Game Thread

Game 39: Aim for consistency in Sunrise

rangers panthers 2015

The Rangers played possibly their best game of the season on Wednesday, beating the Tampa Bay Lightning by a score of 5-2. They played solid defense, the goaltending was there, they had sustained offense, and they beat a solid team. The Rangers need to build on that performance tonight in Sunrise against a surprising Florida Panthers club that is second in the Atlantic.

The Panthers are getting solid goaltending from Roberto Luongo. They are also deep offensively, with six guys at the 20 point mark already (comparatively to the Rangers, who have just four players with 20 points). They are led by the ageless Jaromir Jagr, who at 95 years old is the team leader in goals (11) and points (26). He and Alex Barkov form a solid duo on the top line. Suffice it to say, this is not your typical bad Panthers team. They are for real, and will provide another solid test for the Rangers.

What have they done lately?


The Panthers are on an 8-2-0 run that not-so-coincidentally aligns with much better possession play. Part of it has to do with who they’ve played over the last ten games, but this is a team that has dominating wins over the Isles and Caps in that span. They also have wins over Montreal, Nashville, and St. Louis. This is a solid team on a hot run.


The Panthers have seen an uptick in their shooting and save percentages. Florida won’t continue at this 105 PDO pace, but the Rangers are coming to town at the wrong time. Meanwhile, the Blueshirts seemed to have finished their PDO crash, dropping all the way from 112 to 102.9 (full season numbers). Over their ten-game rolling average (seen above), they are getting back to league average 100 PDO. Assuming the defense shows up, then the worst is behind us.

Panthers Systems

Gerard Gallant has the Panthers running a 1-2-2 forecheck, which they will use aggressively or conservatively pending the game situation (e.g., the score, puck location, etc.). In their own end, the Panthers play a straight up zone defense. For special teams, Gallant runs a standard umbrella power play and diamond force/box penalty kill system.

Panthers Lines

Jonathan Huberdeau-Alex Barkov-Jaromir Jagr
Jussi Jokinen-Vincent Trochek-Reilly Smith
Brnadon Pirri-Corban Knight-Logan Shaw
Quinton Howden-Derek Mackenzie-Connor Brinkley

Willie Mitchell-Alex Petrovic
Aaron Ekblad-Dmitriy Kulikov
Brian Campbell-Erik Gudbranson

PP1: Jagr-Huberdeau-Barkov-Ekblad-Kulikov
PP2: Smith-Trochek-Pirri-Mitchell-Campbell

PK: Smith, Jokinen, Mackenzie, Barkov, Huberdeau, Mitchell, Campbell, Gudbranson, Kulikov, Ekblad

Roberto Luongo gets the start.

Rangers Lines

J.T. MillerDerick BrassardMats Zuccarello
Rick NashDerek StepanJesper Fast
Chris KreiderOscar LindbergEmerson Etem
Tanner GlassDominic MooreViktor Stalberg

Ryan McDonaghDan Girardi
Marc StaalDan Boyle
Keith YandleKevin Klein

PP1: Nash-Zuccarello-Brassard-Boyle-McDonagh
PP2: Kreider-??-Stepan-Yandle-Miller

PK: Nash, Stepan, Moore, Lindberg, Fast, McDonagh, Staal, Klein, Yandle, Girardi

Henrik Lundqvist is in net.

Scratches/Injuries: Kevin Hayes (healthy), Dylan McIlrath (healthy)

Crazy Prediction: Etem scores.

Be sure to check out our ticket link if you’re looking for tickets to the game. Game time is 7pm on MSG. All gifs will be on

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  • When and how long do we see it before Fast goes to the third line where he is most beneficial to the team . Don’t get me wrong i am a big fan of Fast the fourth line player but don’t like him moved up in the line up. Looks like Hayes is going to watch another game

    • See my response to Gary. DMC has been good, but you don’t just dump heart and soul vets who wear the A and have been key to success these past two years. The Rangers are coming off a great win with their lineup intact for the first time in awhile. Totally makes sense to give them all another game.

      DMC’s time will come.

      And yeah, AV’s horrible….the team just wins and wins these last two years in spite of him I’m sure.

