Game Wrap-ups

Effort lacking as Rangers blown out by Callahan, Lightning

Ryan Callahan made his return known to the Rangers, potting two goals –including the eventual game winner– as the Tampa Bay Lightning blew out the New York Rangers 5-1. This game could have been a lot worse, as I can count at least two other opportunities where Henrik Lundqvist came up huge, including once in the second that kept the game at 2-1. I know that you guys are expecting a goal breakdown, but I was at the game, and didn’t get home until 10:30. I do have a full time job that I need to be awake for, and bullet points are significantly quicker than goal breakdowns. So here we go:

  • The Rangers really didn’t show much last night. They looked sluggish, were getting beat to every loose puck, getting outmuscled in the corners, shying away from contact and from body checks. No one covered the slot, bad turnovers, minimal forecheck, terrible defense. This team really hung Hank out to dry.
  • That said, Tampa Bay is really good. They shut down the zone entries. They forced turnovers. They neutralized the Rangers speed by cutting off passing lanes and forcing the play to the outside. They got in shooting lanes. This is a very balanced team playing without its best defenseman (Victor Hedman). There’s a reason why we all went “oh crap” when we saw the moves they made.
  • On the second Cally goal, the defense was nowhere to be found. Marc Staal and Dan Girardi were behind the net, despite only one Lightning player (Steven Stamkos) in that area.

  • Staal and Girardi weren’t the only two who had issues last night. Matt Hunwick was a turnover machine and was caught blatantly out of position on a few occasions. It didn’t result in goals against though, but that’s mostly luck than anything else.
  • Kevin Klein was also pretty putrid. As were the top-six.
  • I think it’s best if we call out those who were not putrid: I liked what I saw from Kevin Hayes, but he still needs to remember to shoot the puck. I liked that little bit of attitude I saw from Anthony Duclair on Radko Gudas in the first. I also liked that the refs let that one go.
  • Speaking of the refs, they had their few phantom calls, and that one heat-of-the-moment fight for John Moore (and a player I couldn’t see, they were at the other end of the ice) that they stopped before it could happen, but there weren’t too many WTF moments. They got the no-goal right, which is really the only important thing they needed to get right in this game.
  • I’m going to harp on the effort again: The only goal this team scored was an own-goal on the powerplay. Then, almost immediately after, they get another powerplay, then right after a delayed call. They spent 40 seconds (or at least it felt like that) toying around instead of giving the puck to the Lightning. That is one of the first advanced things you learn: When on the powerplay, and there’s another delayed call, you give the team the puck. A 5-on-3 is much better than a 6-on-4. This one baffled me, and that’s putting it lightly, and this isn’t the first time they’ve done this. That’s just poor recognition.
  • I spent a lot of time zeroing in on Tanner Glass. I spend a good amount of Twitter ink voicing my…displeasure…but I truly tried to find something about his play I liked. He delivers big hits every now and again, which can be great in close games. This game wasn’t close. What I did notice: He wanders towards the puck. It’s like he has tunnel vision. On one shift, I saw him skate east-west and practically touch the boards on both sides at least six times in the defensive zone. That’s not really a good thing. Tunnel vision is never a good thing either.
  • The Rangers did the right thing by honoring Cally, Brian Boyle, and Anton Stralman in the first period. I thought Cally would have gotten some sort of video tribute, since he was with the club for eight years and was the captain –and maybe he would have if he was the only returning player– but the announcement made to the crowd was nice. It was short, to the point, and the crowd did the right thing by cheering them. All three were key contributors to the success of the team and their run to the Conference Finals in 2012 and the Stanley Cup Final last season. I’ve maintained that Boyle is one of the best fourth line centers in the game, and Cally was my favorite Ranger. But Stralman is the one they miss the most on the ice.

The schedule gets a bit easier, as the Rangers have the Flyers three times and Buffalo once to close out the month (with games against Tampa and Montreal in between). There’s still no need to panic yet. This team hasn’t hit its stride, but the peripherals (i.e.: #fancystats) aren’t exactly in their favor this time around. Cautious optimism is probably the best approach. But these inconsistent efforts cannot continue.

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  • This was a toilet flusher type of game, full of shit!!!!!

    Hank was nowhere to be found, nor anyone else to speak of. We were just out player in every aspect of the game.

    Where is Dr. Mike DeBakey when we need him, this team needs a heart transplant???????

  • I can’t say I was against letting Cally, Stralman or Boyle go. But I can say I was wrong in the case of Stralman. I agree he is the one that is missed the most.

