Game Wrap-ups

Rangers top Columbus in comeback win

AP Photo/Jay LaPrete

What a game. If you had told me after 20 minutes that the Rangers would end up winning this game I wouldn’t have believed you. After a dreadful start to the game – it was all Columbus – the Rangers staged a daring comeback win in the third period, with the icing on the cake being Michael Grabner’s game winning goal on a breakaway with 16 seconds left. A win against the Blue Jackets is no joke either, with the team recently coming off of a historic win streak and sitting pretty at the top of the league standings. In second place of course are our very own New York Rangers, who picked up a big two points with tonight’s win.

On to the goals:

Blue Jackets 1 Rangers 0

Nutivaara gets this play started and finishes it too for the goal, first knocking the puck out of the air as the Rangers are trying to clear the zone, allowing Cam Atkinson to scoop it up. Atkinson then sends it back to Nutivaara at the top of the zone, where he walks the line briefly before letting it fly. Not exactly sure I would pin this one on any particular Ranger, but I would note that the Rangers were not exactly cool and composed on the clearance attempt and as a result looked out of sorts as Nutivaara cued up the shot.

Blue Jackets 2 Rangers 0

This is another one that starts off with a failed attempt to clear the zone, although granted the Rangers were short handed so it’s much more difficult to accomplish. The Jackets get the puck down low, where Dan Girardi challenges for the puck. It’s popped out to the goal line for Sam Gagner, who then slides it right across the crease for Atkisnon to finish. A tough break to go down 2-0 early in the game, but it was one among many Rangers penalties – one of them was bound to end poorly.

Blu Jackets 2 Rangers 1

Lindberg gets his first of the season on a beautiful snipe to finish a two-on-one. Rangers clear the puck out of the zone, with Michael Grabner and Oscar Lindberg chasing after it. Grabner makes an excellent stick play to bat it over to Lindberg as two Columbus defensemen are closing in on him, springing the odd-man rush. Lindberg then picks the corner and the Rangers are on the board.

Blue Jackets 3 Rangers 1

Klein chases a puck down low and attempts to clear the zone but has it taken away on a poke check by Sam Gagner. Gagner then continues on down towards the area behind the net, flinging the puck in front as he does so. Hartnell’s in the right place at the right time and the Jackets extend their lead.

Blue Jackets 4 Rangers 1

Columbus shows the Rangers how to properly execute a transition play with this one. Scott Hartnell flings the puck up ahead for Sedlak, who gets in behind the defense. Sedlak then goes straight to the net with speed and puts it home five hole.

Blue Jackets 4 Rangers 2

This one is just a pure, beautiful hockey play. Rangers win a faceoff, Michael Grabner scoops it up, and goes straight to the other end of the ice with it, using his speed to burn the Columbus defense. He lets it rip and the puck goes top shelf, cutting the Rangers’ deficit in half.

Blue Jackets 4 Rangers 3

Adam Clendening gets his first of the season and makes it a competitive hockey game, with Hayes laying the puck off for Miller at the right side half boards. Miller then takes the puck behind the net, where he dishes for Clendening on the left side half boards. Clendening waits a little bit, walks in, and puts a shot on net, making it a one-goal game. Not a great look from the Columbus defense leaving Clendo all that time and space to pick his shot, but I’m not complaining.

Blue Jackets 4 Rangers 4

Clendening shows yet again the virtue of simply putting pucks on net. Fast and Lindberg scrap for the puck on the left side, and it eventually gets flicked around to the opposite side. Clendening is waiting posted up right on the half boards, and he flings it towards the net, tying the game in the process.

Rangers 5, Blue Jackets 4

A thing of beauty. Truly not a lot to say here – Grabner puts his speed on full display and goes to plaid, going straight to the net and flipping a backhand shot on net and winning the game with 16 seconds left. Breakaway goals are one of my favorite things in hockey (I’m guessing I’m not alone here) but especially when they cap off a comeback win late in the third period. My dog is still freaked out by all of the yelling.

