Game Wrap-ups

Rangers storm back from down two, take down Wild

rangers wild
AP Photo/Seth Wenig

It was the usual start to the game that Rangers fans had become accustomed to. The Rangers were quickly down 2-0 after allowing a breakaway goal and a powerplay goal, their third straight goal allowed while killing a penalty. But all was not lost. The Rangers, even though they were down two, had the ice tilted in their favor most of the game. It was only a matter of time until they broke through.

And in the second period, they did just that. Ryan McDonagh and J.T. Miller scored two goals in 1:20, tying the game five minutes into the period. The Rangers pressed more, completely dominating even strength. They took the lead in the third on a Derick Brassard goal, and continued to dominate the overmatched Wild. Chris Kreider eventually sealed the deal with an empty netter.

Henrik Lundqvist wasn’t tested that much. He faced just 18 shots, but he came up big when they needed it late.

As always, you can view the full videos on our video page here. All GIFs are on nyrgifs.comfiltered under the date of the game. On to the goals:

Wild 1, Rangers 0

carter goal

Marc Staal mishandled the puck at the blue line, then tried to fire the puck through Ryan Carter. It was blocked to center ice, and Carter was already skating towards it, while Staal had to turn. Clear breakaway goal.

Wild 2, Rangers 0

dumba goal

After Staal took a penalty, the Rangers were again unable to stop a powerplay. Dylan McIlrath screened Hank, so the shot wasn’t seen. But the bigger concern was the apparent lack of communication, lack of anticipation, and slowness to the puck when it moves.

Rangers 1, Wild 2

Ryan Suter gave the puck away to Derek Stepan behind the net. Stepan got it in front to Ryan McDonagh, who had his initial shot hit Mats Zuccarello. McDonagh got the loose puck and tucked it under a diving Dubnyk for the goal.

Rangers 2, Wild 2

Great pressure from the Miller-Brassard-Fast line led to this goal. With some great puck movement, the puck eventually wound up behind the net for Derick Brassard, who held the puck a bit while J.T. Miller circled low. Brass lifted a nice saucer pass to Miller, who was untouched getting open, and Miller one-timed it over Dubnyk.

Rangers 3, Wild 2

Jesper Fast forced the turnover in the corner right to Miller. Miller made a great little pass to Brassard. And the Rangers had the lead.

Rangers 4, Wild 2

Chris Kreider empty netter.

Shots

shots

This was just utter domination once they were down two goals. Minnesota looked like they packed up and went home. There’s some score effects at the end, but that’s normal.

Scoring Chances

scf

See above. Same thing, just with quality as well.

Individual Corsi

icorsi copy

Boy did Ryan McDonagh have a game. Every Ranger had a game. Except for Marc Staal. He had a rough one, and even then he was still barely in the negatives.

Shot Locations

locations copy

So few attempts for Minnesota. No wonder why they can’t score.

Shift Chart

shift

Not much variation from the liens for Alain Vigneault here. Interesting to see the fourth line, considering its makeup, still get some ice time with under five minutes remaining and a lead to defend. Odd to see Keith Yandle and Dylan McIlrath get what amounts to a double shift around the 50 minute mark as well.

This was the statement win the Rangers needed against the Devils the other night. That said, it was a strong win, and another strong performance at even strength without Rick Nash. If the special teams figure it out, the Rangers should theoretically catch fire.

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23 Comments

  1. After the initial minutes they did play a strong game. But the penalty killing needs to get a lot better. Another caveat: the Wild have been struggling. They need to play the way they did the 2nd and 3rd periods for 60 minutes and do it against the top teams. But, altogether it was great to see them get it together and dominate for a change!

  2. Win one, lose one. Can we put a little streak together, say 10 points out of a possible 14? We may get Klein back sooner than expected. Hope he rests Boyle and Girardi a little bit.

    Nice comeback tho.

  3. Dave, to your point in the closing paragraph that, “If the special teams figure it out, the Rangers should theoretically catch fire.”…….

