Game Wrap-ups

Rangers best Flyers in shootout win

rangers flyers
AP Photo/Tom Mihalek

The Rangers beat their bitter rivals the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday afternoon in a shootout, capping off a game that featured plenty of chances and two great goaltending performances. With the Rangers coming out on top Henrik Lundqvist became the first goalie in NHL history to earn at least 20 wins in each of his first 11 seasons, and Steve Mason played a solid game as well.

Although Philadelphia took the lead early the Rangers came right back and applied the pressure, eventually leading to a sensational goal from JT Miller later in the first. Despite Chris Kreider having the lone goal in the second the Flyers kept things relatively even for the first half of the frame and then spun some momentum out of their opportunities on the man-advantage, carrying it with them into the third. Wayne Simmonds then tied it up and while the Rangers made a late push the game went to overtime.

After a scoreless overtime period the game went to a shootout, where Mats Zuccarello put the kibosh on things with a dazzling goal on Steve Mason. While this was perhaps not the Rangers’ prettiest victory it was a solid two points on the road (in front of the Rangers’ moms!), and hopefully they can carry the momentum with them to Washington on Sunday.

Flyers 1 Rangers 0 

A poor shot decision by Chris Kreider gives Philadelphia the opportunity for the quick transition that eventually leads to the first goal of the game. Sean Couturier drops the puck off for Shayne Gostisbehere who rips the shot from the blue line. Raffl then gets the tip on it but Lundqvist makes the save, although Couturier the picks up the rebound and slides it across the crease to Brayden Schenn, who puts it home for the Flyers.

Flyers 1 Rangers 1 

Not too much to see here: Ryan McDonagh with a beautiful pass through the neutral zone right to the tape of JT Miller as he comes across the blue line, Miller lets the shot fly, and the Rangers are tied at the end of the first period.

Flyers 1 Rangers 2

This play starts with the kind of stretch pass the Rangers love hitting Derek Stepan right at the blue line. Stepan then cooly controls the puck and puts it across for Rick Nash, who enters the zone with Chris Kreider coming in hot on the opposite wing. Nash sends Kreider a nifty backhand pass as he breaks to net, which Kreider puts away to give the Rangers a one goal lead.

Flyers 2 Rangers 2

The Flyers tie it up with a nice tick-tack-toe passing play on the man-advantage about halfway through the third. The play starts with Gostisbehere working the puck down from the point to Giroux at the top of the left circle. Giroux then puts the pass cleanly across the slot for Voracek at the opposite circle, who then moves it to Wayne Simmonds directly in front of the net for the tap in goal. A simply gnarly passing play that caught the Rangers’ defense unaware ties the game to eventually send it to overtime.

Flyers 2 Rangers 3

Wasn’t much to see in the shootout except three saves from Hank and one righteous move from a righteous dude.

Score Adjusted Shot Attempts and Scoring Chances
chart (9)

chart (10)

The shot attempts chart here tells us what was plainly evident from watching the game: the Rangers had some momentum early, and then the Flyers began to bring it back in the second and third periods. Scoring chances tells a little bit different of a story however, with the Rangers holding the lead through two periods and then keeping it relatively even in the third.

Obviously you’d rather that first chart being a little more favorable to the Rangers, but taking into account the scoring chances differential qualifies the loss of momentum in the second and third periods a little bit. All in all what these charts will tell you is what we all saw: the Rangers were pretty good in general but not particularly great at times.

Shot Locations

Screen Shot 2016-01-16 at 6.56.49 PM

Not exactly what you’d want to see against a team that has an outstanding goaltender and some serious fire power up front but the Rangers got away with it. Here we can see that the Flyers had a large amount of shot attempts in the slot area, while the Rangers were kept largely to the outside.

Individual Shot Attempts

Screen Shot 2016-01-16 at 7.00.30 PM

Here we can see that while a significant portion of the Rangers roster had a tough game possession wise the Rangers third and fourth  lines and puck moving defensemen carried them in this department.

It was almost exactly what you’d want out of a rivalry matchup like Rangers/Flyers – outstanding goaltending from Henrik Lundqvist, and exciting game overall, and of course a Rangers victory. The Rangers’ next game is an equally, if not more important divisional matchup against the Capitals, against whom they can hopefully fine tune their game and keep up the momentum from this victory.

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  • Why does AV let $tepan take draws on the PP when Brass lines up on the wall Isn’t Brass our best FO guy , and i don’t bye it was on the wrong side of the ice so $tepan was the better option . Things that i saw from the game . Boyle had his worst game in awhile and Brass was right there with him . Kreider was flying on his goal he just flew by Bellmore like he was a pylon . Now only if we can win today we might be able to go on a run . Amy tell Bras he is aloud two shoot the puck when you talk to him

  • I’m a Boyle fan, and he has played well this season. But he’s played a lot, probably more than expected with the injuries, and I’d like to see McIlrath play in his stead today.

  • AVs pre game speech should be….We won a game yesterday, if we win one today that’s two in a row. If we win one tomorrow that’s called a winning streak. It has happened before.