      • talk about consistency, Staal has been consistently the worst D man. Who cares about his “A” , he didn’t deserve it in the first place

  • Why is Hayes not playing over Tanner Glass? Look, I get benching him for a game to send a message, but even at his worst Hayes is better than Glass. Glass nearly blew the last game for us with his dumb penalties. And McIlrath not playing is a crime, he’s been consistently effective. G is playing with a cracked knee cap!!! Let the kids play.

    • Have you been following the saga? Hayes is benched for lack of effort. He’ll be back in when he shows in practice he’s ready. Glass has played well (for Glass) in his 4th line role. The 4th line was great and Glass got the Broadway Hat. Why would you sit him?

      Sending a young player a message ultimately is good for the player. Just ask Miller. He was benched and demoted, had to learn valuable lessons, and he has.

      We need Hayes, but we need a fully engaged Hayes, not the 50% effort version we are getting now.

      McIlrath is another deal. He’s played well. But Girardi just came back, and played well, and the Rangers won. He’s a veteran that AV trusts and who’s been integral to the team’s success. Why sit him if he’s healthy enough to play? AV needs to find out now if he can still contribute.

  • Lots of Czechs, Swedes & Ranger fans at the rink tonight. I’ll be the one in a Barry Beck sweater, lower left by the face off dot.

  • Girardi reversing well enough, putting weight on his leg when hitting the curve. Still not super active.

  • I think Hayes can get his skates sharpened for the next game. Etem is the next one who needs to take a seat. Brutal.

    • Yup, Etem is struggling. Bad turnover leading to a goal, poor defensive position leading to a goal. Just took a penalty.

      • You can finger just abt every player on the team for making bad turnovers. This is not a problem of who is turning over pucks from game to game but it is happening so often that one can only conclude it is a systemic problem.

        • True. Too many penalties. Sloppy play.

          This is a big week against tough opponents and lots of practice time. We need to clean things up and fast.

  • Staal has been awful so far: drifting away from his spot at the point, getting caught out of position when turnovers happen, making passes out of his own zone where the recipient has no ability to string together a 2nd pass, causing the turnover.

  • Really great analysis on MSG showing Kreider waving at the puck on the pp, not screening Luongo. Very soft play from a guy whose size is way better of a weapon than his hands.

  • We do not have 1 solid and stable defensive pairing unit yet. at nearly halfway through the season.

    McDonah / Klein should be, but they still need many more games together to hit peak stride as a unit. I am confident they will do that.

    After these two players, and assuming McIlrath, remains on the bench, there is not one pairing which is sound and stable. Yandle/Girardi, Staal/Boyle, etc…no matter how you interchange these bottom four players, not one sound and stable unit exists.

    I’ve read ad nauseam about veterans, players with “A” on their jersey and rookies waiting their turn. That’s all well and good but what’s missing from the McIlrath naysayers is recognition of the stability and confidence he brings to enhance Yandle’s game, and which allows him to be very active with the puck. It completely changes our effectiveness defending and coming out of our zone. They have natural chemistry together and is exactly why Matt Bodie had a career year in Hartford last season being paired with McIlrath. Similar type of player as Yandle, similar outcome when Yandle/McIlrath are paired.

    When does “winning” take precedent over the respect due players like Staal and Girardi?

    And, sure, Boyle has played well the past few weeks, offensively, but it was always understood his point production hit a very hot streak — it was always unsustainable.

    This is not about McIlrath. There are drawbacks to playing him, and not playing him. It is about having to make a choice amongst competing objectives. Is it preferable to have Boyle’s power play prowess? Is it preferable to stick with Staal and wait for him to recapture form? Or, same for Girardi? Is it better to have McIlrath’s defensive strengths and physicality?

    There is no perfect solution but based on what I’ve seen on the ice this season, neither Girardi or Staal have come close to matching McIlrath on defense, and offering Yandle the stability and confidence he has when paired with McIlrath.

    This team must have 2 sound defensive pairings if it wants a fighting chance at winning.

    If it’s about the veterans offering the team the best chance of success in the playoffs, what is that based on? It can’t be last season or two seasons ago because we have a large set of data in the last 40 games that unequivocally shows the veterans aren’t getting it done.