    There was a stat shown during the broadcast noting the Rangers have the 2nd best even strength goal differential in the league at a +25 (with 104 total even strength goals). Did I read that correctly?

    So basically if we can address the power play (lol, unlikely) and penalty kill (more likely) units, then things may not be all so ominous in Rangerland?

    1. Fixing the PP has been the goal since Boyle was brought in, then again when Yandle was brought in. It may be the players, but I am leaning towards the effectiveness of the coaching and plan.

      As far as the PK, I feel speed and extra-effort go a long way in making the PK better. We should be able to round up some of that from the existing 20.

      1. The PP ineffectiveness is most definitely a coaching problem, both in selecting personnel & planning strategy. Speed on the PK is essential which is why Hags was so good. That’s why I always advocate bringing up & using Bourque. He has great wheels & is excellent on PK. But they bring in Paille. Go figure. Kreider is another guy who should be groomed to kill penalties. It would improve his confidence & overall game.

      2. I don’t know how important this is, but the PP unit has six players. The least important presumably is the goaltender, but he is not irrelevant. For the last decade, Lundqvist has been a total anchor. He just doesn’t help at all. I remember (and this was not a unique play) where the Rangers cleared the zone and made a line change. Meanwhile, Marc Andre Fleury rifled the puck up ice so fast that the Rangers were not ready and there was an odd man rush. Hank stopped that particular shot, but I can’t help but think that teams change defenders more comfortably against the Rangers.

        This isn’t to say the Rangers need a different goaltender. You don’t want a tender who will get you an extra four goals a year while letting in seven extra. But I am just observing that the Rangers need an above average power play just to get average PP stats.

      3. Agree with you, but I think we need to zoom out even further on the scenario. Historically, the Rangers have not really been a PP team. On the other hand they have been a very strong PK team year over year. This has extended beyond players tenures, coaching regimes, etc.

        I will try to do some digging into the numbers to attempt to understand this, but since 2005- aside from the magical Jagr years, the Rangers PP has been league average at best. The PK, as I remember it, has typically been top 3rd.

        My theory there boils down to team identity and draft history…aka management. We haven’t been a lottery team and we haven’t had top end players like Kane/Keith, Ovie/Green, Crosby/Letang to form lethal tandems to work together over multiple years. Instead we are left drafting guys who play a great 3 zone game but are by no means offensive dynamos.

        A very basic theory which any dumb dumb can draw up, but I think the link between draft position/record in conjunction with building a team from the goalie out correlates to never having a stand out pp. Basically, our crappy PP is a microcosm of the team which has been assembled which is largely in part to where our franchise has been in it’s life cycle since 2005- a playoff team every year (save 1) which has never had the opportunity to stack up talent like teams with better powerplay metrics typically have.

        The caveat, is developing a responsible core who perform well every year- well enough so we are a basic lock for the playoffs year in and year out- and by nature are more suited to compliment a strong PK group, which prior to this year we had perfected. The likelihood that gets addressed this season versus the PP, to me, is substantial.

        1. Hatrick,

          Wow! I thought I was the only person that thought of the team like this.

          Unfortunately, many fans don’t see this and would quickly point out that “we don’t have a Ovechkin, Towes, Lucic, Doughty etc.” Basically players that stand out extremely in certain areas of play, and we don’t have that.

          Some would and do say that “were too soft” or “too vanilla”, but I don’t see the team that way, and tend to see us more of a well balanced club that is purposefully made to be a team of the times.

          I know you brought this up for a different reason Hatrick, and that is, that this same philosophy does have an effect on special teams, and I couldn’t agree with you more!

          1. Thanks, Rob. There are certainly exceptions to the rule. Boston, this year comes to mind. Somehow their PP is killing it this year with Bergeron, Eriksson, Spooner and Marchand putting up 9 ,8, 5 and 4 pp goals so far. They don’t have an elite d man by any means, but Krug certainly is to them what Yandle should be to us.