    What movie?

  • Stepan was having a better day on FOs than brassard. No great option there but step was winning about half at the time

  • Sean Couturier picks up the rebound? No… Lundqvist kicked his initial weak shot right back to him. That shot could of easily been steered to the corner into safety. Lundqvist made a lot of really good saves, but that was not one of them.

    The Flyers played a good game, they are improving as a team. The Rangers are regressing. One area thats needs to get better is their PK, which ranks 20th. in the league. The good news is the Blue Shirt’s roster has a lot of young players on it and players that are still in their prime. However, I am starting to doubt that AV is the coach that can teach these players how to be competitive in the NHL.

    • Hank was simply terrific yesterday. In fact, he’s been getting better and better during this stretch of games. You can dissect the play of Price, Rask, Holtby, etc and find an issue here and there with all of them. Pretty rare to play a letter perfect game. It’s akin to saying a pitcher pitched a brilliant three hitter, but we’re going to take him to task for those three hits. Seems a ridiculous to me, but whatever.

      The Rangers are regressing? 5-3-1 in the last nine in including wins or points vs TB, Dallas, Washington, Boston and a streaking Flyers team. The team is playing dramatically better than the were playing a month ago. They aren’t too far behind points wise where they were last year. Seems like they are moving forward now, not backwards.

      As for AV’s abilities as a coach, I’ll let last year’s Jack Adams nominee’s record speak for itself.

      • Seriously Eddie, no one cares if AV was a Jack Adams nominee. BFD! You know one of the factors in Scotty Bowman having a great record? He always coached stacked teams. If fact, the Rangers tried to hire him when they had a brutally bad team but he declined because he didn’t want to ruin his record. It’s quite legitimate for many of us to question AV’s decisions because frankly some of them are dubious.

        • As Al Davis once famously said, “Just win baby!” That’s what AV does, and has been doing better than anyone else this past decade.

          Wins are all that matters. AV wins. Not some silly concern that he plays Tanner Glass too much or Dylan McIlrath not enough. That’s not how a coach is judged. (I can just envision the conversation in Toronto 15 years from now….looking at AV’s record. One of the winningest coaches of his era….two trips to the SC Finals….to this point…..but we have to deny him…because he made some strange decisions with some personnel. So let’s forget his stellar record…he’s out!….don’t think so!).

          For a goaltender, wins, GAA, Sv Pct…all that matters. Not some granular analysis if this play or that play.

          It’s just amazing to me that the two guys on the Rangers who are widely regarded at the very best at what they do…really the only true “stars” the Rangers have….that are likely to go into the HOF when it’s all said and done,…..Hank and AV, are somehow the ones that many would be happy to see out of here. And of course the reality is, since they are among the best at what they do, obviously, when the time does come to replace them, the chances you will find someone better aren’t very good.

          No one is perfect. Not saying either can’t be held accountable at times. But if one is looking at the biggest issues with the Rangers, it’s Kreider, it’s Hayes, its Nash, it’s just about every forward, it’s been the defensive struggles. Those are the issues. Maybe the players need to start playing up to their capabilities, as they did last year. They are starting to do that, so let’s see. If you feel AV gets the blame for this year, then it’s only fair you give him the credit for the last two.

          As for awards being meaningless, I’ll be sure to pass that along to the Hart and Vezina nominees from last year. 🙂

      • The Rangers specialty teams are sub par. There have no shape on the PK and no creatively on the PP. This is coaching. AV is and always has been a chearleader not a technical coach. Our youth will not not develop under his mentorship, as was the case with the youth in Vancouver.

        • The Rangers PK has been stellar the last two seasons. And it was stellar the first 20 some odd games of the season. Has it struggled the past 10-15 games or so? Absolutely. Does that absolutely need to be fixed? No question. Does the coaching staff need to do it. Of course, but the players need to as well. Unless you believe that Carl Hagelin was the sole reason we were successful on the PK these last few years, there’s no reason to believe the PK won’t improve and become a strength again.

          As for the PP, while the unit is currently in a slump, they are at 18.5%. This is the highest percentage since Jagr was here. Three Rangers coaches have struggled with the PP. AV, when he had the talent in Vancouver, had an incredible PP. These guys have NEVER been all that good. Sometimes, it’s talent, or lack thereof.

          As for cheerleader vs technical coach, I have no idea what that means. Why is he merely a cheerleader? Because he doesn’t growl at reporters like Keenan or Torts? Does that show he’s more technical somehow? Are you in the room to see how he handles things technically?

          This is the finest league in the world, going against the finest coaching minds. How does a mere “cheerleader” have this level of success? Sorry, that’s ridiculous.

          Maybe if you had a team that was loaded, like let’s say Chicago, I can see that. Show me the top tier talent on this team, other than Hank? It’s not there. AV has taken a good but hardly great team and has gotten more out of it than I ever could have imagined. To an extent, Torts gets the same kind of credit. In one season at least, he also got a lot out of very little…just not as much as AV.

