Game Thread

Rangers rally for three straight goals, sink Isles

Well this sure was an entertaining game. The New York Rangers overcame three separate two-goal leads and scored three straight goals in the third period to beat the New York Islanders for the first time this season by a score of 6-5. Both Cam Talbot and Jaroslav Halak put on a clinic of how not to goalie, allowing a couple of weak goals a piece. But both goalies also made some big saves, so there’s that.

Ryan McDonagh scored twice for the first time in his career. Derek Stepan had a goal and two assists. Martin St. Louis, Chris Kreider, and Kevin Klein –who scored the game winner, Mr. Clutch– all added a goal and an assist.

This was an absolutely wild game with the Isles scoring 11 seconds in, getting three separate two goal leads, only to have the Rangers come back from each one of them. Then the Rangers just said, you know what, we want to win, and scored three straight as Isles fans chanted “You can’t beat us.” That’s always fun.

On to the goals:

Isles 1, Rangers 0

Sigh. Not the best start.
Sigh. Not the best start.

This is not the way the Rangers wanted to start this game. Talbot misplayed a puck behind the net, missing McDonagh with a pass, going straight to John Tavares, who fired it into the empty net. Eleven seconds in, it was 1-0. Poor play by Talbot there.

Isles 2, Rangers 0

Bad coverage, weak side point wide open.
Bad coverage, weak side point wide open.

Mats Zuccarello follows Mikhail Grabovski behind the net, opening Travis Hamonic at the point with a boatload of room. At the time the shot was taken, Frans Nielsen already had a step on Marc Staal, who drifted a bit too far away from his man. Nielsen banged home the rebound.

Rangers 1, Isles 2

Solid all around hockey goal.

Dominic Moore made a solid play to poke the puck away from the Isles deep in the zone, and Dan Girardi made another solid play to pinch in and collect the loose puck to bring it behind the net. Tanner Glass drove to the net, which created open ice for McDonagh at the point, who started creeping in. Girardi’s pass to the middle defelcted fortuitously to McDonagh in the high slot, who beat Halak low blocker (you’ll notice a theme on that).

Isles 3, Rangers 1

Two issues on this goal.
Two issues on this goal.

MSLĀ peeled away from the mid-point into no man’s land on this play, allowing Johnny Boychuck to skate into the loose puck at the blue line and blow it by Talbot. It’s one Talbot should have stopped.

Rangers 2, Isles 3

How to use a defenseman as a screen.
How to use a defenseman as a screen.

Lee Stempniak made a great first pass to Stepan to start the rush out of the zone. Stepan got the puck to Kreider, who used Boychuk as a screen to let a wrister loose that eluded Halak. Halak should’ve had this one, but you could tell from his reaction time that he didn’t see it right away.

Rangers 3, Isles 3

How to screen a goalie.
How to screen a goalie.

The third line had a great forecheck, with Carl Hagelin and Kevin Hayes forcing turnovers to keep the zone. Eventually Girardi pinched, which forced Anders Lee into a turnover to J.T. Miller. Miller found McDonagh at the mid point, who blew it by Halak. This is one Halak should have stopped, but Hagelin was in front providing the screen.

As was pointed out in the comments, this one may have gone off Lubomir Visnovsky’s stick.

Isles 4, Rangers 3

Bad rebound control, bad slot coverage.
Bad rebound control, bad slot coverage.

The Rangers were unable to clear the zone on the PK, which gave the Isles a little life. The initial shot by Hamonic was stopped, but Talbot kicked the rebound right to the slot, where Ryan Strome had position on Girardi, who played this terribly. Strome got a few whacks before beating Talbot.

Isles 5, Rangers 3

Changed it up, used circles.
Changed it up, used circles.

Dan Boyle turned the puck over at the Isles blue line, leading to a 3-on-1 the other way. The Isles are way too skilled to let something like that go unpunished.

Rangers 4, Isles 5

Nifty pass, nice shot.
Nifty pass, nice shot.

Klein made a good play behind the net, delivering a hit to jar the puck loose, then moving it up the boards to Kreider on the wing. Kreider gained the zone with speed, made a nifty backhand pass to Stepan, who beat Halak low blocker (that’s two).

Rangers 5, Isles 5

Mini 2-on-1, nice shot by MSL.
Mini 2-on-1, nice shot by MSL.

Kreider forced a turnover at the blue line, which Stepan picked up for a late rush. Stepan dished to MSL, who one-timed it over Halak’s glove.

Rangers 6, Isles 5

Five Isles, no one on Klein.

Derick Brassard did a great job maintaining possession and drawing all of the Isles attention to him. It left Klein wide open at the weak side point. Klein called for the puck, he got it, and he didn’t miss, low blocker (that’s three).

Fenwick Chart

Was ugly early, but the Rangers poured it on late.
Was ugly early, but the Rangers poured it on late.

This game was ugly early, with the Isles dominating every aspect of the game. But the Rangers really came on in the third, dominating the game and putting three past Halak to win.

Scoring Chances

Another ugly start but solid finish.
Another ugly start but solid finish.

This chart is ugly, but the Rangers closed the gap late. The Isles still had a boatload more quality shots, but the Rangers showed they had some fight in them.

