Game Thread

Game 71: Stupid late games

rangers kings 2015
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

After last night’s win in Anaheim —which I predicted on the podcast— the Rangers are now in LA for the second of their tough three game stretch out west. The Kings are with the cream of the West, and one of the few teams that just beat you down physically. They are the exception to the rule, but that’s only because their big guys can also skate, score, play defense, and contribute in multiple aspects of the game. This is a solid team poised for another deep run.

As for the Rangers, they won in Anaheim, but even the Ducks announced called out the Rangers defense for being inept at moving the puck. That’s not a good thing, and cements the thought process that the forwards and goaltending will need to carry the Rangers. It is what it is at this point. But Kevin Klein is (at least somewhat) taking more minutes from Dan Girardi, so that’s a positive. Let’s see how they do against their second Cup contender in a row.

Admin note: No gifs for this game, and no goal breakdown either. These late games are absolute killers. A 7pm game recap usually gets done by 11pm. When you add three and a half hours to it, that’s 2:30am. Sorry folks, none of us are able to stay up that late.

Admin note 2: I wrote this post at 10am, before the lines were released. If they are different, my apologies.

Kings Systems

Daryl Sutter has the Kings playing a system similar to that of John Tortorella’s Rangers. They generally run an aggressive overload 2-1-2 forecheck (forecheckers attack the same side of the ice) and they play a 2-1-2 zone defense off the wall (two guys take the hit zone, one takes the support zone, two have the slot). Once the puck moves up high, depending on the matchup, they’ll attack the blue line or collapse their forwards.  They play a hybrid penalty kill, and a 1-3-1/modified umbrella on the powerplay.

Kings Lines

Milan Lucic-Anze Kopitar-Kris Versteeg
Dwight King-Jeff Carter-Tyler Toffoli
Marian Gaborik-Vincent Levacalier-Dustin Brown
Kyle Clifford-Nick Shore-Trevor Lewis

Rob Scuderi-Drew Doughty
Jake Muzzin-Alec Martinez
Brayden McNabb-Luke Schenn

PP1: Carter-Kopitar-Toffoli-Doughty-Muzzin
PP2: Gaborik-Lecavalier-Lucic-McNabb-Martinez

PK: Toffoli, Carter, Lewis, King, Kopitar, Brown, McNabb, Muzzin, Doughty, Martinez, Schenn

Jonathan Quick gets the start.

Rangers Lines

Chris KreiderDerek StepanJesper Fast
Rick NashDerick BrassardMats Zuccarello
Kevin HayesEric StaalJ.T. Miller
Tanner GlassDominic MooreViktor Stalberg

Ryan McDonaghDan Girardi
Keith YandleKevin Klein
Marc StaalDan Boyle

PP1: Yandle-Klein-Miller-Hayes-Fast
PP2: Zucc-Boyle-Kreider-Stepan-Brassard

PK: Stepan, Moore, Nash, Fast, Glass, McDonagh, Staal, Klein, Girardi

Henrik Lundqvist gets the start.

Scratches/Injuries: Oscar Lindberg (healthy), Dylan McIlrath (knee)

Crazy Prediction: The Rangers dismantle the Ducks.

Be sure to check out our ticket link if you’re looking for tickets to the game. Game time is 10:30pm on MSG. All gifs will be on

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  • Like last night, go out there and play like you want to win, and you will. This is the test for us on this trip, let’s pass it with flying colors!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • I’ve got the NHL package, so I watch entirely too much hockey. The Kings are going to be very very hard to bet against in this years playoffs. Let’s just hope they have an off night tonight.

  • Is Klein back on the 2nd pair after a brilliant game last night? I thought Girardi was much better with Yandle and lesser mins/QoC last night as well. It’s evident after 70 games this season the Girardi’s legs are going on him and even just a 1/2 step had a huge impact on his game. He was never very fast to begin with. Subtract a fraction of a step and it shows in leaps and bounds in his quality of play. The mistakes and failure likely messed with his head and compounded his situation further.
    He cannot be counted on in the playoffs either. The Kings proved that by going after him hard and so did TB last season. Keep him on the 2nd pair and Klein with McDonagh.