    If we are not putting out the best players to and matches to win, what exactly are we doing?

    Your honor, I rest my case. 🙂

    • Agree 1000000%, I say screw the veterans who can’t play any more!!!!

      I’m sick and tired of hearing how we loose the locker room if you bench these clowns, so instead we loose the games. Makes sense doesn’t it ??????????

      • Lindberg, Hayes, Etem, Kreider, Fast, Stepan, McDonagh. All 26 years of age and younger. All underachieving. Some quite dramatically.

        You can make the case that our most overachieving players at the moment are Boyle, Glass, and Moore. 39, 32 and 35.

        This isn’t about age Walt. This is a team wide malaise and unfortunately you can’t bench everyone.

          • It doesn’t tell me any one particular thing. That’s too simplistic. In my opinion, it’s due to several factors–

            1) top problem, hands down, is that this is further proof that teams that make deep playoff runs are prone to a letdown. Teams that make TWO consecutive runs as deep as the Rangers have, which other than the Hawks is pretty much unprecedented, are particularly susceptible. It’s the biggest elephant in the room, but no one wants to go there. Even though it happens pretty frequently. Ask the Bruins and Kings last year, both of whom missed the playoffs.

            2) AV’s coaching style has always been predicated on trusting his players, and having the leadership in the room help correct problems. I really believe that the losses of both Richards and MSL in consecutive years has really hurt. You have one guy (Boyle) who has won a Cup. The rest of this crew has always had other veteran voices to turn to. They are gone and I believe it’s a huge void right now.

            3) I mentioned this the other day. When I look at the construction of this team, the rebuild that was done under Sather was flawed. Starting in ’98 under Neil Smith through 2005, the Rangers were brutal. They had favorable draft position. When you stink, you MUST take advantage of it. The Rangers drafted some decent role players in the 2nd-4th round, but they failed to land the big stars that most other contending teams now have. (And yes, that applies to 2010 as well, when we got a good but likely not great player in McIlrath as opposed to a difference maker like Tarasenko). We got Hank, but we kind of lucked into that one.

            So, the team develops a personality, first the gritty black and blue Rangers under Torts, then the up tempo overachievers we have seen the last two years under AV. But other than Hank, show me the stars?

            4) For the Rangers to be successful this season, it was crucial that young guys like Kreider step up and assume a larger role. AV challenged him to do it, because he believes in the kid. But he has epically failed to this point. So have a lot of the young guys to varying degrees. You want to blame AV? I don’t agree but that’s your opinion. Maybe these guys just aren’t that good and are better as role players than being the front line guys they’ve been asked to be.

            5) When I look at these last two seasons, I’ve seen a coach take a good but not great team and turn them into something special. They did it because, in my view, they had to work harder to achieve success than other contending teams, due to their lack of star power (other than Hank, who right now is struggling). AV did an absolutely brilliant job these last two seasons. In fact, I’d call it among the best two year coaching jobs with a lack of future HOF caliber talent that I can ever recall seeing. They have to play near flawless hockey to win. Right now, it’s not anywhere close to what is needed.

            6) Does this make AV blameless or take him off the hook here? Of course not. This is a huge test for a coach that has been among the most successful of the past decade. Past can be instructive. I’d rather have that then someone with no experience dealing with this. But past performance guarantees nothing. His legacy as a great coach is most definitely on the line here. But you don’t go from these past two seasons, conclude it’s the coach now when he was so much a part of the success was clearly due to him. You are advocating for firing AV because of this slump, despite his past success. So, with Hank struggling, by your logic, shouldn’t Benoit Allaire be shown the door too? If your knee jerk approach applies to AV, it should apply to everyone.

            As I said before, if you lined up every coach, every GM, every owner, and probably every player, and asked them whether or not AV is the PRIMARY reason for this current struggle, I can pretty much guarantee 95% or more would disagree with you.

