral zone more effectively, forcing the Rangers to dump and chase more.

      To adjust, the Rangers can send their wingers along the seam into the zone to beat the D to the puck after a dump, or to find open ice for a pass. The Rangers are a team that scores off the rush, so dump and chase isn’t playing to their strong points.

  • What scares me is how effectively Gaborik carved up Girardi every time they matched up.

    I thought the Rangers controlled the puck better than the Corsi stats indicate. They spent a lot of time controlling without getting shots. Kings did have the upper hand though.

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