Game Wrap-ups

Rangers end west coast road trip with a loss in San Jose

AP Photo/Tony Avelar
AP Photo/Tony Avelar

The Rangers dropped the third game of their west coast road trip against the San Jose Sharks on Saturday afternoon in a maddeningly frustrating fashion. Hank once again stood on his head despite receiving no support from his defense and despite being pulled in the third period. The fourth line had a solid game but the Rangers were generally out shot and gave up numerous odd-man rushes before the eventual third period collapse.

In the end not the kind of game you’d like to see from the Rangers heading into the post-season, but hopefully they can tighten it up over the next few games and start the playoffs right. Also, no gifs for this one, sorry y’all.

Rangers 0 Sharks 1

The play starts up top with Brent Burns at the point, who then works the puck down to the right circle for Paul Martin. McDonagh ties him up along the boards and the puck is kicked out behind the net for Joonas Donskoi, who makes an exceptional pass to the slot for Joel Ward who finishes. This one was tough because they were on the penalty kill, but Donskoi had the opportunity he did because Klein opted to try and get involved along the boards with McDonagh and Martin, leaving Donskoi open, and Fast was slow to get to Ward as he moved in to the slot to receive Donskoi’s pass.

Rangers 1 Sharks 1

Former San Jose Shark Dan Boyle gets the Rangers on the board with a pretty goal off a two on one. Marc Staal collects a rebound off a shot in the defensive zone and passes it to Brassard, who’s breaking through the neutral zone with Boyle coming down opposite him. Brass puts it across the slot for Boyle, who puts a nice move on the goalie and finishes to tie it up.

Rangers 1 Sharks 2

Joe Thornton proves that he’s still got it, putting the Sharks up by one goal. Tomas Hertl makes a power move to the net, easily skating by Dan Girardi and Marc Staal, but is stoned by Lundqvist. The Rangers weren’t so lucky on the rebound however, with Jumbo Joe swooping in to give the Sharks the lead for the second time this game.

Rangers 1 Sharks 3

Joel Ward gets his second of the game and gives the Sharks an insurance goal in the third period. Hayes makes a turnover coming through the neutral zone that is scooped up by Patrick Marleau coming down the left boards with Tierney and Ward coming though center ice and the far wing, respectively. As JT Miller checks Marleau along the boards he sends the pass across to Ward, with Marc Staal covering the odd-man rush of Tierney and Ward. Ward snaps the shot just around the right circle and although Lundqvist is squared to it, the puck trickles through his legs and into the net.

Rangers 1 Sharks 4

 The Rangers win an offensive zone faceoff and send the puck back to Kevin Klein at the point, but he whiffs on it as Joe Pavelski skates towards him, easily picking up the puck as it trickles through the neutral zone. Breaking down the opposite side is Tomas Hertl, and the pair pass the puck across the slot twice before Pavelski takes the shot in close on Lundqvist. Hank actually gets a piece of this one, but it bounces in off of him into the net.

Shots and Scoring Chances

chart (26)chart (27)

What we can see here is that while the Rangers were generally out-possessed through the first two, they kept things relatively close in terms of scoring chances in those first two periods. The bad news is that in the third they were heavily out-possessed and flatlined almost completely in terms of scoring chances. Overall not a good look for a team that’s looking to contend.

Shot Locations

Screen Shot 2016-03-19 at 7.35.59 PM

Similarly disheartening is the shot locations for this game, with the Rangers getting very few shots in the home plate area relative to the plethora of shots down low that the Sharks got.

Individual Shots

Screen Shot 2016-03-19 at 7.37.43 PM

Oddly enough the only Rangers who were positive in terms of shot differential were the ones on the fourth line. Everyone else was in negative possession territory, contrasting with the Sharks, who were almost entirely on the positive side of things in terms of possession.

What’s so frustrating about this game is the fact that Hank stood on his head and received such little support from his teammates. This alone would be bad enough, but it’s even worse as we approach the home stretch and get ready for the playoffs, because it demonstrates that the team can’t even get by anymore on the strategy of solely depending on Hank. The defense was particularly bad tonight, giving up tons of odd-man rushes and struggling to move the puck almost all game.

This is a talented group of forwards that could surely have given Lundqvist some support, but they need to be given support themselves, and it starts at the blue line. It’s been readily apparent all season that this d-group is an issue for the team, and it’s especially frustrating because small, simple tweaks could be made in house to tighten things up defensively, which is  just not happening. With still some time to go before the post-season, hopefully this team can wake up and make those small adjustments to get this team in shape if they truly wish to contend.

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  • Yesterdays game was a clunker, and we move on from there.

    Having said that, please look at the standings, we may not make the play offs if we continue playing like this. The Fishsticks have 2 games in hand, and if they win both, well they pass us. The Pens are hot, one game in hand, we are tied with them. This team has got to get their collective acts together and start playing as a unit, or they may be on the greens come late April, if not early April.

