Game Wrap-ups

Sloppy Rangers can’t keep up with Sabres

jimmy vesey
AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes

The Rangers were not at their finest last night, struggling to keep up with a Buffalo Sabres team that had the entire team –including Henrik Lundqvist– chasing the puck. Lundqvist had the eye-opener first goal, which seemed to affect his confidence as he was consistently out of position for the rest of the game. It wasn’t just Hank, as the Rangers were running around their own zone most of this game.

Just when you thought the Rangers might win this game, the Sabres’ continued dominance eventually broke through in the third. Down one, and with Hank having a strong period to that point, Jack Eichel put up a pair of goals (both of questionable strength) to give the Sabres the lead. In all fairness, Hank –who had a weak game– had been preserving the lead almost singlehandedly until that point.

This was not a good game by the Rangers. Every single player on the ice was sloppy. They couldn’t sustain offensive pressure. They couldn’t play defense at all. The goaltending was off. Just a giant egg from every single player.

On to the goals:

Sabres 1, Rangers 0


That was an odd bounce. Clearly Dan Girardi’s fault.

Rangers 1, Sabres 1


Chris Kreider provided an excellent screen for Ryan McDonagh’s first goal of the year. Without even looking behind him, he knows to get that elbow up in his lane and then move his body. Anders Nilsson had no chance.

Rangers 2, Sabres 1


ppg. fo win. hard pass by clendening deflected by vesey. nash in front.

Sabres 2, Rangers 2


This was a little sloppy by the Rangers. There was a lot of running around, playing the puck instead of their coverages. Buffalo got a lucky bounce which put the puck behind the net with Hank out of position. Nick Holden didn’t tie up Brian Gionta, who took the Marcus Foligno feed to tie it. Also, Matt Puempel blocked the first shot and switched with Holden, so it looks like there was miscommunication there.

Rangers 3, Sabres 2


Marc Staal’s initial shot went to the corner, where Chris Kreider outmuscled Rasmus Ristolainen on the boards to chip the puck to Jesper Fast. Staal cut to open ice in the slot, where Fast hit him for the goal.

Sabres 3, Rangers 3


Hank was having a great third period until this goal. It was a bad angle shot by Jack Eichel that he honestly should have stopped. Dan Girardi’s snow angel didn’t help either, but he was covering for Ryan McDonagh, who stepped up at the blue line and missed. Eichel had already burned Fast in the neutral zone and had a step, while Michael Grabner was slow to react to cover Eichel. There was a lot wrong with this goal.

Sabres 4, Rangers 3


This started with Evander Kane blowing by Girardi to get a loose puck in the zone for a chance. With the Rangers scrambling, the puck wound up on Eichel’s stick with Lundqvist way out of position and on his side. Eichel’s pass to Kane went off Mats Zuccarello’s skate.

Even Strength Corsi


This is just ugly. After the first, the Rangers looked like their controllers unplugged.

Even Strength Scoring Chances


But hey, at least they stayed competitive with scoring chances. Right? RIGHT?

This just wasn’t a good game by anyone. The Rangers haven’t played solid hockey for a full game in at least two weeks, probably closer to three at this point. It’s beginning to look a lot like last year for the Rangers. Even with the significantly improved forwards, without better defensive play, this team is going nowhere.

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  • Thank God I didn’t see this mess but look at those charts, just awful. I didn’t want to think it but it sure seems like the same as last year at this time of year.

    On another note, Nash is just a dominant player right now, same with McD. Henrik has to stop 2 of those last night.

  • Last line says it all – this team is going nowhere. And goodbye, Mr. Clendenning. We’ll see you in 7 weeks. I’m sure AV will banish you because you took a penalty.

    • I didn’t see the game but I saw the highlights. Did not see Clendening on the TV screen for any of the Ranger goals against. Took a bad penalty I saw but was solid otherwise, from what I’m reading.

      Meanwhile, G helped the zambonis by sliding all over the ice, cleaning the surface.

      • Yeah he took a holding penalty committing it against Eichel immediately after making a good defensive play. Not a good thing. Jack Eichel also got Pirri to commit a holding penalty in the 3rd also leading to a goal. I thought that despite the penalty Clendo’s overall play during most of the game was better than Klein’s recent play.