          I think you are seriously underestimating the role of the coach in the team’s success.

  • Let’s not give anyone a bail out of jail card yet. Though Kreider scored he was horrible, Though Lundqvuist made some amazing saves he had bad moments too. Same for the rest of the team. They have this mentality right now of, that things are gonna fall apart on them. Their attitude and beliefs deflect confidence and instead embrace panic ( I couldn’t think of a different word. Panic is kinda extreme )
    Bottom line is this team is playing below average to their potential

    • I agree with that. Clearly, this team playing as it is at this moment is not winning the Cup. But the Cup isn’t up for grabs today. It’s amazing to me. We look at the play of a team right now and we automatically assume, that’s it. No chance we can get better. None. No chance the Caps can get worse. None. Nothing will change.

      Except of course, recent history says exactly the opposite. That’s what makes this sport the greatest of them all. It’s way too easy to draw any conclusions today.

      The only facts here…..the Rangers struggled mightily a month ago. They are playing significantly better the past nine against quality opponents. They have a recent history of brilliance under this coach, this goaltender, this group of six defensemen, and even their inconsistent forwards have proven they can go on a roll and get hot.

      Sure, it could be simply one of those years. If so, hey, it happens to a lot of teams that made deep playoff runs two years in a row. But there’s also a very good chance, based on their recent history, that they make a strong run.

      With a future HOF goalie and coach, I’ll take my chances any day.

    • I second that Kreider contention, Leatherneck.

      Why wasn’t he benched after what Pat described as “a poor shot selection” that led to Philly’s first goal?

      In essence Kreider simply bailed on the play, blithely-mindlessly shooting from distance when he could have cut straight to the net.

      Again, there appears to be no message sending from the bench.

  • Btw, watching Hockey Night Live last night, re:Yandle. EJ reports after speaking with Gorton that it’s pretty simple…..if the Rangers prove in the next five weeks they are legit Cup contenders, then he’s not being dealt. If not, then different story.

    No surprise. Exactly what I expect to be the case.

      • I know. There’s no chance to improve or regress. Nothing will change. Look how unbeatable the Islanders were at this time last year, right?

        Oops…I must have missed their parade. 🙂

  • The Rangers made the fishsticks look unbeatable when they played them on Thursday night and Jaroslav Halak was better then Henk. Perhaps, you saw the game differently Eddie in your rose coloured glasses?

    Did you happen to notice Michael Del Zotto play in Philly? He has rounded out his game and logs 24 minutes pure. Del Zotto was AV’s favourite whipping boy as McIIrath is today.

    • Wow Bloomer, you are becoming a master of distortion.

      So I’m not sure what you are saying. Is Halak a better goalie? If the cap wasn’t an issue, would you trade Hank for Halak? Better yet, would any sane GM?

      The game I saw…..two very evenly matched teams. The Rangers out played the Isles for the first two periods. As often happens, our forwards did everything well, except finish. Of course that’s AVs fault that these guys are, for the most part, playmakers rather than scorers.

      Then, Hayes makes a double mistake, your boy McIlrath makes an ill advised decision that he gets penalized on. Just like that, game turns. As I said the other day, I’m not going to kill either kid, but explain to me how it was AV’s fault that those things happened?

      As for MDZ, you really can’t be serious. There were serious rumors about his work ethic and commitment. He seriously regressed in Torts final season, and Torts was as critical if not more so. AV gave him every opportunity in the first half of his first season. He wasn’t cutting it. So they trade him for Klein (and while obviously AV has a say in these things, it was Sather who made the trade, not AV). You’d undo that trade? It’s been terrific for the Rangers, and Klein’s been key to the Rangers success.

      Meanwhile, the Preds grew tired of MDZ’s lack of commitment, and what did they do….they let him go for nothing! They couldn’t trade him. No one was willing to give up anything for him. So was he Trotz’s whipping boy too?

      He sits out as a FA….no one wants him. Finally the desperate Flyers give him a chance. He started slow, but then yes, he got his game going in a positive direction. So I guess Craig Berube is his savior. Let’s fire AV and hire Berube immediately! 🙂

      Or maybe, the young man, now 25 yo and a little more mature, has grown up, is working harder, and has figured some things out. A team like the Flyers, not a contender, could afford to give him that chance.

      Oh and by the way, MDZ this season is 3-8-11 and a -4. Kevin Klein, in eight less games, is 3-6-9 and a robust +13. We sure do miss MDZ! Puhhhlease!

      This AV whipping boy narrative is so ridiculous. Those of you who believe that AV is more inclined to do that than other coaches have very short memories. Torts was THE ultimate “whipping boy” coach. Keenan too. Every coach takes players to the woodshed. Such a totally bogus narrative.

      On the AV squad yesterday, AV talked about calling out Kevin Hayes. He said, I’m always going to be tougher on those young players who have the greatest upside, because it shows them how important they are and how we need them to keep growing. Exactly what was done successfully with Miller, and now we are seeing the results.

      That’s not making someone a whipping boy. That’s what’s called coaching.

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