    I can’t put my finger on this, but this years team is lacking something, what exactly, I don’t know? No one seems to be willing to give their best effort, and seem to be going through the motions. Is age catching up to us big time. They looked tired out there. They looked slow out there. They looked like the didn’t give a crap out there. And some of these same players will be looking for a major raise next season, what a farce!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    AV stated it best yesterday, the top three lines stunk up the place. The only line who played with any heart was Dom’s line, that’s just not good enough. Now who is responsible, I don’t know, maybe it’s that AVDS again??????????

    I find it ironic that with what 10 games, or so to go before the season ends, AV is still playing around trying to find a set of lines that will mesh together, oh my goodness, what team in the entire NHL is in this same boat?????????

      • I would say it was more of a foul ball than a hit home. But I confess that I do suffer from AVDS–AV Doubter Syndrome, but I love French Canadians!

        • I wasn’t saying I understood what lay behind AVDS, whether it was his coolness, being a French Canadian, or whatever…but it is there.

          I don’t really know what else can be argued that is rational. How his Vancouver teams won more when he took over, how they won less when he left (and Tortorella took over), how the Rangers won more when he took over. If I was part of a team of GM’s and assistant GM’s and staff, I could look at injury rates based on coaches and systems. My guess is you would find that AV’s teams lose fewer man hours to injuries than other teams, in particular Torts’s Rangers, who were instructed to dive in front of slapshots. And on and on.

          My critique, to be clear, boils down to this: to paraphrase the great Socrates, I am doubtful, when I look at what I think I know, that I actually do know; but when I hear others claiming to know when in fact they seem clearly not to know, I feel at least I am ahead of them. Which brings me back to the barbershop metaphor. You are a great observer of logic and persuasion, Paul; can you not see this?

          Secondly, doubting is a low risk, high reward proposition, when your team is pursuing a championship in a tournament format. You spoke of a double bind yesterday. Do you not see how you have staked out for yourself a position that is securely protected? If the Rangers somehow win a cup, well we all want that, hooray! If they lose, you saw it coming and you know just whom to blame.

          Regards, Myth

          • As I’ve stated before I would be delighted for Alain Vigneault & Henrik Lundqvist if the Rangers won the Cup. I have my doubts and there is nothing wrong with that. My position is not securely protected at all, because if the Rangers win the Cup this year I will be eating major crow and that’s fine with me. I am certainly not the only one who challenges AV’s coaching wisdom and as fans there is nothing wrong with that. You know it strikes me how you amazingly sound like Eddie, in fact, I am beginning to believe you are his twin brother Teddie.

          • Well, winning the cup for any team in any year is a, what, 10% proposition, even if you have Teows, Kane, and Keith. If you have our team, with its collection of has-beens and not-yet-there’s, is it even 5%? So you have a 95% chance not to eat crow. Congratulations!

          • Has beens? That’s where you & I disagree profoundly. I think this Rangers team is very good, even better than last year’s squad. But there are way too many guys playing below their potential in my view. It’s not just Girardi & Staal, but young guys too. How can so many guys regress so much in one year, Teddie? Dave says it’s a failure of process. So tell me who designs & implements the structure & process?

          • Haha about Eddie. I do agree with him a lot. If you check our writing styles, very different. He is more cordial, inclined to irony and full explanations. I lean toward bullet points and don’t have the patience he has trying to convince you rubes! ?

          • Another unassailable position, Paul: we are actually a great team that any competent coach would have contending for the top prize. You love to stake out positions that have almost no chance to be disproved. There really is no point even talking with you, Mr. Barbershop Man.

          • Ya some people like to have multiple personalities, like the good guy & the bad guy.
            I also agree with myself a lot 🙂

    • Coach Walt: 56 shots on goal (given up)? It’s come to the point where this club is hard to watch.

      Though my heart’s with (some of) ’em, my head’s telling me otherwise; as in collapse, or a quick bow out of the playoffs might be necessary to clean house. Coaching staff outward.

      No purpose. No responsibility. No fire. Too many shifts taken off, forwards gliding back. Especially glaring: Chris Kreider on one of The Kings’ goals where he exhibits great politeness in getting out of the way of a King behind our net to avoid contact. Ugh.

      To wit, why does only Kevin Hayes draw a benching?

      • I tend to agree with what you say, and as a life long Ranger fan, I’d hate to see the rebuild take place anytime soon, but it will happen.

        Let’s see Hayes, lazy, Kreider, disinterested, Staal (M), and Girardi both have lost not one, but many steps. Boyle is ready for the old folks home, Yandle probably won’t get re-signed. Nash is no longer a sniper, and wilts in the play offs, and Hank is getting tired of the lack of support.

        That shows me this team will get a major overhaul this off season. The defense needs at least three quality players, the offense needs a sniper, not a pseudo sniper that disappears for games at a time, and vacations in the play offs. Yes Nash plays a good defensive game, but at $7.8 mil per year, I want the goals, let the Lindberg’s of the team play defense.

