Game Wrap-ups

Rangers lose Lundqvist, Game One on Patric Hornqvist hat trick

AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar
AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

The Rangers got off to a great start in Pittsburgh last night, throwing everything they could at backup goalie Jeff Zatkoff. Not only were they unable to solve the third stringer, they gave up late goals in both the first and second periods. They scored a powerplay goal in the third, but immediately coughed up a shorty a minute late to nullify it. They then allowed another in the third (the third with Staal/Girardi on the ice).

Even worse than the lost game is the loss of Henrik Lundqvist. Hank took a stick to the eye from Marc Staal, an exceedingly rare case where his stick went through the cat-eye and actually got his eye. Lundqvist was writing on the ice in pain, reminiscent of when Staal was on the ice after taking the puck to the eye a few years ago. This was just as scary.

Lundqvist finished the period –giving up the first goal– but did not return. Antti Raanta played well in relief, but the fears about the Rangers defense came to fruition, as pairing Staal with Dan Girardi led to a pair of goals against and what turned out to be an insurmountable deficit.

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:

Penguins 1, Rangers 0

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After one of the scariest moments we’ve seen as Rangers fans, the Penguins struck first. Patric Hornqvist simply trailed this innocent play unnoticed. The puck took a bit of an unlucky bounce through Staal right to Hornqvist. You can see Hank was standing up as the shot was released, so it went under him. Some bad luck, sure, but someone has to pick up Hornqvist.

Also worth noting that Conor Sheary, who banked the puck off Hank, beat Girardi cleanly to that puck. Girardi played the situation fine (in my opinion), but cutting off the path to the net, but this is where mobile defensemen are huge. Girardi thought it was going to be icing, which is arguably worse than getting beat because he stopped skating.

Side note: Antti Raanta started the second period, so clearly Hank was hurt. Obviously he said he wanted to finish the period. But you wonder if Raanta should have gone in at that moment.

Penguins 2, Rangers 0

2016-04-13 21_52_13

Girardi tried to force a shot through with Sidney Crosby on him. It was blocked as Crosby read it and flew the zone behind Girardi and Staal. Easy breakaway goal.

Rangers 1, Penguins 2

After the Rangers were able to draw two penalties –and six minutes of powerplay time– they were able to capitalize in a big way. Rick Nash was able to get the puck through the crease to Derek Stepan, who had an empty net.

Penguins 3, Rangers 1

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Just after cutting the lead in half, the Rangers gave up a bad shorthanded goal. After Pittsburgh was able to control the puck to exit the zone, none of the forwards backchecked as a 2-on-1 developed. Keith Yandle was unable to stop the pass across from Nick Bonino to Tom Kuhnhackel, and it was an easy goal.

Penguins 4, Rangers 1

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The initial shot from Crosby hit Phil Kessel in front, and bounced behind Raanta, where Hornqvist was able to bury it. Third goal with Staal/Girardi on the ice, yet no changes.

Rangers 2, Penguins 4

Dan Boyle drew three Penguins to him and was able to get a weak shot off on Zatkoff. No one picked up Stepan, and Zatkoff left a really bad rebound. Stepan roofed it.

Penguins 5, Rangers 2

Hornqvist empty netter for the hat trick.

Shot Attempts


The Rangers came out firing in this game, really controlling the play. But this is the problem I have with only looking at the numbers (which again, I’ve said this a million times, need to look at more). The Rangers did a lot of things well, and it shows up in this chart. But the defensive zone breakdowns –which do show up here, there’s always a Penguins uptick before a goal– are killing them.

Scoring Chances


Same thing as above, just with quality chances.

Individual Corsi

icorsi copy 2

Same thing, just showing where the players are on the possession spectrum.

Shot Locations

locations copy

Way too many shots right up main street. Three goals from right there.