        Girardi had a rough night. McD had a few bad moments too and the forwards struggled at both ends of the ice. The flukey first goal made Hank look bad.

        Not a good effort.

          • Dive, cough, dive;
            Clendening gave his fellow BU buddy a long stare. Wasn’t the first time he dove that game either.

          • That’s what star players do. Clendening has to keep both hands on his stick so there isn’t even a chance of that being called against him.

            It’s a shame, Clendening did make a fantastic stop on Eichel ten seconds before he took that silly penalty.

            Also, Eichel is a beast, I’m glad he’s not in the Metro and the Rangers only have to see him three times a year.

      • Best line of the year so far…….funny!!!! Richter1994

        ‘Meanwhile, G helped the zambonis by sliding all over the ice, cleaning the surface.’

    • He actually stood up Eichel (I think) like a boss. IIRC, took the penalty right after. Would like to see him again on saturday. I was watching with a friend yesterday so had to switch back and forth between the Rangers and Isles all night. Frustrating, to say the least.

      • Yes, I thought he made an excellent play before getting called for a hold. He isn’t Bobby Orr or Brian Leach, but he skates better than Klein and passes pretty well. I hope he gets a shot at playing consistently to see what he can offer. He might not work out,but maybe he will. Until the team grabs a first pair Dman it makes sense to try the kid out a bit.

  • Those charts are more kind to the eye than the game. Rangers had nothing. Buffalo kept the puck in the zone for minutes at a time, rotating, shooting, retrieving and just cycling like the Tour D France. Rangers D is horrible. Even on opportunity to clear….with space….sloppy passing led to turnovers and once more zone time for Buffalo. At one point I think Nilsson left the net and got popcorn.
    I for one am beginning to see a repeat of 2015 here. Rangers D is simply not capable.

    • Game sucked, but at least we got this gem of a comment:

      “and just cycling like the Tour D France”

  • and to the saber fans, go scratch with the boos at vesey!

    I mean, really, wake up, you live in Buffalo, its like a depressed, empty city with horrible whether…

    how about you build something, and have a better team too, maybe guys would want to play for you given a choice…

    NYC IS THE POOP, take a big wiff!

    BOOOOOOO Buffaloooooooo

    • I went to school in Buffalo as an undergrad. It was a nice town actually especially for a university student and I have fond memories of my time there in the 70’s. Went to see the Sabres a lot, Gil Perrault, Rick Martin. Good times. That team has a lot of good young players now. I wouldn’t be so quick to diss them, things are looking up for them if the kids develop.

      • I hear ya, I fly up to see the falls and watched a game under Torts time, Rangers blew them out that game, I think we scored 9.

        Nice Barn, Nice food and good beers too…

        I am just sticking up for the kid, NYC and the Ranger org is a way better choice, I’m just saying the fans should at least admit its a better choice…

        Its still NY! not like he went up to Toronto and returned to buffalo as a leaf, or a bruin!


        cheers Peter!

      • I’m a UB grad myself. Loved my time in Buffalo also. Great college town (wouldn’t want to live there though). Fans are die hard.

    • Spell much “whether”? It’s weather lol. That’s a game they’re supposed to win. I still think the rangers look disinterested. I know it’s a long season and there’s gonna be times we look great and times we look like this. I’ve never thought we had enough defense to win it all this year, but I would like to see us get back to the way we were playing. They were existing

  • when you get a win you are supposed to build on it not go back to bad habits which the boys did last night playing a buffalo sabres team that beat Ottawa they let in the first goal and then had a bad third period build boys build

  • Girardi showing his age AGAIN!!, OVERALL pitiful performance, ( including Hank),Its amazing what a difference it makes when you have a superstar play-maker at center ( Eichel) , We have Stephen ( enough said) I want Evander Kane in a NYR Jersey.

    • Why doesn’t ranger management see how BAD stepan is????????
      Why he gets most ice time out of all forwards is beyond me…….
      Kane would be great but the minute he throws a check or gets into a fight he would be put on waivers!

  • Terrible Game – Just plain Terrible all around. You can finger point to everyone for this game. Just a Team effort Tire Fire.
    Bright side of things, Sam and Ron can break any teams curse. Clendo looked like he belonged – He took a bad penalty but made a hell of a play before. Nash is in savage mode.