  • In all fairness, the Ducks announcer stated what I had said in an earlier post, that Ranger forwards were stationary at the mid boards, so it’s not all on the defence. The Rangers forwards need to be moving on the breakout so the D has somebody to pass too. That is the real problem. I predict that Hank is sensational tonight.

    • I hope you’re right about Hank Paul because I’m sure Quick isn’t going to give us much tonight.
      As far as the forwards go I agree to an extent. The Ranger D weren’t making tape to tape first passes out of the zone and a lot of them were picked off and the puck went the other way. They regrouped out of the 1st intermission but at first it was pretty bad. Particularly Boyle, Staal, and Girardi. For some reason they (Defenseman) got away from the short/quick passes they normally make and instead tried long outlet passes.

  • So-so first period, you can see already the style Rangers will employ in the playoffs with a heavy emphasis on defending and limited offence. Anouncers just said that Sutter plays an “old school” system, heavy forecheck, big guys in front of net & physicality on the boards. I much prefer their 2-1-2 forecheck which allows their forwards to pressure the D & create turnovers. Ranger breakouts still problematic with D taking that extra few seconds to get pucks to forwards who need to be skating instead of stationary on the boards.

  • You see! This is why I’ve been saying Sam always calls Boyle Stepan, should he be in the O Zone, and sure enough he did just that on Boyles goal.:-) It happens more often then people realize.

  • I was following Danny G last and he is a turnover wait to happen. He just can’t keep up and be also isn’t winning any battles along the boards. Everyone is coming down his side.

      • Pauly, with the exception of Mcllrath ( how is he by the way??, do you think we will see him again this year?? ) the rest of the D corp are stick checkers, they need to take the body more, would love to see one of them throw an open ice check with bad intentions. The majority of the (except for Mcllrath and Klein ) are soft players.

    • Harlem, The Kings have Girardi’s #, see the 2014 Cup finals. They always throw everything to his side, he was slowing down then, 2 years later he is much worse. We have to live with him and his CONTRACT! Sheltered minutes a must for Girardi in the playoffs.

  • Wow, Rangers have made the most of limited opportunities for sure. Kings just a bigger stronger team but Hank is the difference like he usually is. Give him the Steven McDonald Extra Effort Trophy. He deserves it. Brassard & Zucc are real liabilities in the D-zone against a team like this. They are just overpowered by Kings forwards along the boards. I like Miller & Kreider’s games tonight, big strong kids who match up well against the Kings. Hank is going to have to be out of this world in the third as fatigue sets in on the Rangers.

  • JT Miller playing an awesome game tonight. Best Ranger on the ice. No jury out on him, he’s a keeper for sure.

  • NHL refs are so goddamn stupid. How can a goal count with a player standing in the blue paint? I mean why even have a crease. Shades of the 2014 King goal which never should have counted.

  • What a bonehead, stupid play by Yandle to cause a faceoff in his own end. The fact that he wouldn’t even think to set up a rush and maintain possession on a 3 on 3, goes a long way to tell you about his hockey smarts. In fact, all night long, all 6 on the backline struggled to even muster enough strength to clear their own zone. They need a subscription to the Joe Atlas body building program! Yeah, they got the point, but unlike last night—-their shortcomings as a team were evident against a REAL contender in this game. Even Hank, to me, looked like he was struggling to pick up the puck all night long. Again, they got the point—but they should have stolen both.

    • I wonder if Anaheim fans were this negative after the game on Wednesday.

      They played back to back games in Anaheim and LA and walked away with 3 points. Let’s rip this team and every single play apart!!!!

    • Joe719, the guys name was Charles Atlas : ) and even he would have a hard time putting muscle on the majority of this Ranger roster. ( especially the D corp, other than Mcllrath) . They all seem to lack a mean streak, but that is a reflection of their coach.

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