Game Wrap-ups

Cam Talbot steals one, Rangers beat Islanders in thriller

What a week it has been for Cam Talbot. After being awarded the third star of the week last week (3-0-0, 3 goals on 86 shots, 1 shutout), he came to Long Island and stopped 29 shots from the New York Islanders, holding a 2-1 win for the New York Rangers. This win was another win that had a playoff feel to it, probably because the last four games have been against playoff teams.

The Rangers actually had a pretty terrible first period, surrendering 13 high quality shots. Talbot stopped all but one as the Rangers weathered the storm, but they were lucky to be out of that period down just one. But it was all Rangers in the second and first half of the third, and they used that momentum to get a pair of goals to take the lead. The Isles really turned it on, trying for the equalizer, but Talbot shut the door on multiple high quality chances.

The Rangers are 12-2-3 without Henrik Lundqvist. If you asked me if that were possible, I would’ve laughed in your face. I’m in utter awe at this team right now.

On to the goals:

Isles 1, Rangers 0

You don't like to see these kinds of goals.
You don’t like to see these kinds of goals.

Talbot had a great game, but he wants this one back.

Rangers 1, Isles 1

Wow Kevin Hayes. Just. Wow. Strength, skating ability, hockey sense. He just has it all.

Rangers 2, Isles 1

You create your own luck.
You create your own luck.

Dan Girardi laid a good hit on Brock Nelson along the boards in the defensive zone, which knocked Nelson off the puck. Marc Staal picked up the pass, got it to Derick Brassard, who moved it up the ice to Rick Nash. Nash’s pass from the point to Mats Zuccarello in the high slot went off Ryan Strome and past Halak for the goal.

Fenwick/USAT Chart:

Typical Rangers/Islanders
Typical Rangers/Islanders

The Rangers seem to have an issue with the first period against the Isles. Every single first period, they have issues. But in the last two games, they’ve fallen behind, and then won in regulation. It’s truly great to see.

Scoring Chances:

Isles had a lot of great chances. In Cam We Trust.

While the two teams were close to even in shot attempts, the Isles absolutely dominated the quality scoring chances. Talbot really stole this game for the Rangers.

Individual Corsi/SAT:

Stepan, Kreider, MSL. Oof.

That second line has been an absolute possession black hole, and they were finally split up during the game. Unfortunately, it was Chris Kreider that was sent to the fourth line, on the off-wing no less. I think the biggest issue is Martin St. Louis here, but he finds a way in the playoffs. We shall see.

Shot Locations:

Holy Talbot

There’s not much to say on this. Holy Talbot.

Shift Chart:

Normal AV

Alain Vigneault switched up the lines in the third period, moving J.T. Miller up to the second line to reward his strong play (minus that giveaway to Josh Bailey). Kreider went to the fourth line. Other than that switch up, it was a normal AV game, with McDonagh/Girardi getting the Tavares line when possible.

The Rangers have gone 3-0-1 against Nashville, Detroit, Chicago, and the Isles. All four games had a playoff feel to them, and the Rangers got seven of eight possible points. They are now one point back of the Isles for the Metropolitan Division lead, but have a whopping four games in hand. This team has been unreal to watch. The shooting numbers are starting to normalize, the possession numbers are getting better, and they keep on winning.

Why not THIS team?

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  • Last night I asked this question, and I’ll re-post it:::::

    Great outcome, loved beating the fish sticks!!!!!!

    Please explain to me if anyone could, what the hell was the reason for Glass to be in the game??? To add grit??? Why didn’t he come to the defense of Zucc when Martin hit him like a rag doll in the second period, floored the little guy, and no response. WTF???????

    I hope I never see him again this season………………..

    Martin not only got Zucc real good, but hit Hayes after he scored, late at that, and could have hurt him as well. AV, please keep Clarabelle the clown off of the ice.

    As for the game, rough first, man did the Isles look good, and we were indeed lucky to get out of the period behind by only one. Once the second started, we played very well, and at times the cycle looked so good, where we had them tied by in their end for what appeared to be 3-4 minutes??? I have to give credit where it’s due, that Islander’s team is a very good, skilled, big, tough team that can skate, hit, and just flat out play some very good hockey!!!!!!!!

    I don’t want to see them in the early rounds of the PO’s……..