Shot Attempts and Scoring Chances

The first period is plainly the worst one here, with the Jackets controlling both the overall shots and bona fide scoring chances. Rangers got a better share of the puck possession in the second, but still not very many real chances. Finally the turned it on in the third period, especially early on when it was all Rangers.

Rangers get a bit of a break now with the upcoming bye week, and what a great way to head into it. After a tough start the Rangers showed a lot of resilience, sticking with it until the very end. Grabner, Lindberg, and Clendening all had standout games, and of course Henrik Lundqvist held things down on the back end, making it all possible. Hopefully the break doesn’t kill the Rangers’ momentum, as stringing this win together with the Flyers game would be a nice way to put things back together after a few tough losses.


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  • A week off now is perfect, especially after a gutsy comeback. Allows the Rangers to heal and get recharged for a second half run. It also allows (I hope) for the coaching staff to take some time and really see what’s been working and what hasn’t.

  • Great getting out of there with 2 points. I think we lose if Bob is in net for CBJ.
    Defensive issues are glaring more and more, its a pattern, its continuous and let’s hope some moves are made.

    Making a run for the cup is 100% possible this year, it is, its obvious when you see the things this team can do. But its not possible with out upgrade on the blue line.

    I have jumped off the sofa that much this year, I was doing my best rocky immatation jumping up and down seeing #40 make that play!

    It’s fun to kick Islander fans when their are down about us having #40


    snow day!


  • Good win, yes we were lucky Bobrovsky didn’t play or we lose……
    Fun 3rd period……..
    The best defense is a good offense!!!!!!!!!

    Maybe AV is reading this blog, he finally starts clendening [I know because stall is hurt] but maybe now he will become regular and girardi/klein sit…..

    You think Millers scoring streak has anything to do with the fact that he is back playing with hayes ??????????????????
    Why did it take so long????

    Kreider is a beast, and will be even better when paired with Zib…..
    Miller and vesey someday will approach Kreider, they have that kind of talent, albeit a bit smaller physically……but that is why you Never trade them!!!!!

    • Since we’re playing Sunday morning quarterback:
      * We lose if Bobrofsky plays? I agree. But what if Nash, Buch & Zib play for the Rangers?
      * What if CBJ wins on Friday and the Rangers game is for the record?
      * What if we don’t catch CBJ on the second game of a back-to-back?
      * Miller is back with Hayes & flourishing. What if AV doesn’t get his attention by putting him on the 4th line for a bit — something that has worked with him in the past.

      What if…….

        • What? Isn’t that EXACTLY what you are doing? We have no idea what would have happened if BOB (he was Sieve-brovsky on Thu night) had played.

          • Bob who had won 15 in a row before the other night. The back up who had played all of 7 games. CBJ up what 4–1 destroying the Rangers. I njoyed the game you take the two points and realize the worst player on the ice was the back up goalie. He should have been pulled.

      • What if the coach played Clendening on a regular basis? What if the coach wasn’t a buffoon? What if stupid left Miller with Hays? Maybe he would have more goals?

        • 57 pts in 42 games, despite losing key offensive cogs to lengthy injuries. The very definition of buffoonish coaching. What a brilliant statement!

          • Hey. Even Phil Jackson could win when he had top talent. AV was he because he has so much ch talent up front that even he can’t screw it up. But he tries to. Having not Girardi drag down whoever he is paired with. Switching lines up every other shift. Girardi would be the perfect 9th D for any team.

          • Let me know when the Rangers have anyone remotely close to Jordan and Pippen (such as a Crosby or Malkin), and then we can have this conversation. Among contenders, we had very few players selected for the World Cup. We have no forwards even listed among the NHL’s top 50 players. As usual, we love overrating our talent.

            This year MIGHT, at long last, be different once healthy. But with an aging defense, this remains a very good but hardly great team when compared to the star power Pit, Was and Chi can bring to the table.