Individual Corsi

Untitled copy
This is on par with what is expected.

Tanner Glass was a positive Corsi, and actually played a good game. I’ll give credit where credit is due.

Shot Locations

This is ugly.
This is ugly.

The Rangers usually don’t allow that many attempts from the slot. This was not the best defensive effort.

Shift Chart

Some interesting matchups here.

Jack Capuano, with home ice, elected to match Hamonic/Brian Strait against the Rick Nash line, which was an interesting choice. That line absolutely dominated the pair, but they were held off the score sheet for the most part. As for Alain Vigneault, he tried to get McDonagh/Girardi out there against Tavares as much as possible, but he didn’t have the last change.

This game was absurd, and this is what watching hockey in the 80s must have been like. It was a huge, huge two points for the Rangers, who are now two points back of the Isles for the Metro Division lead with two games in hand. Plus, it’s a mental edge knowing they can come back from leads against the Isles, who have had trouble protecting them.

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  • The 5×5 chart doesn’t tell the whole story. If you look at the chart for all situations, you’ll see the Rangers with more shot attempts than the Islanders.

      • But it’s not true to say that the Isles dominated “every aspect of the game,” and cite the 5×5 Corsi as evidence, when the Rangers were so much better on the power play. If you wanted to say that the Isles dominated “on the whole” or “at even strength,” that would be accurate.

  • All MSL fans can now celebrate the fact that he scored for the first time in what 16 games??????????????????

    The only good thing to come out of last night’s shooting gallery was the fact we came back from three 2 goal leads by the fishsticks.

    • On the mark, Walt. They tried to play the same game that they had been playing the previous 3 on this trip against 3 weak sisters, and it almost cost them. But for some questionable goaltending by Halak, they could be four time losers to the Isles. All the D looked dreadful last night; except I guess McD(at least offensively). Yes take the 2 points and run; but we’ve been saying that a lot lately. I think, there is some room for concern. Their shortcomings on D are starting to become more apparent. It has to be adresed.

          • Klein has been mediocre, with offensive numbers really masking some poor defensive play. I don’t like to harp on single examples, but in the first period the Isles had a mini 2 on 1, and Klein just backed off and let Nelson walk in for 2 prime opportunities that Talbot stopped. I ranted on it:

            Of course, I’m in the minority in that opinion, so fire away.

            Boyle certainly moves the puck up the ice, but he’s not a good ES guy, and I fear more regression next year.

          • Yeah but Dave, Klein may be mediocre in your eyes, but isn’t that what was pretty much expected? A decent third pair d man; who could chip in offensively from time to time. Which he has, way more than expected. The real problems are Girardi and yes, Staal. At times they look totally over-matched out there. The lack of any kind of physical challenge from Staal, is becoming embarrassing. Its like he looks at the physical side of the game as something he is better than. The way he is knocked off the puck so easily in his own end is staggering for a guy with his size. As for Girardi, his game has been going downhill for a while now. They just have to cover up for him as best they can; because we all know, hes not going anywhere.

          • If Klein produces like this, you can live with the mediocrity. Problem is I don’t think he can continue beyond this year. But hey, if it does, then I’ll gladly eat my words.

      • Well, if not for some questionable goaltending by Talbot, the Isles would have had two fewer goals themselves. It wasn’t a pretty game for either team.

          • Can you name a team in the league that has the players that do what you think every player on the Rangers should do every minute of every game, Dave?? I no you can’t, so I don’t expect a reply. My God, I love this team and enjoy watching them every minute and truly believe they have as good a shot as any to win the cup this year. That is probably because I am a realist, and don’t have completely unrealistic expectations of men who are human. Heysus, what do you expect from Klein?? I mean really? Wow, I really respect your insight on the game of hockey, but you want every guy on the Rangers to be #1 at every position, it gets frustrating to read when I know you have so much better. Every time someone makes a mistake it them being a “tire fire”….enough, you are better than that!

    • Walt I know you’re happy how the boys kept the pressure on late in the third with the lead and didn’t sit back to protect and let the isles just blast away for the final 4 minutes

  • Boyle – arrgghhhh! I’m sick of him already. His work on the PP has been good, not great, and he’s already been demoted off the first unit. At even strength he’s a DelZaster area and that turnover leading to the Isles 5th goal could have been a killer.

    Kreider got away with tripping in the NZ before the tying goal (also with a high stick to Clutterbuck that Howie Rose inexplicably attributed to an Islander teammate even after watching the replay) and if they were onside it was just barely.

    The lslanders are legit good but the Rangers shouldn’t be taken out their game as much as they are against them. Glad to see that third period where they took it to the Fish Sticks and dominated (well, except for Boyle stepping on his manhood) play. Maybe that’s the page turner for them.

    • Oh, come on! Bopyle hadn’t eaten for 3 days, give the guy a break, he shouldn’t have even been out there! He was great out west or did you forget. And that was not a trip by Kreider at all. There was no intent and the D stumbled over the stick. Normally the refs get this one wrong but they got it right tonight.

