Game Wrap-ups

Zibanejad injured in Rangers OT Loss

"but why do they always boo?"
“but why do they always boo?”

The Rangers game last night was chock full of choppy ice and sloppy play. The Florida Panthers came to New York after beating Ottawa Saturday night to a rested Rangers squad. There were messy goals, homecomings, and a brutal injury to Mika Zibanejad all in the first overtime game all year. Let’s dive in:

  • Chris Kreider, Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello played out of their minds. They’re all animals this year and thank the hockey gods.
  • I’m saying this despite Hayes taking the most Hayes penalty of all time, basically clotheslining James Reimer accidentally because he couldn’t quite stop in front of the net.

  • The inability to play well could be attributed to the Knicks having the court earlier in the day, which is what we’ll say until we see how they play tomorrow night. The Panthers played last night and had to travel and were still on par with the Rangers, though…
  • Speaking of back to backs, the Rangers travel to play Pittsburgh today, but Henrik Lundqvist was in net last night. Why play him against a mostly injured, non-prior-year-Stanley-Cup-winning team in Florida? Why not save him to be fresh against Pittsburgh?
  • Also, speaking of the proximity of the Rangers’ net, why do the Rangers find it necessary to slide and block shots all the time? Isn’t this something we complained about incessantly with John Tortorella behind the bench? Can we stop with this?
  • Kevin Klein has been the biggest offender (this side of Dan Girardi, who for the love of all things holy needs to not be a first pair thing) of the slide-and-lose-your-man defense, and frankly, he hasn’t been great. If you’ve been listening to the podcast, you know we’ve defended his play, however maybe the Rangers should have sold high at some point…
  • …the only issue is, where are you going to trade an older defenseman and get a younger defenseman in return?
  • Speaking of defensemen, Keith Yandle had his first goal of the year, because of course.
  • Worth noting: the Rangers were the last team to play an overtime game. The players out on the ice were Zibanejad, Zuccarello, and Ryan McDonagh.

It’s important to talk about the physically painful game Zibanejad had, first being pile driven (I’m not big into wrestling but this sounds appropriate) into the ice by Jason Demers, then breaking his fibula on a wayward slide into the boards care of what otherwise was a great defensive play. Missing Zibanejad for 6-8 weeks will hurt, no question. Thankfully, he should be back this season and we hope for him that he is in less pain than he was immediately afterwards on the ice.

There’s no question that this season has been great for the Rangers. A great test will occur tonight in Pittsburgh, finally meeting the team that whooped them out of the playoffs last April.

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  • The inability to play well has everything to do with opponents adjusting to the Rangers’ speed game. There was not much time and space out there last night. The Rangers don’t look as dominant when the opponents don’t let them skate freely, huh?

    I agree with you Becky on playing Raanta last night and the King tonight and Wed. The only reason why AV may have played the King last night was because it was Henrik’s 700th NHL game and the coach may have wanted it to come at MSG. Entirely possible so let’s give the coach the benefit of that doubt. The 70oth game was announced on the MSG board last night, I don’t know if it was shown on TV.

  • Not sure what we will do without a no.1 and no.2 center Hayes will need to move up and maybe Oskar gets reps with Kreider and Zucc.

    No I didn’t forget what’s his name.

    We played listless at points. I thought Vesey had some jump last night.

  • If our play was a result of bad ice then the coaching staff better start figuring out a way to play in the playoffs! In April, May and June there will be very few places that won’t have bad ice.

  • Too many giveaways last night due to some sloppy passing contribute to the Ranger loss. During the Columbus game, Miller was bench for giving the puck away, so what does the coach have to do now bench the whole team? Florida is a good team; they have a lot of weapons and are well coached.

    Losing Zibanejad, hurts. As I have advocated in the past, I believe Miller is suited to play the pivot position and would thrive there. We will see if the coach is willing to make adjustments. He also has a sniper in Pirri and a play maker Lindberg at his disposal, who he can move up to shore up his offense. Yet he continues to use Fast who doesn’t have an NHL shot or hands and put him a scoring role.

    Gorton has endowed AV with a lot of talent, should he not implement it, it will be at his own demise.

  • DJ Z-bad being out is a big blow. What’s wrong with that line? Kreider, Buch, and now Z just cannot stay healthy. Can’t wait to see that line back together.

  • I do not understand Av’s usage of the goaltenders. 700th game or not the logical choice was Raanta.

    And if that is the reason he played, IMHO it makes the decision less defendable. This type of stuff should not dictate who plays when. From what I can see Hank does enough dictating on his own, he doesn’t need any help.

    And even though the sample size is small – Raanta has outplayed Hank this year, again.

    Has anyone looked at the calendar? This is the spot where things started to go downhill for the Rangers last year after their 16-4-4 start. Teams are beginning to make the adjustments. Torts didn’t give them anything Friday….

  • keep an eye on Lundquist. Either his vision is slipping or his reaction time is slowing. He seems to be giving up one fairly easy goal per game. I think Raanta has played better so far.

  • Great article Becky, I agree with everything you wrote.
    But saying Zuccarello had a good game is redundant, the guy is amazing all over the ice, each and every night.

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