        • What if we just take the two points in a breath-taking game, be pleased with a great win? Could we leave off the coach-bashing for just one night? Maybe? Unless we think Columbus was going to win 50 games in a row, and four series sweeps for the Cup, they were bound to have a bounce or two go against them. It’s a great win for the Rangers. Sheesh.

          I know we all are aware our old friend Torts is the coach of the Jackets; many of the coaching geniuses on this board wanted him out of here in the worst way three years ago. Could we maybe, just maybe, admit that at least some of the professional coaches in the NHL know something about hockey?

          Tough night for me as a Giants’ fan…probably the coach’s fault. Enjoy your week everyone.

          Regards- orange

          • Orange, not only was it the coach’s fault, but the entire Giants team is obviously a bunch of gutless no shows. I mean based on some of the genius commentary I’ve read, we all know someone has to be blamed right? Can’t just be that, I don’t know, on this particular day the opponent was better than we are? No, of course not! 🙂

  • Missed the game live, but saw the replay this morning. Wow!!!! A springboard kind of win for sure. Not bad for a supposedly gutless, heartless, poorly coached team I guess. :). This team of non motivated, soft players and clueless coaches are on pace for a 110 point season. That would be the third consecutive 100+ point season, and while I realize the OT and shootout rules skew this a bit, in a hard cap league that fosters parity, it’s still impressive. It would be only the second time in team history that they’ve done that. And in a season where the expectation was a high 80-low 90 borderline playoff season, this is a significant overachieving campaign thus far by both the players and coaches–especially when you consider how strong the top of the Metro is.

    Also appropriate that AV passed Torts last night of all nights for 4th most wins as a Rangers coach (and I must point out that AV did it in 31 less games than his predecesor, so there’s that!). Nine wins away from Frank Boucher for third place. Best winning pct by any Rangers coach in team history who coached more than one season. And when you look at the roster, I think that other than Hank, we won’t likely see any retired numbers or future HOFers out of this group. Major kudos to the coaches and players for a job well done thus far. If the season ends today, AV is one of the three Jack Adams nominees for sure.

    As I said a few weeks back, if hockey teams were stocks, I’d buy on the Rangers. Three key forwards will be back probably in two weeks. They have forward depth and cap space to make a deal or two to fortify the defense. Hank is going to round into form….I feel it in my bones! If that happens, we have a shot. We are still aren’t better than Pit or Was, but come playoff time, it’s all about who’s healthy and hot.

    The one sobering reality to wrap our heads around is the simple reality that most likely two really, really good teams out of the Metro will suffer a heart breaking first round exit given how strong the teams are. Doesn’t mean the coaches or players suck and are gutless if that happens. It’s simply the reality of a tough playoff draw.

    But plenty of hockey to go until then. Should be a fun ride the rest of the way!

    • I would expect such a comment from someone that would say Tort was such a poor coach. Tort did more with less And he has a Stanley Cup. The other is a loser who has none. It’s not how many wins but what you won. God bless your bias. I guess like the popular vote or the electorate. The popular vote means nothing if you don’t get the electorate.
      You can score more goals than the other team but not win the series.

      • First of all, I have NEVER said Torts was a poor coach. What I have consistently said is that you Torts lovers can’t quite wrap your head around these realities–

        1) Torts was the only Rangers coach to MISS the playoffs during this decade long run.

        2) He didn’t improve the team from the Renney years, at least not record wise. Indeed, you can make the case that the team slightly regressed under Torts.

        3) in this decade, The Rangers most disappointing playoff flame out BY FAR came in 2012 when they lost to an inferior Devils team in 2012. That loss was inexcusable and set the wheels in motion for his ultimate firing.

        4) Neither Torts or AV have had stellar rosters to work with, but AV EASILY has done far more with the rosters he’s had than Torts did with what he had.