    And the comment
    That was an odd bounce. Clearly Dan Girardi’s fault

    Hank just needs to pay attention – terrible that Flip of a shot was taken before the Red Line even if Girardi touch the puck he still had enough time to adjust to the bounce

  • Rangers need one more Dman to Round out the Top 4 with Staal, McD and Skiej…Girardi looks slow again, Holden/Clendening/Klien are all 3rd pair at best, but more like 6th-7th Dmen.

    • Holden had a real bad game, I mean, really bad. Both extended shifts in Dzone, he and Staalled were stick checking to their hearts delight and the Sabres controlled the wall.
      Pimple has to go. Limited plays in Ozone, nothing in Dzone; bring up Hrivk, Boo or Jensen instead.
      Team is just so easy to play against, opponent doesn’t worry about getting hit when carrying puck. Soft serve special.

  • Has $tepan carried the puck over the blue even once this year , so predictable with him get to the red line shoot around the boards play D . Hayes and Miller have done nothing since AV has split them up ,if it’s not broken don’t fix it . I know with Buchnevich and Zbad out you need to make changes but please keep Fast where he belongs on the 4th line . Fast thinks D first which is good but not when you are paired with CK20.Can’t we package a 2ed and 3rd round pick and get rid of G to AZ or someone that has cap space . Cost to much to buy him out and would ham string us for 5 more years going forward . Wenow have a great forward group when all are healthy going forward but will not win in the POs with this D as it is now LGR

    • AZ has very little cap room, just a bunch of LTIR cap credits that they would use if they were sniffing a playoff spot.

      They’re not.

    • Lots of guys did not play up to their contract last night, other than Nash. Zucc, Stepan, Hank and Hayes all were no where to be found. The dump and don’t chase offense does not work when you have guys who do not throw checks.

  • Woof that was an awful game.

    There were a few bad bounces against the Rangers, but Buffalo really turned it on in the latter halves of both the 2nd and 3rd periods and buried the Rangers in the process.

    Hopefully this is rock bottom and next game we see the quicker Rangers that move the puck quickly and efficiently. If not, this is going to head south and fast.

  • So would we rather have Matt Pumpel blocking a shot in front of the crease (and caroming to Sabre forward) or Henk in position to save it and Pumpel tying up his man?
    Puck hits off Zucc’s skate and goes in. What is Zucc doing in front of the crease covering nobody?
    What is this Dzone system?

  • AV just gets outcoached and we are soft. No coaching strategy when other teams play a trap to nullify Rangers speed (or what is left of it due to injuries). We all know about our average ‘D’, but AV/Gorton choose to have a team that is not aggressive. Sometimes you just need some big hits to swing momentum, but AV doesn’t want toughness. If you fight, you sit the bench. Does he think this is figure skating?

  • Many players were awful, except Nash, the man’s in a groove right now. Hank needs to accept more of the blame, he was downright embarrassed on goals 1 and 3. Nobody ever looks to blame our 2nd best goalie on our roster. He’s consistently outplayed most nights.

    • Agreed Maz, Nash never takes a night off. Even when he’s not scoring. The guy is the ultimate professional. I paid attention to Fast every shift he was on the ice. I’m not sure why so many are down on him. It’s not his fault AV plays him on the #1 line. What’s he supposed to say…..” don’t move me off the 4th line”? He’s a terrific defensive player. I thought Vesey was very sound last night as well.

  • Not a good game but no point in repeating the remarks above almost all of which have some truth. My overall observation of the last few games is that NYR as a team is less than equal the sum of its parts. Every game has a few bright spots, but overall the team seems out of synch. It is true that two very important players are missing and missed, but it is also true that these are professional players and you can’t drive a square peg into a round hole. Translated, I think AV and his assistants are responsible for this teams decline. They are good people but they have to do a better job of coaching these players (and also selecting the lineup).

    As for HL, he did have a bad night letting in a couple of softies. I don’t think he is a top NHL goalie any more but he still is a good one and should not be accountable alone for team failures. It is a team game and most nights, games will be either won or lost by the team not HL.

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