          • Walt these people will never be happy, you can fill the roster with 20 Wayne Gretskys and they would moan about the defensive lapses. Just insanity!

      • This is hardly the first game Boyle has been bad in. He’s been pretty bad defensively most of the season (even allowing for his early season injury) and hasn’t added enough offense to make up for it. He was good out west against bad teams.

        You might have a point on the Kreider play (I’ll watch it again) but you can’t know anyone’s “intent” without reading their minds. It sure looked like a trip to me. And if Kreider was innocent then what about the call on Hamonic when his stick got caught in Zuccarello’s skate? That looked pretty incidental to me but was called. Please don’t misunderstand, I’m happy with the outcome. I’m just saying that there was a bit of good luck involved.

  • Hockey in the 80s was fun to watch and this game reminded me of the old subway series when the Fishsticks were perennially Stanley Cup champions and Ron Greschner made end to end rushes.


    -Rangers 3rd goal (McDonagh’s 2nd). The replays showed that it went off the stick of Visnovsky (11) in front guarding Hagelin. Given that, I wouldn’t pin it in Halak. Unless I saw it wrong, the puck had a severe change in direction only about 10-15 ft on top of the crease.

    -Rangers 5th goal (MSL from Stepan) started with that turnover @ the blueline, where the Isles were clamoring for a penalty from Kreider tripping up Boychuk. Here’s my issue: If I hear Joe Micheletti talk about someone’s skate getting CAUGHT IN A RUT IN THE ICE one more F—ing time I will start watching the game’s on mute until the playoffs start and I don’t have to deal with him anymore. Honestly, the guy played in the show. As a professional hockey player. And we still have to put up with this garbage. HEY JOE- skates getting caught in ruts DOESN’T HAPPEN. Why does he think it does? Can you catch an edge? Of course. Can you toe pick yourself? Absolutely. Do ruts in the ice cause players to fall over themselves game after game? NO! Clean it up, Joe.

    Can anyone help me out with an explanation on the 2nd bullet there?

    Anyways, what a circus. I really got into that one last night. I got out of my seat for some of our goals… I threw my slippers across the room when the Isles capitalized on our mistakes (I’m looking at you Dan Boyle)! Anyways, this was one of the more exciting games this year. Can’t wait until Thurs/Fri.

    • I missed that point on McDonagh’s 2nd goal, thanks for pointing it out.

      As for the Kreider “trip,” I don’t think Kreider tripped Boychuk, I think he was off balance with the puck in a bad spot and he fell. But I’ve never experienced a rut in the ice.

  • Cam was pretty brutal last night, but the boys fought through it. Kreids is blossoming before our eyes into the superstar he’s going to be and you can credit Marty with a big assist there. He’s mentoring the kid and doing a great job. Step found his game again and no surprise so did Marty. I bow down to Kevin Klein who I dissed earlier in the year. He’s brought his game to a whole new level. And one final note, Rangers need to work on getting the puck out of the zone, how often do they get scored on when they fail to do so.

    • Credit Klein, he may be shooting above his career average and we can be concerned this year is an aberration but he is putting himself in position on the ice to be successful, which should help shooting%.

      Of course if that puck doesn’t slide right to him late in the third and skips out of the zone while he’s pinching then we all tell a different story this morning, but the guy seems to be making his own luck lately. Just one man’s opinion anyway.

      • Based on where all 5 Isles were, Klein could have picked the puck up and fired off a shot before any of the Isles knew where the puck was.

        • haha i think some of them had shifted back towards center by the time of the missed one-timer/pass to klein but that is a fair point

  • Considering how much video the Rangers have, of what NOT to do, from this game it’s amazing they skated away with 2 points, in regulation non the less.

    I really hope this game is a wake up call for the Rangers to stop being so careless with the turnovers. They’re happening all over the ice and everyone on the team has been guilty, even Talbot who passed it directly to the Islanders at least twice last night.

    And not to be a nit-pick Dave, but on Stepan’s goal, Kreider’s nifty pass was on the forehand, not backhand… great job on the goal breakdowns though seriously, do you ever sleep?

  • As high of a score as it was, Cam Talbot still was a key contributor for why the Rangers won last night. This was a bench mark game. Without a doubt the biggest character win of the season was tonight. As stated it was a classic game but what made it so special is for a change, the Islanders are a very good team and this game had significance in many forms.
    I for one am happy that the Islanders are one of the better teams in the NHL this year. Them being better intensifies this rivalry to beyond a New York state of mind. Many people enjoyed this game outside of New York. Now a playoff match up would be just fantastic.

  • The Rangers at first played again a little carelessly(or should I say a lot) giving away the puck, but give the Islanders some credit. They are highly skilled and a tenacious fast checking machine that takes advantage of any mistakes the opponent makes. That is their strongest point and why they are in first place (though not for long). This game aside from anything else showed that the Rangers have real character and dignity and were not going to be denied in the way they came back. This was a confidence builder leading into the final games and the playoffs. Chris Kreider is becoming a beast almost unstoppable. If he becomes more consistent in his game, watch out! McDonagh is a real stud that may even get better.The Rangers could certainly use another big and solid physical defenseman. Hurry back Hank!

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