Thoughts following Game One

This was a really cool moment. (Photo:
This was a really cool moment. (Photo:

Well, the Rangers lost Game One of the Stanley Cup Finals. But all is not lost, there are still six more games left to play, and the Kings still need to win three of them. This was never a best of one, and there’s a lot of hockey to be played. However, the Rangers need to make some adjustments if they are to keep up with the Kings in a long series. I love me some bullet points:

  • The Rangers need to stick to what worked in Game One: Using their speed on the forecheck to force turnovers and generate chances. Sooner or later those will find their way to the back of the net. Jonathan Quick made some great saves early on to keep it a two-goal game, and he’s really the reason why it didn’t get out of hand early on. Use the speed, and good things will come.
  • That said, Daryl Sutter did a great job of adjusting his team on the fly.┬áIt became very obvious that the Rangers were picking apart the Kings 2-1-2 forecheck for some solid chances. As the game wore on, the Kings adjusted, keeping four guys back to stymy the rush and nullify the speed advantage held by the Rangers. Alain Vigneault will need to make the same adjustments.
  • Carl Hagelin was great all game, and he’s showing why the Rangers refused to include him in any trades. He was their best weapon, and very few Kings players can keep up with him. Chris Kreider is the other Ranger with great speed, and he needs to start using it again, like he did in Game One against Montreal.

  • The Rangers were their own worst enemy in Game One, as a pair of turnovers led directly to goals by the Kings. The first was that dreadful giveaway by Derek Stepan, which led to the Kyle Clifford goal. The other, naturally, was the Dan Girardi turnover that led to the game winner. They will need to be better with the puck if they are to beat this team. The Rangers were able to get away with these turnovers against Philly, Pittsburgh, and Montreal, but LA is in a class of its own here. Take better care of the puck.
  • Speaking of the Girardi turnover, of course a lot of blame belongs to Girardi. The smart play is to pin it into the boards or sweep it behind the net. However, there is plenty of blame on Ryan McDonagh (who took blame for it), Mats Zuccarello, and Benoit Pouliot for flying the zone way too early. Watching the replay, the puck hopped over Girardi’s stick. Those three were already headed up for a rush before the puck hopped, thus leaving Girardi with no support. It was a bad play all around. Once that puck hopped over his stick, and Justin Williams was clearly all along in front, you could see the game winner coming from a mile away.
  • Henrik Lundqvist was outstanding. He’s the reason why the Rangers didn’t lost in regulation.
  • After a great first period, the Rangers really disappeared. The top guys didn’t play well. The third line was solid, but two of them were involved in that overtime winner gaffe. The fourth line was pretty solid too. But all four lines need to do a better job of capitalizing on their chances. This game could have been over in the first period with all the turnovers they forced.
  • Regardless of the outcome, there’s still a lot of hockey to be played. There’s no reason why the Rangers can’t win tomorrow and come to MSG tied at one a piece. That said, Game Two is now a must-win.

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  • It’s a tough position to be in when a game so early in the series (game 2) is a must win, but I do agree that’s the case.

    I was hoping the Rangers could take advantage of the Kings inevitable sluggish start – which they did – they just couldn’t sustain it for a full 60.

    I hope AV has something up his sleeve, because if the Rangers can’t adjust to LA clogging the neutral zone and disrupting the speed and flow of the their transition game, it won’t look good for their chances of winning.

  • We need to use our speed AND smarts. Countless times we entered the zone first and did not even shoot. I would like to see someone like JT (probably a no-go) or Fast put in to put some speed on the 4th line. I think Dorsett’s role is minimized vs. LA

  • I agree Dorsett has been minimized against LA. He has been good for us, but in Game 1 he over committed directly resulting in Doughty’s goal (A lot of that had to do with Doughty though…nice move).

    I agree speed is essential here but JT Miller has shown inconsistencies in his game, is coming off an injury (any update?) and is more of a liability than Dorsett. We need to stay sound defensively against LA. The risk is too big for the reward here.

    I want Hagelin on the ice at practice doing nothing but trying to beat hank in on rushes. Although the first one went in in Game 1, it was fluke rebound off LA. Quick made the initial save. Then in the waining mins of the 3rd, he had that golden opportunity. Thought he was too predictable there. Deke 5 hole, make some kind of lateral movement. Him and St. Louis seemed like they wound up forever and let off a predictable shot that Hank and Quick will always save.

    Game 2 is going to be just as interesting… Here we go!

  • 2 Players not seeing any PP time Hags and Nash . Hags is the best forward at getting to the puck first in the OS .Want Nash to get any MoJo at all play him some more minutes .Think Kreider and Hags on the same line woukd work well for any match up against LA . And better yet try them on the PP together

  • Not permanently, but I would mix the lines. Double shift occasionally, throw out Kreider, Pouiliet and Hags.

    I do not like Richards on the Power Play, why not try Nash. This way he can do his curl back move with better results.

    Staal needs to step up, be a more punishing defenseman, out into the OZ now and then.

    On the OT goal, the D needs more support. I think that they got a little cocky.

    Why is it that LA was able to do a mid-game adjustment and we could not? With every change of tactic, there has to be a way to exploit it.

    I saw several flubbed shots, nerves???

    If you cannot hit the net from the blue line at this point, you do not belong in the majors. I understand if a shot gets deflected, but if you are unencumbered, sorry with is the NHL.

    Nash needs to be a power forward. We do not need him on this team if he chooses to be a 4th line defensive player. He was brought here to be an offensive threat. I am not impressed with him since his concussion.

    What is wrong with Talbot? Strahlman is playing a hard game, why can’t the other D-men do the same? Punish the Kings, they are the ones usually dishing out those type of hits. Klein had been joining in on the rush, why did not hold back in this game?

    Diaz did not look comfortable out there sorry to say. I thought that this was his time to really turn it on, especially on the PP.

    New plan…Defense first.

  • I have to disagree with somebody to blame on the ‘girardi hop’. As you mentioned people tried to get into position before the hop, can you then blame them for not being in position when the hop happened? Because than the Rangers style might be to aggresive on the counter to begin with.

    The problem here is that if G would have past after his initial contact or puck control towards McD and the following break would be a goal, we would all be celebrating now…

    I think it was just a very unlucky play, where after the hop there was too little time to get back…

  • While we need a team effort to win game 2, I am looking for a hero, a stand-out! Quite a few guys are due, I think Zucc is ready to score 2 and bring this back to even for Monday nights game. BTW, bought tix for the game – the mortgage can be paid next month.

  • The OT mis-hap was a puck luck thing. The F’s anticipate our guy getting the puck and starting the transition. You can’t blame them- thats the way we play! In hind sight if McD wants to take some blame I see his point. Hockey 101- the WSD always should provide the “over” ( pass the puck over to a safe area)option. Can’t remember where Mc was so maybe he was not available for the option. If no bad bounce we transition and by pass two Kings and have numbers going the other way. Regardless, a bad bounce which caught G by surprise which caused a drop to one knee and the weak attempt to the boards. Happens fast! Our missed opportunities and our “Big” guys went away in the 3rd. Bad for us, give the Kings credit. Past history! Lets Go!

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