        5) in 2013-14, Torts and AV switched teams. The Rangers dramatically improved, and the Canucks dramatically regressed. The year after he was fired in Vancouver, the Canucks returned to the level they were at when AV was coaching them.

        Your point about Torts having won a Cup simply proves my point that winning ONE Cup doesn’t mean you will ever come close again. Look at Torts, look at Crawford, look at Keenan, look at Hitch. Conversely, look at Coach Q before he got to Chicago. Should the Hawks not have hired him, since he was as big a “loser” as AV? If Pat Quinn were still alive and in his prime, or Marv Levy or Bud Grant in football, you think teams wouldn’t be falling all over themselves to hire those guys. All GREAT coaches, even without the ultimate prize.

        A totally bogus argument. I know it’s hard for you Torts lovers to accept, but as Rangers coach, there’s no comparison as to which coach has been mores succesful. AV by a landslide!

  • Good questions….
    Monday morning QB says
    If nash etc play? Not sure
    If CBJ going for record? Not sure
    If no back to back….we lose.CBJ rans out of gas pd 3
    If miller was not placed on 4 th? Had he stayed with hayes , he would have many more points and better production, he gives 100% every shift, didnt need demotion

    • AV is now 4th on the all-time wins list for a NYR HC — after 3.5 season. I’m going to go with his opinion about how to get the most out of the players he watches like a hawk during every shift of every practice and every game.

      • Come on, Rod. Stop making sense. Don’t you realize how much better the Rangers would be if we would just fire the coach and find ourselves some interim mediocrity?

    • First of all, you are mistaken Rich. Columbus did not play back to back. The were off Friday. Tonight’s game is the second of a back to back. Fatigue is a legit excuse tonight, but not yesterday. (But since you mentioned it, I don’t recall you giving the Rangers a pass when their schedule was demanding a few weeks ago. Yet somehow, it’s a legit excuse for Columbus? Got it!)

      As for Miller, you are looking at him with rose colored glasses. By his OWN admission, he’s had trouble with giving 100% effort every shift. He clearly was NOT playing well and got a well deserved demotion. This is a player who is very talented but who still has maturing to do. He’s made strides, but it’s BECAUSE the coaching staff has kept him on a short leash. But I forget, our young players MUST be handled with kid gloves. They can never, ever, ever be benched. It they are coasting through shifts, as Miller has done for a sunstantial portion of his young career, no big deal. Just play him anyway!

      You do realize that NO coach would do what you are suggesting, right?

      • EEE,
        You are right about the back to back….ooops…

        As far as miller benching, if he is not giving 100% I will still take his play over [girardi, stepan, anyone else not named kreider] because he is an exciting, driven, hustling, physical player every time he takes the ice IMHO.

        In 7 years I have never seen Stepan move or hustle like him, yet I dont ever remember him getting benched……nor for that matter last year for Nash, who certainly was not anywhere close to what he is this year….

        These guys may be young but like kreider it takes time to perfect their game and perform like kreider is now….I believe it would be far more conducive to their development if they were rested periodically so their bodies can heal and recharge…..

        • Rich, you are missing the point. AV and most coaches will not bench veterans when they struggle. You show confidence in them becaus they have a track record of reliability and success.

          What gets a player benched is lack of effort, not lack of performance. Miller and Hayes have had these issues. Has AV ever benched Kreider? No, because even though he has struggled through the years, effort was never in question with him.

          There is no greater coaching sin then allowing poor effort to fester. That’s the difference.

  • Great win for this team going into the break. Bob plays we lose because their back up was ECHL like last night no disrespect to the ECHL. Fasth,Lindbergh and Grabner are a skilled,tough never back down 4th line. They get after it and can create scoring chances. When Nash, Mika and Buchnevich get back that 4th must stay together.

    The defense needs help because when pressured they fold and leave Hank hung out to dry. A run for the cup isn’t real unless there are changes to the back line. The Rangers aren’t going to out score their way to raising the cup.