Shift Chart


Staal and Girardi got the Crosby line and failed three times. Just bad coaching. Tanner Glass got shifts with the Rangers down two and ten minutes to go. Just, not good. Alain Vigneault got out coached, or at least is relying too much on “his guys.”

It’s just one game, but this was not a good showing by the Rangers. But with Hank, they stand a chance. Let’s hope he’s ok.

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  • What’s the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over thinking something will change! A.V. fits the definition.

    • Maybe, but why was Yandle all alone with nary a forward in sight? They have some talented forwards and some weaknesses among the Dmen but I believe that the lack of defensive responsibility on the part of the forwards has been a major factor in their overall defensive problems this season when compared to the recent past.

      • Nash looked like the closest forward back on that play… but stopped at the Rangers bench for a change, which gave the Pitt guys way too much time to execute. Was a very odd decision on his part.

      • Odd choice of words, nary a forward in sight. I think JT Miller was in sight and in fact he was who Yandle was looking at instead of bothering with the two Penguins at hand.

        Keith Yandle is the most talented member of the defense corps, but that play reminds me why I won’t mind seeing him gone.

        • I apologize for being unclear. It is not that I think Keith didn’t play it badly. He did. He was probably trying to pick off the pass and turn it into a breakout the other way as is his modis operandi. Another Dman might have instead lunged more at it and made sure to break up the pass. I just believe we see the Dmen exposed too often without enough help from the forwards this season.

          Oh well, may the rest do them good and may they come back and ice the flightless birds from Steel Town.

          • I wasn’t being critical of you. I just thought your expression was funny given what actually had happened – namely that Yandle was focused on making sure Miller (who wasn’t going to get there) knew which guy to take instead of focusing on the task at hand – making sure Raanta only had to worry about the guy with the puck.

  • I will withhold comment until after the play offs, I don’t want to be called emotional, and irrational by Eddy !!!!!!!!!!!!

      • If they measure trends over time, why do we post the corsi charts for each game and assess the teams play based on those charts?..The Rangers by all acounts were a poor possesion team this year, but managed to finish in the Top 10 in the league in points.

        • To understand flow of the game. To understand that sometimes score effects matter. Sometimes, it shows luck was or wasn’t with the Rangers.

  • Regarding the first goal:
    “Girardi played the situation fine (in my opinion), but cutting off the path to the net, but this is where mobile defensemen are huge. Girardi thought it was going to be icing, which is arguably worse than getting beat because he stopped skating.”

    I had to watch the telecast on USA, so I don’t know what you were shown. Giradi stopped skating because he was complaining it should have been icing. Had he played the puck instead of whining to the officials, he wins the race to the puck, the goal doesn’t get scored, and the game is tied at 0 after the first period. There is no question in my mind that this goal is 100% on Girardi. I am NOT among the anti-Girardi crowd, although I recognize he has lost at least a step since the Torts days. He no longer has the luxury of not giving a 100% effort on every play.

    The officiating was poor. There is a reason this crew didn’t work in last year’s playoffs and why they are unlikely to work after round 1 this year. It is unfortunate we drew them for Game 1, but hopefully we won’t have to deal with them again. Send them to the Florida series since nobody cares about the Panthers or Islanders. Let them deal with all the phantom calls / non calls.

    • “Also worth noting that Conor Sheary, who banked the puck off Hank, beat Girardi cleanly to that puck. Girardi played the situation fine (in my opinion), but cutting off the path to the net, but this is where mobile defensemen are huge. Girardi thought it was going to be icing, which is arguably worse than getting beat because he stopped skating.”

      Officiating doesn’t make it a 5-2 game. Bad defense does.

      • Score effects also matter. If Hank leaves the game when he should have, there is simply no way of predicting who wins.

        And while I agree that the officiating didn’t make this game 5-2, it certainly can.