        Bottom line, this line up as constructed isn’t going anywhere but home after the first round, assuming that they get in at all. As for AV, if, and when the man learns to make adjustments mid game, or in preparation’s for a team, then I’ll support him. Until he proves he can adjust, well sorry folks, I’m down on him, even if he is cool, has a nice smile, and is French !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • I thought the top lines were just gelling when Nash returned. I thought maybe we should put him in for TG and really balance the four lines. Personally I see this as lack of chemistry more than lack of effort. If your breakout fizzles due to a missed pass and you fail to get the puck deep, your line changes are awkward and you end up in your own zone all the time. Against a good team, you can live with a lack of offensive chances only if you make the opposition go 200 feet to get a chance on your own net.

    • If you can figure this out, why can’t the coaching staff collectively figure it out as well?????????? Just asking !!!!!!!!!!!

      As for the lack of chemistry, your agreeing with my last remark, at this stage of the season, we are still looking for lines that click, now that leaves a load to be desired doesn’t it ???

      • Absolutely. The team is in transition. My instincts say that we should balance the team. My two cents would be this lineup:

        Miller – Brassard – Zuc
        Kreider – Step – Hayes
        Lindberg – Staal – Stalberg
        Nash – Moore – Fast

        The so-called 4th line could shut down any 1st line and would still have scoring potential. The other lines have shown some chemistry at times.

        What does it say about the team? Who knows? I can have opinions without thinking mine must be better than the coach’s. Whatever deficiencies this team has I put primarily at the door of Sather, not AV. There is ample evidence to support this conclusions looking through the history of this team.

        • Now I must be nuts to expect a player making $7.8 million, million mind you, playing on the fourth line just doesn’t make it???????????

          As for Sather getting the blame, here we will agree 100000000000 %, he has been the worst thing to happen to this organization since his arrival. He claimed that with the Ranger’s money, he could win Cups, well the blow hart has won squat. Since the lock out, and his new scouting team, we have improved, but I’m not sure he should get the credit for it, the Gorton’s of the scouting team deserve all the credit in the world.

          Sorry, Glen signs two defensemen that skate with cement in their skates long term, and let’s guys like Hags walk, or trades them. Talking about Hags, have you seen what the Pens look like now that he plays for them. Another example of great judge of talent, NOT!!!!!!!!!!! Until he retires all together, and isn’t in the background, we will never win it all…..

          • Just for the record Walt, I lamented the signing of Sather on another site I was on & a friend there confessed that he wanted me to be wrong about Slats. Slats redemption came when he hired Gordie Clark who saved his butt.

          • His butt isn’t saved until he is long gone history, he has been terrible for this team!!!!!!!!

            And for the record, I like your style, and tend to agree the vast majority of the time………

  • Small, simple tweaks? Do you mean like skating at full speed to try to break up an odd man break instead of giving up and gliding back like Zuccarello and Hayes did yesterday on two of the SJ goals? Or making some effort to get off the ice at the end of your shift instead of lollygagging like Stepan did resulting in a too-many-men penalty (which, I admit was a somewhat questionable call)?

  • I was bashed ten days ago for the blasphemy of saying that no team is in the playoffs until they are actually in it. It was not meant to say that Rangers won’t make it – just that the season was not over yet and the rest of the games have to be played. Every year some team comes out of nowhere to get in or sometimes to play so poorly as to play themselves out of the post-season.

    This is a Ranger team full of enigmas – A World Class goaltender but no defense in front him. Amazing depth at forward but no true star or #1 Center or #1 line for that matter. The highest paid D-men have had horrible seasons. The highest paid forward has a history of great regular seasons and MIA playoffs. While giving some benefit of the doubt to his overall game and the fact he has been injured, his regular season this year has been pretty woeful.

    I will say this – they have had a tough schedule – 9 out of 10 vs playoff seeded teams, 3 West Coast games in 4 1/2 days and a really tough back to back on they Daylight Savings weekend.

    But…Hank has been absolutely amazing since he came back from his neck injury but has zero wins to show for it. Yesterday he was insanely good yet he is getting hung out to dry at every turn.

    Girardi got used and abused yesterday after a horrible game against the Kings in which he looked like he was out of gas every time he was on the ice. Boyle has been totally behind every rush for over a month. And yesterday STALL, in the epitome of the NYR defensive play, chose to chuck it over the glass even though he looked at his wide open teammate just 4 ft away before deciding that doing so was a better option that to pass.

    Over the last few years I’ve had the feeling that the Rangers believe they can turn it on and off at will and for the most part they have been able to turn it on when needed. They have been resilient in facing challenges this year and are now facing their biggest.

    Sometimes it is a good thing to have to go through a little gut-wrenching before the playoffs instead of just coasting in.

    Let’s hope that is the case. Lets Go Rangers….

  • The forwards did not play well yesterday after the first period, including stalwarts like Zucc. I know everyone has been harping on the D men, but the forwards have been lax defensively most of the time this season, exposing the weaknesses of the blue liners and ultimately leaving Hank to fend for himself. I know they are capable of playing better than they have, but will they do it? They did it to the Ducks, and they did pretty well the first couple of periods against the Kings, but they didn’t really show up yesterday.

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