    I’m tired of watching Dan out of position, guys beating him on the outside, along the boards the snow angels and on and on and on. Can’t imagine what the King must feel. Last night was just ugly. AV put him back with McD but when the game was within reach in the third he put Skjei back with Ryan. Maybe the stubborn coach is seeing what’s really best for this team. But the dismissal of Clendening’s play last night when asked was like wow.

    Did Stepan play last night? What I meant about the young core cutting their teeth is trade Stepan and get rid of G. Turn the team over to the new core and let them have their run now. The old core fell short which is ok but move on from the Sfepan’s, Danny G and even Nash if a superstar can be had.

    • Wow, you must be a hoot to be around when this team actually loses a game.

      Last night was probably the most exciting game of the year, topped off with a 4 goal third period for the comeback win. And not a single word of yours isn’t dripping with cynicism.

    • Come on Harlem. Why do excuses apply to Columbus but not the Rangers? Maybe their backup goalie would be better if Torts had actually chosen to play him more. He made the choice he made, now he has an ice cold backup.

      Columbus was thoroughly outplayed for the back half of the game. That’s not all on the goalie.

      Girardi is going nowhere. Same fro Nash. In the latter case, the Rangers are NOT going to trade their best player when they have the second best record in the league and said player has an enormous cap hit to boot. The Rangers would get nothing but cap relief in return. Could it happen after the season with one or both? Sure. But virtually no chance now.

      Stepan is not old. He’s having a string season. The top line is a beast, and he’s part of the reason why. Trade Stepan and I GUARANTEE the PP and PK takes a hit. And he’s clearly a leader on a team lacking in strong personalities. Losing Stepan weakens us SIGNIFICANTLY.

      Now, that being said, I’m not against trading him prior to the deadline IF the return is significant, but I doubt he will be dealt. I do think it’s likley he’s dealt this summer because of the NMC kicking in, not because of his performance.

      • The goalie left the door open by not making routine saves which gave the Rangers the jump they needed in the third period. The Rangers were dead but the CBJ goalie didn’t make the saves. I’d say this both teams healthy the Rangers take them because of more speed and skill.

        • Granted Harlem, the goalie should have had Clendenings shot from a bad angle, but when the Rangers put on that sustained pressure, he acually did make 3 or 4 very good quality stops on them. The first goal Hank let in, was questionable, so things tended to even out somewhat. With that late game surge by the Rangers, completely outplaying Columbus, it’s totally possible they could have still pulled it out regardless who was in goal. I would like to see the Rangers play more with that intensity, consistently. I can’t wait for them to get healthy again

      • EEE,
        Must disagree Nash is having a terrific year [ all facets of game] but our best player????……What about Kredier , Grabner ,Zib before the injury? Have you watched miller fly all over the ice?
        Agree Stepan is not old, he is just slow ….but our power play went south when Zib got hurt. Take Kreider away from him, he is our 3rd center at best.

        • I agree Rich Stepan is in no way key to the PP or PK.If one really watches that line it’s Zuccarello and Krieder that drive it. Miller and Hayes have been beasts on the PK. Since Nash went down you don’t hear Stepan’s name mention on the PK. The GM should be looking at what’s missing and can he get that piece or pieces for a fair price. I hope Groton doesn’t do something foolish. I don’t care who wins the regular season title it’s the cup I want to hoist at the end. Two in 75 plus years and the Red Sox’s and the CUBs have won the WS. That’s how bad things are.

          • Harlem-

            One cup in 75 plus years is irrelevant to management’s thinking.

            Want to know how bad things are? Check the standings. We are contenders and I suspect Gorton will make his decisions with that in mind. depends on what’s out there and the cost

        • Rich-

          I fear that you fall into the same trap that others out here default to–overrating our young players, or making a judgment about a player based on a small sample size.