  • Don’t want to hear this Shit that Danny G is hurt. Stop making excuses for the guy. He’s done. What he did on the first goal with seconds left in the period. Unforgivable. Unless his brain is hurt stop making for his terrible play. He has to make should that gets to the net. Seeing him and Staal sliding across the ice each from one side. Trying to stop the pass to Sid. Classic Vaudeville. I rather see DMc get vauleable playoff experience. Which will help his and the teams growth in the future. These veteran Dman are done. This core is done. Play the kids and lets get after the Pens. You play until the whistle blows. You don’t stand on the ice with your hands held in the air like you just don’t care. That was Washington General like. Whining to the referees. He should be bench. Have some balls AV. Sent THE message.Shit wil not be tolarated.

    • HARLEMBLUES, you are SPOT ON. No way can a veteran like Girardi who wears the A on his chest, makes huge $$$$$,be given a pass on giving up on a play because he thought it was icing. THIS IS THE PLAYOFFS, leave it all on the line. My prior post before the series began was my fear that AV would continue to play the old war horse ( now ready for the glue factory) no matter how bad he is and has become, out of loyalty. I know Eddie will scream at this, but could you imagine if that happen under Mike Keenan’s tenor, Girardi would have not seen the ice again for the rest of the game. The LA Kings did the same thing to us during the 2014 finals, work Girardi’s side, he will eventually make a huge mistake ( that was 2 years ago, he is much worse now) . The 1st goal last night was huge, We were outplaying them until then. I agree with you, if Danny G is this bad then go with Mcllrath, if you don’t like Dylan Mcllrath’s style ( AV has issues with him??) Then call up your career AHL boy Diaz who AV seems to have an infatuation with (Why Diaz’s name is still mentioned at this point of the season is beyond me??) I thought Brady Skeji played a good game, hats off to the kid , he more than held his own in a huge 1st playoff game to start his career. THINGS BETTER CHANGE QUICK OR GET THE GOLF CLUBS READY..

      • Girardi’s bigger gaffe was on the 2nd goal. To everyone who screams, “shooooot! shooooot!”- well there’s an example of why you don’t. Unless its gonna get through, just don’t.

        Girardi did, it got blocked and Crosby got through the defensemen and scored. 2 things here. 1- with a minute left in a period, don’t force that shot. 2- if you are the off side defenseman (Staal), and you see Girardi getting pressured, slink back towards the center ice faceoff dot so that if he does cough the puck up, or a shot gets blocked, you are back to cover and there is no breakaway.

        It isn’t a novel concept, this is taught in youth hockey. Girardi made a mistake and Staal wasn’t there to cover.

        On the 1st goal you all are talking about, the issue is much less about Girardi not skating to the puck and much more to do with 3 Rangers not picking Hornqvist up in front. Again on that play, Staal was there but the puck went through his skates and on Hornqvists tape. If he stops the puck, fine, but if it gets through then unfortunately he made the wrong decision by not playing his man closer.

        All in all, that tandem, like Dave pointed out, did not perform. Those two goals were killer. However, some of the frustration towards how Girardi played that is misguided. Often times, you’ll see NHL defensemen coast to the puck behind the goal line and allow the forechecker to get to the puck first. Not always, and I am not endorsing it, but it is not uncommon. The idea is that you, as a defenseman, are right behind him, tight on your check and don’t allow him to go anywhere. When he in advertently throws the puck into the slot from behind the net, if your team has 3 players to the other teams 1, then you didn’t play it wrong. If your 3 teammates don’t pick up the 1 opposing player in the slot, then those 3 boneheads made a bigger mistake than you did.

        So overall, a rough game for Girardi, Staal and the Ranger’s collective D zone coverage. I’ve got no problem with the vocal outcry. I do feel that some of the anger is misguided, though.

        • One also has to be aware of who is on the ice. One of the don’t allows has to be a Sidney Crosby breakaway. Hags had a mini-break and Raanta stopped him, as the goalie most often does.

          • Yup, that’s part of situational awareness. 1 minute left, top line on the ice….. that means get it deep.