    • I think the Rangers and the Isles pose the same 1st period problems for teams. First period you are super fresh, and both teams have strong fast skating. That is is hard to keep up with. For us, so long as we weather the storm in the first against a fast opponent, we have the durability and endurance to outlast them…

      Great Win last night. Tough win but a great win.

      PS: Talbot was great but gave up a pretty soft goal… get that 5-hole closed up with that stick when you are down…

      • I liked what Duguay and Valli said on the postgame, they both felt the Rangers basically played rope-a-dope in the first period and let the Isles run themselves ragged. The game definitely shifted in the second period and once the Rangers got some bounces on the forecheck, that was pretty much it for the Isles.

        Actually, for me, the theme of the night was the Rangers ability to press the Isles D all game, especially Zucc, Nash, and Hagelin. There were very few clean headman passes from the Isles D all game. And if the pass did get through, Boyle and Girardi were particularly good at maintaining their gap in the neutral zone and harassed the Isles LWs all night. It seemed like the Isles wanted to break out on their left all night and tried to take advantage of Boyle and Girardi.

        Also, is that the right shot chart for the Isles? I only ask because the goal is missing and it didn’t seem like there were that many point blank shots against Talbot.

    • Glass wasn’t on the ice when Zucc got clobbered, but to be fair, it was a clean hit.

      This whole “Glass is a deterrent” thing is way overblown. He’s not.

      • Kind of disagree Dave…. If Glass wasn’t on the ice, he hopped out directly after (maybe even for Zuc). That whole sequence ended with Halak covering the puck. Both Glass and Martin were within a foot of the crease. It’s not that I’m looking for a fight but Glass didn’t even so much as chirp Martin. Complete and utter nonsense.

        Agree with the rest of your post. Hit was clean. Glass is not a deterrent.

        Glass has been very docile of late, which is something that we are not used to after Prust, Carcillo…. they are team guys who stand up for and look out for teammates. It isn’t about dropping the gloves. For whatever reason, Glass doesn’t seem to do much in this dept. Couple that with his atrocious ability and we have a guy who is deservedly and universally disliked.

    • Glass is gould for nothing. I think we’ve all beat that to death. AV put him in the game in case Martin went on a cheap shot spree and he did with Glass in the lineup. If the Rangers fourth line is to be a 40% CF every night, I’d rather the group at least be responsible in their own end. That’s what we got from Sheppard in the games he played. I was hoping with Sheppard in place of Glass, the 3 could own the puck closer to 50% but that didn’t happen. So at least play the 3 solid defensive players. Glass turns the puck over, falls down when a fan sneezes, can’t play defense, and has no offensive skill whatsoever.

      I’d like to point out to all the fans that didn’t want Kevin Hayes at the beginning of the season. I’m sure there’s no one that said that now but he’s been as important a player for the Rangers as anyone. I remember some fans saying he’d be a big, slow, lumbering forward. He’s big but he skates well enough and has learned the center position. He gives the NY Rangers size down the middle and the ability to play against bigger defenseman.
      Again, I’m sure no one said that in the offseason now!

  • A few things to note – With all the hate that Girardi gets lately, he and MCD are still shutting down the opposing teams #1 line night after night. He must be doing something right.

    JT moving up is more about effort than anything else. We know AV loves effort.

    Glass played a decent game, but I expect to see Sheppard back in.

    Now the $8M question. Henrik needs at least 5 games to get ready for the playoffs. At this point, with about 15 left, I can’t see the NYR switching to Hank for the first round of the playoffs. Cam is playing “Hank-like”, so he needs to continue to be in the net.

    Here come the thumbs down.

    • I’ll spare you the thumbs down, but let’s be reasonable. Lundqvist was playing Vezina caliber goaltending prior to getting hurt. Talbot’s on a nice streak right now, but has absolutely no playoff experience. How do you tell a guy who helped get his team to the Cup Finals last year that his backup is playing well at the moment, therefore he gets the opening playoff series? Then what? If they advance then he’s in until they lose? What if they don’t win that opening series, how does the coach justify that to his team and fans?

      Let’s enjoy the run Talbot is having, but let’s also keep things in perspective.

    • It may be raining thumbs on you right now but if he has a slow start when he comes back watch how quick everyone panics.