          • #1) Mythology. These guys are all in great shape & will tell you winning once makes you want to win more. Tell that to dynasties like Habs, Oilers & Isles. I remember Mess in his book talking abt how the Oilers couldn’t believe that they lost to the Isles the first time because they were better until they passed the Isles locker room after Game 7 and saw a bunch of spent, exhausted guys and realized they’d been outworked. Injuries play a key role is winning a Cup so you have to get lucky there(cf last year’s Rangers).
            2) Those losses of Richards & MSL were expected and nobodies fault. So if there are few vet leaders maybe AV should show some FLEXIBILITY and not depend on his players but take more control in leading instead of relying on players.
            3) Agree with dreadful drafting. Brendl & Lundmark. Ugg. We didn’t luck into hank actually, the euro scout was really pushing for Lundqvist but was being ignored by Madden I believe. Finally they let him have his way & drafted him in the 7th to make that scout happy. Smith’s draft team was atrocious & our fortunes changed dramatically when Sather hired Gordie Clark, one of the best they’re is. And all that crap abt Tarasenko is really getting old. Ottawa traded their 16th(?) pick to St. Loo for Rundblad & St. Loo drafted Tarasenko, so let’s not dwell on it.
            4) It’s not just Kreider but most of the younger players who have regressed It’s a TEAM regression Eddie & that’s on the coach. You want to be a “company man” and boost the coach, that’s your take but those at the top are ultimately responsible. Ask Tom Coughlin.
            5) Absolutel you have to give AV credit, he did do a great job, especially in season one with that difficult start. He came to the Rangers because he knew it was a very good team & said he had been told there were some very good young players in the fold. So it’s not like he took over chopped liver. You don’t need HOF’s to win a championship.
            6) I don’t think Hank is at fault whatsoever. I remember people blaming Richter when he had a bunch of dogs playing in front of him. The opposition is getting many gold plated chances. Hank is not Merlin? So the Allaire analogy is you just being cute. As for you guaranteeing what others will say, unless you are Kreskin you can’t read anybody’s mind.

          • 1) you are sighting examples from the past. Look at the track record of teams in the post lockout era and what happens to them after deep runs. It’s different today. The SCF ends in mid-late June. Competitive balance makes repeating extremely difficult. Comparing this era to the previous ones is invalid. It’s fact. Now, it can be overcome. Look at Hawks. They’ve been amazing. But most do fall.

            2) I agree with that. It’s fair and an adjustment he hasn’t made which he should.

            Jumping to…

            4) agree to an extent. Obviously, he’s responsible. But look at Coughlin. Better example, look at Reid in Philly, who never won. You don’t show someone the door that fast. It does not speak well of your organization if you do. He’s clearly earned at least until mid-season next year. But yes, he MUST get it fixed.

            5) you don’t need HOFers, that’s true. And yes, it was and I believe still is a good team. But again, compare this roster to most other contending teams of the last few years. You do need some stars to rely on when the going gets tough.

            I agree AV must fixed this. But he has more than earned the chance to do just that.

          • I see Drouin is demanding a trade. I guess Cooper must be losing the room in TB. Maybe he should be fired.

            Or not. 🙂

  • I was never more excited for a season since 1994 than this one. I thought this team would be better than the 2014 team or even last year. I can’t believe that all these players have regressed so badly that they all suck. When you see a team struggle like this it goes way deeper than players not being good enough. This is a good team that is underperforming so badly that there is a good possibility they miss the playoffs. We need to hear from Jeff Gorton in the next few days because he has said absolutely nothing. Either he shakes the team up or he cans the coaching staff. He can’t waffle abt it, he has to act now.

    • He has to act now, why? Call Dolan, Paul is disenchanted! He demands at least a trade, but what he really wants is AV’s head on a platter.

      • You’re right, I’d rather fire the coach right now than trade a bunch of players, which will accomplish nothing since the team chemistry will be shot.

        • Fire the coach and hire who? Who’s out there who’s available who’s better?

          Are you by any chance related to George Steinbrenner? 🙂

          • As our new Prime Minister in Canada says “Better is ALWAYS possible.”

          • I just had Chinese for dinner and i expect to find that saying in my fortune cookie. 🙂

            The problem of course with a fortune cookie is that you never really know what you are going to get, which leads me to this.