    I was never for the Boyle signing because I felt they needed more wood on D, not an aging fancy Dan. What was it, for a million bucks more you get the firmer and 10 years younger Stralman?

    This is the kind of screw up that can be a team breaker. A fatal flaw on D. First Sauer goes down and now the guy who replaced him leaves. As noted previously, they should consider selling high on one of their forwards (Zucc or Brass and a prospect) and bringing on a real D, with Dan Boyle, now that they are stuck w/ him, a 3rd pair PP guy.

    Watching that game last night was disgusting. I have felt they played very well through the frustrating shoot out losses (couldn’t you just feel that they were going to lose those?) but last night against a really good team the Rangers just dropped like a souffle’ and I think it is because some of the ingredients (it’s not Glass’ fault, because a 4th liner does not carry that much weight) are lower quality than last year.

    • At least get your facts remotely right – Stralman was signed for five years at $4.5M per year; Boyle was signed for two years at $4.5M. That’s a little more than “a million bucks” don’t ya think. In fact, it’s $13.5M bucks more over three additional years – a pretty significant difference in a strict salary cap league.

  • We played lethargic. Unclear why, but not getting anything out of 3rd and 4th lines whatsoever. Not sure how long Slats is going to stand pat with impending free agents Zucc and Stall and a dead offense. May need to get rid of some guys who play like they are entitled and bring in a real center very soon.

  • What’s with Hank? 3 times sprawling out and away from the goal. Twice last night and at least one during the shoot out against the Crybabies. I realize last nigh’s game was a shit sandwich by the team but what’s happening with Hank has me concerned. I think he should sit against the Fliers- In fact I think he should have sat the 3rd last night.

  • Well said. Though I swear at one point Glass joined the Bolts’ offensive rush, and that Stamkos half-breakaway goal was absolutely stunning. Tampa is taking the east, assuming they stay (and get, in the case of Hedman) healthy.

    • Is Glass the only guy that AV just isn’t holding accountable for his play? I don’t get why Fast and Duclair get sent down/benched and Glass gets to stay out there game in and game out without contributing.

  • Who is the coach for the D? Ulf that’s who and the D seems to be totally disorganized. Maybe he should take some of the responsibility. Duclair needs to go back to JR. and maybe Miller should get a real chance to play.

  • Stop making Excuses for Lundqvist, he can be downright awful at times, and his inability to stop a breakaway has me concerned.

  • Well if I can read this and all the comments correctly, all this team needs to do it get rid of Tanner Glass. They don’t even have to replace his spot, just dress 19 skaters every night and this team jumps up to the top of the conference. The 4th line winger is the missing link in this equation.

    • Personally I would replace him with a sack of rocks, but that’s besides the point.

      I think the fact that the team has clearly been struggling and the coaching staff has tried moving around just about everyone they can think of, except for the one person that a large vocal group has been against since he was signed, has a significant part to do with it.

      I don’t think removing him will be a cure all for the team, but there is good evidence that it would give our fourth line a chance to do something productive.

      • yea I get it, you want to maximize every position possible. I just view that in the grand scheme of things, Tanner Glass is a pretty insignificant problem with this team. If I listed 25 problems with this team, and I take his role and position in to account, he is #23.

        I’m just sick and tired of EVERY single day the conversation always reverts to how bad the 4th line winger is. I’m not too concerned about the position, which by design, gets 11 minutes a night which are sheltered minutes. Maybe that’s where my point of view comes from, I’m looking at this as a position, not Tanner Glass. Either way, I would say I’m a lot more concerned about the fact that this team ranks 23rd in the league with a whopping 3.00 goals against per game. But please, let’s devote another article and 12 comments to the 4th line winger.

          • Dave

            The point is take Glass out of the equation, and the team still would be loosing, even with Fast in there. There are many structual problems today with the way this team is built!!

          • He is not the only problem, as I pointed out this afternoon, but he is the problem that is most easily fixed.

        • Hay Spozo, that was well stated, and right on the mark.

          If, god forbid, anyone state facts, like Hank isn’t playing up to his usual standard, the crap hits the fan, and we are called haters. I’m a huge fan of this team, but when they screw up I state it, unlike some who no matter what, don’t want to hear the truth. I’m waiting for Hank to start playing like he should, until then he should be called out on it.

          Now please all you fools that give me a thumbs down, have fun with this one!!!!!

  • it was nice to see cally, boyler, straals on monday hopefully tonight the boys can bounce back from this and beat the broad st bullies they need this.

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