  • You have to pair Staal with McIlrath for the rest of the way as Girardi has shown he just isn’t up to snuff. I doubt this will happen, which is why, IMO, AV should and will get canned.

    But in reality the handling of Girardi this entire system is an indictment of the entire organization. He wasn’t good early(recovery from surgery, too many miles on the tires, whatever), kept on getting a regular shift. Breaks his patella, misses a handful of games and then keeps on playing instead of putting him on IR and then possibly LTIR so you have all options available to the club to upgrade the roster and give Girardi the chance to do a proper rehab job and keep him fresh for the playoffs.

    So what do we have now? A guy who clearly can’t play and an understudy who didn’t get enough reps to give his coach confidence.

    In today’s NHL, you are going to have to develop players at the NHL level at times, whether it’s optimal or not. AV has shown that this is the path of greatest resistance and is hurting the organization as a result.

    If some of you think this knee jerk reactionary, so be it.

    • Say Rags lose this series, then stink up the joint next season, lose round one, then yeah, AV’s gone. But with all the success this team has had under his tenure, one mediocre effort will not get him fired. That’s not logical thinking to believe that so.

    • Totally agree with you, but why not pair McIlrath with Yandle. That was an excellent pairing earlier in the season.

    • Love the refreshing optimism, I just wish I could see something in this team’s play to make me feel better.

      • No. Mathematical odds, regarding this limited of outcomes, is always a pretense. In reality, odds is almost always 50/50. The Rangers will either win this series or they’ll lose it. There’s not 100 different possible outcomes in which you can draw 31% versus 69%; there’s only two, win/lose, so 50/50. I like those odds.

  • Team loss. Why is it we make rookie goalies and no-name forwards into superstars? Stepan had some life, but too little too late. Brass and Zucc were non-factors. Can somebody tell Eric Stall he can be a scoring forward?

    Glass was throwing his weight around and showed more effort that the 2nd and 3rd line combined. Maybe that was why he was out there with 10 minutes left.

    We are ripe for the taking by a hungry, fast team. Let’s hope Hank comes back and we stop taking shots (Klein/Yandle) that we know will be blocked.

  • It was a brutal effort….all the Pens key players outplayed our key members. The Goalies were the difference. Theirs made the key save ours did not. That shorty sealed the fate of the blue for game one.

    Can’t blame the refs on this one….most of the penalties were cheesey…but they gave it both ways.

  • Well boys n girls,

    Rip me all you want but I thought we played a pretty solid game!

    Just gotta tighten things up a bit and we should be fine. (That’s if Hanks not hurt)

    I thought we came out strong and controlled the play by outpossesing them and had the puck in the O zone quite a bit.

    Thr reffereeing was atrocious. Just absolutely a disgrace! I think there was only one penalty called from either side where I actually saw it. The rest seemed like phantom calls, behind the play. Gotta love it when Joe and Sam were talking about how Cryby was crying to the refs about a high hit…. Wouldn’t you know it, the very next play right after the commercial, Kreider gets called for a high hit that was perfectly clean…

    Again, we just have to tighten things up a bit and immediately stop allowing odd man rushes and we will be fine.

    Glad to see the metrics matched up pretty much what I witnessed last night.

    We got this!

    • I largely agree with you on controlling the play. The problem, which has been one all season, is the defensive zone play, and the continuing breakdowns. It’s constant, and it’s hard to see it changing now.

    • Didn’t see the game but I’ll take your word for it that Rangers controlled the play. But that is just a hollow victory when you lose on the scoreboard.

    • Name of the game is winning. This is like giving kids participation trophies; we showed up and played well but lost, give them a parade!