      Meantime it has been awhile since I saw anyone post “trade hank”

  • WOW did TG keep the Isles honest last night . He must have told MM all night to please stopping hitting the Rangers , especially after Hayes scored . WTF is he doing in the lineup . MSL needs a couple of games off to watch from upstairs . Stepan might be signing for 2M if he keeps up h playing like he is now will help the Cap .First we get Richards then Boyle and Now Yandle to fix our PP who do we bring in next think we might be able bring Leetch back at a discount for the PP only .LGR

    • If this team had a top 5 PP (and they absolutely have the personnel to make that happen), they would be unstoppable. According to Don Maloney on the radio broadcast last night, the Rangers NEVER practice the PP. That’s crazy. The Matt Martins of the world would think twice if we could score a f*cking PP goal. AV has done a lot well, but the PP needs to be fixed.

      • I’ve been pulling my hair out for years watching the numerous PP units we run out there… It is such an easy fix, I just don’t understand why they keep reverting back to old habits. By that I mean standing still. I can’t stand the people, broadcast included, who just sit there and scream shoot. Contrary to the belief that it’s important just to get shots, and that there’s nothing wrong with just firing it on net… I’d love for those people to explain that to me when you’re shot gets blocked into the high wingers feet and goes the other way for a breakaway… but I digress. The reason they don’t shot enough is because they don’t open any shooting lanes. They don’t open any shooting lanes because they don’t move, with or without the puck. None. Zero. Zip, or however you want to say it. A two year old baby can defend a PP with no moving parts, don’t believe me, I’m pretty sure I saw Cizikas out there last night. Watch any PP (good PP) around league, not only does the puck carrier move, the entire unit shits to open ice. This is the only thing that will force PK’s to adjust and open up passing and shooting lanes. This is pee-wee stuff, and no matter who we bring in, no matter how good they WERE at running the PP, they all seem to sink their feet into quicksand when they get here. I’m so tired of it, and I just simply don’t understand how pro’s can’t fix this. And it is very troubling to hear, if true, that the coaching staff hasn’t tried.

        • I think we have to accept the fact that this PP wants to pass the puck into the net. It’s frustrating to watch because that type of PP is feast or famine. It won’t generate chance after chance, it leads to situations where goals are scored almost out of the blue.

          Despite the results not being there on the PP I do like what Yandle brings. The number of pucks he’s knocking down at the blue line is impressive.

          Last thing, that’s a great typo Kevin.

    • Finally someone points to Stepan. Put MSL with Hayes and see how he takes off. Stepan is the problem with that line.

  • Two points:

    1. Why is the late hit by Martin on Hayes after the goal not a penalty?

    2. The PP still sucks. Not all Yandle’s fault by any means but he’s no more of a magic elixir for the PP than Boyle was. As for everyone else – way too much passing and not enough shooting. Bad zone entries, too much time wasted circling around in the NZ or DZ or chasing the puck down after its cleared because possession was not established in the OZ. Their best zone entry was when Talbot came way out of the crease and made a stretch pass to the NYI blue line catching the Fish Sticks in a change.

    • No, it’s not a penalty because it’s not a penalty. In what universe should that get called? Martin hits Hayes a fraction of a second after the puck crosses the line, with Halak kicking out to try to make the save. From Martin’s angle, it’s a judgment call: either coast in and maybe allow Hayes to bang away for a rebound (if Halak had made the save), or shove Hayes out of the crease…something we all wish Rangers did more of.

      Not a penalty.

    • Issue goes beyond point men. The forwards have been consistent and haven’t produced. They look to create instead of putting pucks on net.

  • Cam is exceeding expectations, although the first goal was really bad but he more than made up for it. That hit on Hayes was disgraceful and as usual the NHL refs suck big time. Major league sport, minor league officiating.

    • Disgraceful? Don’t be a homer.

      Martin had no time to decide whether or not the puck was in. He had to act quick to prevent Hayes from banging for a rebound. So, he zeroed in and shoved Hayes out of the crease a fraction of a second after the puck crossed the line. Nothing wrong with that. Hayes was fine and didn’t seem at all upset about it.