            Was watching the Giants game today. They were discussing the likelihood that Coughlin will be fired. They referenced something that John Madden said when the Niners were getting ready to fire Mariucci some years ago. He said it would be a huge mistake to fire a quality coach, because once an organization has one, it’s really hard to replace that person. Especially, you don’t do it unless you know you can upgrade. And you don’t do it emotionally.

            Sure enough, Mariucci was fired after a string of really good seasons, and the Niners then went through a decade of mediocre coaches and poor play.

            The Rangers have two people in their organization currently that are recognized as being among the best at what they do–Lundqvist and Vigneault. The chances you can upgrade over either are statistically slim.

          • Opened a fortune cookie on New Year’s Eve & it said that my first love has never forgotten me. Dammit I’m trying to figure out who that was! 🙂

    • Gorton won’t talk. He’s from the Sather camp of being a Marcel Marceau GM.

      I think a shakeup is coming in the form of a trade. No chance the coaching staff gets canned this season. Who’s out there who can do better?

      Changing coaches make you feel better for a day or two, then reality sets in. Ask the Eagles if they regret firing Andy Reid for that idiot Chip Kelly. Already mentioned the regressions in Vancouver and Pittsburgh. Can a really good coach and you likley pay for it with a string of mediocre to bad replacements.

      No chance this year. They already have a top 3-5 coach. Next year? Whole nother story.

      • No chance the coaching staff gets canned? Do you have inside sources? When a team plays so badly all year there is always a chance because the GM holds the hammer.

        • If as you have hinted Messier is in the wings, but that seems very hard to believe, not to mention a possible disaster. Who else? Schoenfeld? If I were a good coach I’d be reluctant to hire on with a team that sent a coach with AV’s record packing before trying to fix the personnel. I’d love to know who said what to whom when contracts were worked up for Girardi, Staal, Boyle (instead of Stralman) etc. That would be great info and would shed more light on these things than all our repetitive speculations.

          • I used to know a Ranger fan who knew one of another team’s management guys & he’d tell me stuff before it even happened, that was cool. Ya if only we knew what was going on in the room or what Gorton is thinking. He’s truly in a tough spot because the possible disaster is already happening.

        • I have no inside sources, and you are right, my response was emotional rather than factual. “No chance” is inaccurate, because in the world of sports, ANYTING can happen. I revise my statement to “slim chance”. 🙂

          I have no inside sources. But I agree with Mythdoc. The Rangers would look ridiculous firing AV at this point after the past two years of tremendous overachievement. A good coach would have no interest in coming here if that became our M.O. Players would also be reluctant. As I said, it’s a panic move that could have a short term positive effect, but is far, far more likely to backfire long term. I ask again, who’s out there?

          Gorton won’t be making this decision anyway. Sather is still very involved and he loves AV. Unless there was a rift between Gorton and AV, and/or the players felt he had lost the room and complained about it (a la Torts), I see no way that happens or should happen. If there was an issue, the NY press would surely have picked up on it by now. It was not much of a surprise when Torts was canned. This would be beyond shocking.

          That’s just not the way this organization operates.

          • Mike Keenan was fired after winning a Stanley Cup so what AV did in his first two years means nada if the team plays ugly hockey. In sports is not what you did before but what you do NOW that counts, the same for players. You say a good coach would have no interest in coaching the Rangers if they fired AV? Totally wrong, a good coach would recognize it as a challenge & wouldn’t care what happened to AV. As they say coaches are hired to be fired. You could trade three or four guys and that could backfire worse. Did it backfire to fire Torts? And let me tell you if Sather is calling the shots then we are in deep trouble because you’re implying that Gorton is not the boss. And if he isn’t he won’t last long either. Why would the NY press pick up on any rifts? What goes on in vegas stays in Vegas. As for who is out there, that remains to be seen. I’m guessing but don’t discount Messier. I know he will be a disaster just like The Undertaker was going to be. As AD says I rest my case 🙂

          • Keenan was not fired after he won the Cup. He and Smith both acted like horse’s asses, Keenan imploded as he did virtually everywhere he’s been. That was a mutual parting, not a firing.