            Special teams are very fickle, that’s for sure. About a 10% conversion rate separates the league from Washington and Boston leading with 25 and 24.5% to Calgary bringing up the rear with 14%. One thing to note is that the Rangers sit at 26th 27th and 28th place in conversion, opportunities and goals. Efficiency is part of the problem but there are 26 teams in this league who have gotten more looks with the man advantage which plays into this problem.

            Overall though, given our 10+ year sample size it’s hard to argue with the loose correlation we’re talking about, which is team lifecycle dictating drafting position which has, to an extent effected identity.

          2. Rob, Hatrick, totally agree.

            Obviously, we want all phases of our game to be cooking come playoff time. But almost without exception, teams that win Cups (or go deep as the Rangers have the last two seasons) generally have two things in common….they excel 5×5 AND they have a top tier PK. Many teams with the best PPs sometimes don’t even make the playoffs.

            Like last year, we’re doing great 5×5. Unlike last year and the year before, our PK has been abysmal. That must change or the Rangers are not going anywhere. They can survive with an erratic PP, but not with a dismal PK.

            As for the coaching being to blame, well, in a sense that true, in that the coach is responsible for everything. But all the Torts lovers seem to forget that the PP was just as bad, if not more so, under the coach Carpiniello simply refers to “the lunatic”. So is the problem more coaching, or is it as you suggested, the fact that we lack dynamic offensive finishers that seem vital to making a PP click?

            To me, it’s much more the latter.

    2. Sounds about right, but a lot of that is padded by their hot start. They’ve played better at 5v5 lately, especially in the last two games, but boy is special teams killing them.

      Theoretically it should be ok if they get it together. But that’s theoretically.

      1. Fair point on the hot start. Them and MTL were tops in the league after the first 15 games or so… boy how things have changed. Silver lining…… things may be bleakish here, but much worse overall in MTL.

  4. You may recall the Rangers/Wild game at MSG on December 22 2013. Rangers were 17-18-2…bad first and went down 1-0…they scored 4 unanswered goals and at that point seemed to pull it together and make a run to the Stanley Cup Finals…Praying last night is a repeat…

  5. Miller is becoming one he’ll of an offensive force for us! If we end up adding a top 6 scoring forward I believe our team is going to become a much feared offensive threat to other teams. 8 goals total in the last 8 games for Miller now and I believe he now has a goal in 3 or 4 in a row. Extremely pleasant surprise with Miller having a breakout season living up to the 1st round draft pick status! Great effort all around from the Rangers last night! LGR!!!!!!!!!!

  6. What you are seeing in JT Miller is the mental toughness, the compete, the edge, the jam, geez, the professionalism, that separates men who are paid to play a game from boys who have nice skills (see: Hayes, K, Kreider, C, Nash, R.). Rangers roster an embarassment for a pro mercenary squad. Too cute, too nice. Modern sport is just bigger money barnstorming from 100 yrs back. Then, it was win and you eat, now it is win and you buy a Bentley. Same concept tho – be nice to your mother, beat your opponent.

    1. Each one of those players were flavor of the month at several points in the past. Right now it’s JT. Don’t expect the kid to keep up this 8 goals in 8 games pace. He’s going to come back to life. I’m sure he will have a drought in the future and there will be some shortsighted post by someone with a very short term memory that will bash the kid.

  7. It was very nice to see them hunker down and pull one out.

    STALL looked pretty bad on the 1st goal – misplaying the puck and then muffing a shot into the skates of Carter. And of course he STALLED out again with the penalty on the 2nd goal.

    Fast made the key play on the game-winner hustling across the top of the crease to keep it in the zone.

    The next three are division games PHL, NJ, PIT, – Then LA, PHL, CHI.

    We are going to know a lot about this team after these next six

  8. Nice comeback but I’m having trouble getting giddy over a win against a team that is now 1-8-1 in its last 10 games. Minny folded like a cheap suit once McD scored.

    On the good side, my boy JT is becoming a star. He’s a much better all around player than Kreider is at this point. Never thought I would say that. Miller is now the trade untouchable, not CK.

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