Saturday night’s alright for hockey. You’ve got Don Cherry’s fantastically insane suit choices on HNIC and typically some fantasy hockey nightmares when you decide who to bench since so many games are happening. The Rangers took part in this last night, playing their first game since Monday’s third period surge to come back against the Wild. Last night also kicked off a busy November for the Rangers, with 15 games in 29 days.
Unfortunately, this game was a big fat shutout. Since I don’t do goal breakdowns, this turned out to be really beneficial for this blog; however, this was really bad for the Rangers. Adding injury to insult here was losing both Ryan McDonagh and Kevin Klein in the first period, leaving the Rangers with four defensemen for the majority of the game. Let’s go through some thoughts.
- The Rangers were 0-for-5 on the power play last night. This is just plain gross. Before anybody was hurt, the Rangers had Dan Girardi and Chris Mueller as offensive powerhouses on the first power play, so really nobody should have been surprised that the remaining power plays went about as well as running a marathon in the desert.
- Once the Rangers would have some kind of flow, they would either take a penalty or draw one. Of course, logically you can’t be upset about drawing a penalty and getting a man advantage, but as Rangers fans I’m pretty sure we’re the exception.
- The Evander Kane hit on McDonagh was a clean, albeit hard, hit. It’s just really unfortunate that his left shoulder – the one he injured in the end of last season – was the shoulder driven into the boards. Also unfortunate: Kane being pushed and subsequently stepping on McDonagh’s shoulder on the ice.
- Mac’s separated shoulder might be a blessing in disguise. He’s been inefficient offensively, so if this is a minor separation that doesn’t require surgery (which we’ll find out today), having Mac watch from the press box for two weeks might give him valuable perspective.
- Losing both Mac and Klein was brutal on the rest of the defensemen. Ice time looked like this:
- I’ve been reading some tweets about how we should be praising Girardi specifically for playing 35 minutes. I’m sorry if I’m not jumping aboard the praise train. How soon we forget that this is their occupation, and for a veteran defenseman who will be part of this team for the next six years, I sure as heck hope he would play when his coach tells him to. This isn’t a “Stu Bickel playing 4 minutes in a triple OT game so let’s have Mac play over 50 minutes” deal. This is an injury deal. Your core guys better step up here or you’ve got yourself a problem.
- My last sermon on the Rangers defense: Anton Stralman is tearing it up in Tampa. I loved Stralman but I agreed that he wasn’t worth the contract he got, and I’m eating my words now. They put him on the first PP unit and, hey look, the guy has 8 assists. He was fundamentally sound. He would put us so at ease right now in Rangers blue.
- In the positive area, Kevin Hayes had a great shorthanded attempt. He wasn’t able to finish, but him finding that opportunity and going with it will only give him more confidence in that same situation next time it arises.
- I’m really proud of Alain Vigneault embracing the use of timeouts.
- I’m not an expert but it would be delightful if the Rangers could remember how to score on a breakaway. Chris Kreider and Martin St. Louis both had clear breakaways during overtime and both missed. Fun fact: Ondrej Pavelec isn’t a Vezina winner; let’s not make him look like one.
- The Winnipeg Jets are having themselves a nice little road trip, but the Rangers had no business losing that one.