  • Focusing on the short-handed goal deflects the necessary focus from the atrocious play of Dan Girardi and Marc Staal (for example look at Carp’s write-up and AV’s post-game comments). If I was a journalist my first and only question to AV would be: Why are the Penguins willingly matching up Crosby to Dan Girardi and Marc Staal? The answer is because they are third-paring guys on most decent teams, and would struggle in the AHL. Skjei and McIlrath literally can skate circles around these two guys, yet AV thinks they can shut opposing teams top players.

    Two years ago if AV demoted Girardi to a lower pairing and put Stralman with McD, that Kings series goes to 7. Last year if AV doesn’t match Girardi against the Triplets, we defeat the Lightning. I get the importance of relying on your guys, but AV’s blown our Cup chances with Hank, and that window is now entirely shut (not winning a Cup with an elite goaltender is the equivalent of a top QB not winning the Super Bowl, it’s like Dan Marino never winning a Super Bowl). AV is stuck to his ways, and he needs to be fired immediately.

    • “It’s just one game.”

      Rags fans are so pessimistic, it’s disheartening.

      If you can’t support them when they struggle, then you don’t deserve to support them when they win.

      • Meh…. you kind of miss his point. Whether you agree or disagree, it’s not just 1 game. He points out how the issue he has a gripe with hasn’t changed in 3 years.

        As far as your closing statement, I’d disagree strongly. His frustration stems from being a Rangers fan. He has a different opinion than out coach on who our best players are. He’s voicing his opinion on how to coax the best performance out of our current roster. Doesn’t make him any less of a fan.

      • I think the issue is the frustration of knowing this team underperforms & seems to keep making the same mistakes over & over & over.

      • The problem with your narrative is that espousing reality equates to not being a REAL fan. Sure it’s much easier to be a pollyanna but ya, you are right that as Yogi says “it ain’t over till it’s over.”

        • They’ve been doing the same things that last three years because the end results over the prior two season have been better than any end results since 1994.

          I’m not questioning whether we’re all Rags fans, clearly we are. But I just find it ridiculous to see people bemoan and call for AV’s job after one game. One game.

          If we won game 1 would you guys still say the things you’ve said? The answer is no.

  • In my 55 years of following this team this has to be the worst in not showing up for games! All year long all we hear is how they have to play better, be ready for the game etc. But once again many of our players we horrible. They are consistently inconsistent! Some of these guys don’t deserve to wear the Ranger sweater. It is inexcusable the way they didn’t show up for a PLAYOFF GAME.

  • It’s not one game, it’s a microcosm of the problems this team has had all season. Good effort thrown away due to the inability of the coach to recognize that his #1 son’s git up and go has gone up and went.

  • One thing this game showed was the problem of a player being bigger than the team. We couldn’t tell immediately how badly Hank was hurt, but we could tell that he was badly shaken — and we’ve seen him tend goal while shaken, not a pretty picture.

    He wanted to stay in with 48.2 seconds to go and AV wasn’t big enough to sit him down. The only question remaining for the first period was whether or not the Penguins would get a shot off – surely we all knew what would happen if they did.

    Hopefully, the recovery will be swift, but AV needs to start Hank when he’s ready, not when he says he’s ready.

    • I read that Hank did not want to risk injury to Antti by putting him in completely cold. We should have been able to deal for 40 seconds. Not Hank’s fault on that goal – he stopped the initial shot from behind the net, but there was no D in place.

      • No, that is not true – and I don’t even care if he said otherwise. Hank wanted to stay in the game because he felt that is his role. And he played the shots like crap, so let’s not blame the team — except of course that Girardi et al should have been protecting like there was an empty net, because that was the true situation.

        My first reaction to Hank staying in was, well hope he only gives up one goal in 48.2 seconds. After a little bit, I started getting hopeful there would not be any shots.

        Personally, I would have respected AV more if he finished the period with six skaters.

        A goalie who has lost his composure is a bad goalie. Perhaps Hank’s greatest strength is that he can give up a bad goal three games in a row and enter game 4 fully composed. But, as we’ve seen before, a shot to the head like this shakes even him up.

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