            What good coach is out there right now? Messier? Yes, teams have been just lining up to his him. That would be the biggest gamble of all time, which would likley fail. You don’t flush a coach or a player with a resume like that unless there’s an extraordinary circumstance.

            I never said that McIlrath was going to be a disaster. What I objected to, and still do, is the overhype. I said he is not going to be a difference making player, especially on this team this year. So far, I’ve been proven correct. Good, solid, like his game. But difference maker? Hardly.

            Of course Sather is ultimately calling the shots. He’s the team President. You actually believe that Gorton could make this move without Sather’s sign off?

            Also, there are rumors that Sather was very interested in Mess two years ago but Gorton talked him out of it. Not likely either go there–yet.

            On the NY press comment, I don’t know what to tell you. I’m in the business and you are totally wrong. The NY press lives for this kind of thing. If there was something there, we’d hear rumors at least.

          • Wrong. Smith was going to fire Keenan Cup or no. They trumped up a story to make it look like a mutual parting.

          • I spoke with Gutkowski and other on this some years back. Yes, they worked together on the exit strategy, but Gutkowski saw that while Keenan was a genius and the right guy short term, his bizarre power hungry tendencies made him untenable as a coach long range. If you were Smith and the guy you hired backstabs you by going after your job, which is what he did in NY, did in Chicago (I spoke to management there too), you wouldn’t want him out? He proved over and over that he was incapable of playing nice in the sandbox with upper management at every single stop (maybe even why he was fired after winning the Gragarin Cup, who knows). As a result, his flawed personality ruined what should have and could have been a HOF career.

            But that’s old news. The point is that the comparison between why Keenan left and why it might be possible for AV to be let go are as different as apples and oranges, unless you believe that AV suddenly has lost his mind and is going after Gorton’s job.

      • Nobody in Philly is regretting the loss of Andy Reid.

        They might regret letting Chip Kelly have player personnel control more, but Andy had passed his sell by date.

        Guy Boucher is sitting by the telephone.

        • Perhaps….but Reid got a good long run before they moved on. I don’t believe there’s any way they make a change at this juncture.

          Next year? Different story.

  • Brilliantly written AD. I agree with much of this. To me, everything you are saying is correct, but that decision doesn’t have to be made yet. I agree, Yandle seems better with McIlrath in there. But, if you’re watching this game and you honestly believe that McIlrath would have made any difference in this game, I just would have to disagree. The Rangers as a team were BRUTAL when McIlrath was playing regularly. Was it his fault? Of course not. But to isolate on that when there are so many other concerns right now seems like a misplaced priority.

    We are not getting outphysicalled out there. We are getting our butts kicked because our special teams, which had been a strength, have gone south. The PK has been especially concerning. Maybe McIlrath helps there, maybe not.

    Our defense wasn’t great tonight, but they did a decent job limiting scoring chances 5×5. Etem killed us on two goals. I’m far, far more concerns about the fact that our forwards were mostly lackluster tonight. No one wants to get in front of the net. Kreider is terrible. That’s the far bigger issue.

    Personally, I still want to see a few more games with the core group of defensemen and see what they can do. If they are exposed, then sure, make a change. What you are saying may need to happen eventually. I want to see the three game home stand before I come over to the “dark side” on this thinking. 🙂

    • All fair points. I get where you are coming from.

      I guess what I am bothered by is the unnecessary burden Vigneault is placing on Hank and the rest of our defensive unit when he does not offer them 2 stable pairings. It’s simply disruptive to a team trying to find its form.

      I never implied McIlrath alone changes outcomes — what I am saying is this team first and foremost needs stability within its GK and top 2 pairings. The ramifications to the rest of our lineup are significant, and IS the difference often times between winning and losing.

      This team must have 2 stable defensive pairings to have a fighting chance, and that should be the top priority now, as I see things.

      • Oh, and I concur — you very well may be right the decisions referenced in this post do not have to be made yet. But, if not now, we are very close.

  • Until silly time 0-3 the Rangers controlled play and outshot Fl by a wide margin. The Panthers are like the Rangers were earlier in the year, red hot shooting the puck and with a ridiculous PDO.

  • Can’t complain abt team playing soft either. 34 hits tonight which is why we controlled the play.