      • Hayes is a big boy, he wasn’t going to be bothered by Martin. What a goal though. Hayes is turning into a beast this stretch run. Hayes is like a clumsier version of Jagr, he has Jagr’s hands, vision, size, and balance he just doesn’t have Jagr’s impeccable skating.

        It was nice seeing the Isles attempt to intimidate the Rangers all night and the Rangers couldn’t really care less. I know it’s strange to see for longtime hockey fans, but if you look around the league, the best teams over the past few seasons, Chicago, Los Angeles, the Rangers, they avoid all that stuff and only react when something really dirty happens.

        • I absolutely love what Hayes brings to the table. We knew he’d be good –Chicago’s top prospect– but I think he’s surpassed almost everyone’s expectations, especially in terms of just how much he’s improved since his first NHL game. It’s refreshing to find this type of player. Too often Rangers prospects take a long while to develop, and even then often are a disappointment –and this is true of prospects in general–, but Hayes has just continued to impress and improve each and every game.

          He’s got quite the ceiling. And that’s exciting.

      • Nah, the puck was already in the net, it was a dirty cheap shot hands down, has nothing to do with being a homer. This crap goes on all the time and not just to the Rangers but league wide.

    • Actually, I prefer to think of it as the players deciding the game, not the officials. Would you prefer it being like the NFL, where there are three teams on the field, and the one in the striped shirts always wins? Besides, if you follow the replay, Martin’s hit didn’t even take the smile off Hayes’ face.

    • Boyle had no chance handling Lee, was completely dominated on that goal. One of the problems when Boyle was paired with Stall was if there’s size in the matchup, these goals will happen.

  • Let’s see if AV has the cahones to sit MSL or Stepan in the next week. One of them needs to rest the mystery “upper-body-strain” Every game Stepan plays costs him about $100K a year at the bargaining table these days.

  • I’ve never seen so much negativity after a team takes over first place. Relax people and stop looking for things to pick apart!!!!

  • NHL history is littered with goaltenders who were incredible for one year, maybe two, but who did not manage to remain elite tenders for the long run. If we could glance at a list of the top ten NHL goalies three years from now, Henrik Lundqvist’s name would be on it. The Rangers are committed to Hank long term and it is a reasonable commitment. Lundqvist is the Ranger goalie – case closed. If Hank can get into proper form for the postseason, he needs to be in goal. It is who the Rangers are.

    That said, on this particular day, all the evidence is that Talbot is as good or better than Lundqvist. He has eight shutouts since the start of last season. Only ten other goalies have as many. Nine of the ten have played over 100 games and Dubnyk in the high 70s. Talbot has started only 44. The statistical evidence is that Talbot is the best in the game — but the sample size is too small.

    I lost count of the thumbs down when I said the Rangers weren’t doomed if Hank didn’t come back. I’m not surprised at how well Talbot is playing. Still, I won’t be critical if the Rangers trade him in the offseason. Hope for a couple of #1 draft choices.

    • Talbot has turned it around in the past week. I still say he’s played more mediocre and bad games than good games since Hank went down.

      The good news is that Cam’s recent turnaround is due to improved mechanics. He’s quieter in the crease which is leading to better rebound control. He also is losing his crease less frequently. Cam is definitely finding his A game again, something that he didn’t have for most of this stretch as the starter.

      At first, I thought there was no way the Rangers could ever get anything of consequence for Talbot. This recent stretch has changed things in my mind. Like you said, he is now building a track record and that means a lot when you look at the bunch of one and done type goalies that are part of the NHL’s recent history. Jim Carey and Andrew Raycroft come to mind here.

      Talbot still might be worth more to the Rangers than what he can garner in a trade, but at least the potential return on a Talbot trade is growing.

  • Three comments…

    1. Dave, you are a gentleman. 😉

    2. I forget if I mentioned it here, but I recently saw an interview where Kevin Hayes talked about how he watches EVERYTHING Nash does on and off the ice (I took that as meaning preparing for games etc). The kid is a fast learner. If he becomes 80% of the player Nash is, then he’s going to be thrilling Ranger fans even after his mentor is gone.

    3. I really wish someone would imprint the Keep It Simple Stupid slogan into Talbot’s head. Perhaps it is his inexperience, but his tendency for poor decisions and mishandling the puck once he steps outside of the blue paint are his Achilles’ heels. Where are the coaches on this?

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