          Nash is, BY FAR, our best player not named Hank. When healthy, he’s a legit 35-40 goal scorer who’s a great two way player. Players like that don’t grow on trees.

          Kreider? He’s having, at long last, a great year. But after being teased forever by our would be star, I’m not ready to annoint him yet. Let him put together a full season of greatness before we crown him as “best player”.

          Grabner? You can’t be serious! He’s been a wonderful pickup for sure. But best player on the team? He could flame out at any moment. Let’s enjoy what he’s doing and not put him into a category he most certainly does not deserve to be in.

          Zib? Again, seriously? He has intriguing potential, no doubt. But he has a long, long way to go before he’s a “best player” candidate.

          Miller? It’s amazing to me how so many out here overrate him. He has a lot of talent, no doubt. He was great for like four weeks last year, otherwise he was largely a disappointment. He was excellent when the Rangers were at full strength early this season. But when players went down and it was “next man up” time, he did his usual disappearing act–to me a big time red flag. He’s a young player with upside, but he’s also been a very inconsistent player with documented work ethic issues. Like Kreider, let’s see a larger sample of sustained excellence before we annoint him.

          • EEE,
            I rate players based on their performance, what they do on the ice……how they play, how much effort and how often they are involved in positive plays…
            When I see Kreider, Grabner, Miller, Zib, Nash[this year], Vesey[potential]…..they are guys [power forwards] who have great talent, speed and strength that drive to the net and create numerous scoring chances for themselves and their teammates…..
            Stepan is a nice player, a good 3rd line center BUT by no means anywhere as valuable as the aforementioned players. NOT even close…..slow, soft shot, non physical, terrible on faceoffs and needs kreider and zuc to get points.
            How many times have you seen miller go end to end with the puck , and create scoring chance, esp when AV has reunited him with hayes? I have been watching hockey since 1969 and IMHO he and probably vesey will be in or near Kreider territory!
            And do you honestly believe Grabner has not been one of our most valuable players this year with all his clutch, key goals?
            This team is loaded…..Tortorella teams had gaborik, callahn, dubinsky, stepan?…..currently AV has 9 premium forwards…..I was not a big tortorella fan but to be fair he had very little to work with, thats why he went defensive style…..He adjusts his coaching to fit the talent, he also won a cup with st louis, lacavileir, richards and very little else,that team had no business winning a cup! Way overachieved, while AV teams have won 2 -3 pres trophs and Zero cups! Way underachieved!

          • I can’t help but laugh… Stepan is a 3rd line center?????

            50-60 points as the 3rd line center. Well that makes sense

          • He has 9 GOOD forwards when healthy. There is no established star power, which history has proven is essential to winning it all. To overcome that, EVERYTHING has to break right.

            To suggest that Torts OVERACHIEVED here and AV UNDERACHIEVED, despite the fact that the 2013 playoff team and the 2014 playoff team shared 16 players in common is the biggest bunch of nonsense I’ve ever heard. But hardly surprising.

          • Nash is a terrific player, [some years] and [ never during playoffs,]
            BUT why is he 9th on team in scoring and has LESS points than Nick Holden?????

            Yes he is injured again….so how can he be our best player?

            Right now he Is NOT our most valuable player…….I think Zib [ no.1 center] is more important to the team , besides kreider, grabner , maybe hayes ,miller and mcadaonagh..

  • Some one above said, the best defense is a good offense. I still lean towards the defense wins championships philosophy a little bit too.

    and isn’t it obvious that we would win last night if N,Z,B were all healthy, we won the game without them..

    I think AV had a stronger team then Tort did right off the bat…

    still poetic he wins this game to pass the grey beard

  • The goalie let a couple of soft ones in , over the glove ala King style ……. the first goal was a ? on The King , other 3 were some nicely setup goals and the one out of the air was a beauty. Much needed 6 day rest then a few more for the all-star break and then the final push,who knows what will happen if they get healthy and grab a D-man …. see the Laline hit ?? Wow

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