      • Ya that’s the idea,you hit them and they lose the puck so you can get it back. It’s called finishing your check by coaches, instead of waving at it with your stick while they can still manoever. Hard to manoever when you are on your ass or poinned to the boards.

  • Staal defensive lapse, and Etem’s penalty, were turning points. Right now, we have little steel as a team; we can play well for long stretches but crumble quickly once some damage is inflicted.

    • It’s a good point. This is a team that has been as mentally strong as any I’ve seen over these last few seasons. Resiliency was part of their DNA. To see them crumble quickly, as you said, whenever anything goes wrong might be the most alarming thing of all.

      The team is lacking confidence and needs a spark. A trade seems inevitable.

      • Penalties are going to happen but what is happening to our PK which has been a real strength.

        • Yep. That’s a huge concern. We always relied on a strong PK. Not going anywhere if that’s not addressed.

  • In his last 9 games, Lundqvist has a save percentage under .900 save times and without Staal in the last game it would have been eight. His masterpiece was an even .900. Obviously you can’t win when the team is shut out, but goaltending has a lot to do with the current malaise.

    • It seems like so many of our losses recently, we gave up 5 and 7 goals. Defenseman and forwards have to do their part, but ultimately, the goalie is responsible for reading the play, tracking the puck. Hank is definitely not in the MVP race anymore.

      • No doubt. Hank has struggled as much as anyone. We’ve seen him have slumps before, but right now there aren’t enough guys stepping up to cover for it. This is just a classic team wide malaise.

  • Staal has been in a coma all year, Girardi at least has the injury ( cracked knee cap) as a excuse. So Staal keeps getting a pass because he makes big $$$ and wears the A, Girardi , age issue, many miles , playing hurt. also wears the A, both have player friendly contracts, Boyle too. But definitely sit Mcllrath , no way he can do better than these 3, All IS WELL IN RANGERVILLE????

    • Girardi was fine tonight, need to see how he is against Dallas for his turnaround. Staal was bad early, played well after the 1st.

      Tonight was one of those shit happens nights beyond the opening goal.

      • Luongo had 40 saves. If a goalie pitches 40 saves, another 100 shots wouldn’t have made a difference. 40 shots and no goals, Luongo wasn’t letting nothing in that net tonight.

    • Bobby, I respect you but your McIlrath obsession is clouding your judgment. The defense wasn’t great, but it was hardly the issue. The Rangers as a team were playing far more brutal have defensive hockey when McIlrath was in the lineup than they have in the last two games. As I said in a previous post, I’m not at all saying it was his fault, but do you honestly believe McIlrath would have made any difference in the outcome last night? If you do, then I respectfully submit you are not being honest with yourself.

      Why in the world would you jump on Boyle. He didn’t make an impact last night but he’s been real good. Girardi has played fine since he’s been back. Staal? You might have a case there.

      The issue last night was our forward play. Lots of shots but few grade A chances generated. No one willing to go to the net (im talking to you Kreider and Nash). Etem was brutal.

      That’s the story of the game. Not McIlrath’s absence.

      • In life a motivating factor is performance & if you don’t reward it you are sending everybody else the wrong message. And when you do that you are asking for trouble.

        • Yes, but so is past performance. And eight months ago, those guys authored a second consecutive deep playoff run and shut down Ovie and company. That matters too, more so than a small sample of games where yes, the kid played well but the team was horrible.

          The defense as a unit has been better these last two games without McIlrath. Not saying it’s his fault, but that’s fact. There’s also a right of passage that happens, and any transition needs to be handled the right way. The right message is being sent at the moment, not the wrong one. But no question, McIlrath has made it clear he’s coming and if the vets want to stay in, past performance won’t be enough.

  • Listening to Joe M you would have thought the Rangers were winning 5-0 instead of losing 3-0.O well Hayes back in for Etem Vs Dallas

  • it seems when the boys win they cannot follow it up for an example you beat Anaheim but then you come back from a break can’t beat Nashville where there was no discipline then you beat Tampa on Wednesday night rivalry night then you can’t beat Florida there is no consistent level now the boys are back at home against 3 teams Dallas, Washington, Boston it is time for them to wake up.

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