Game Thread

Game 67: Play better?

jt miller jussi jokinen

The Rangers won last night despite being outplayed, but a win is a win. Tonight they continue their trip through Florida with a date in Sunrise against the Panthers. The Panthers have been riddled by injuries all year, but are finally healthy now and in the thick of it for the final playoff spot.

The big thing for the Rangers will be to consistently apply offensive pressure. In the NHL, the best defense is a good offense, and a good offense controls the puck and applies pressure regularly. That begins with a forecheck and continues with a good cycle and getting numerous quality chances. It’s something they haven’t done consistently this month.

Panthers Systems

Tom Rowe is the new guy in Florida after Gerard Gallant was unceremoniously dumped at the curb. I have no insight into his systems, as this is his first NHL gig. More to come.

Panthers Lines

Jonathan Huberdeau-Alex Barkov-Jaromir Jagr
Jussi Jokinen-Nick Bjugstad-Reilly Smith
Thomas Vanek-Vincent Trochek-Jonathan Marchessault
Shawn Thornton-Derek MacKenzie-Colton Sceviour

Keith Yandle-Aaron Ekblad
Mark Pysyk-Alex Petrovic
Michael Matheson-Jason Demers

PP1: Jagr-Marchessault-Barkov-Huberdeau-Yandle
PP2: Smith-Trochek-Jokinen-Vanek-Ekblad

James Reimer gets the start

Rangers Lines 

Chris Kreider-Derek StepanMats Zuccarello
Pavel BuchnevichMika ZibanejadRick Nash
Jimmy “Hayes” Vesey–Kevin HayesJT Miller
Brandon PirriOscar LindbergTanner Glass

Ryan McDonaghBrendan Smith
Marc StaalNick Holden
Brady SkjeiSteven Kampfer

PP1: Zibanejad-Buchnevich-Nash-Miller-McDonagh
PP2: Stepan-Miller-Kreider-Zuccarello-Holden

Henrik Lundqvist gets the start.

Injuries/Scratches:  Jesper Fast (shoulder), Michael Grabner (hip) Kevin Klein (back), Dan Girardi (ankle), Adam Clendening (healthy), Matt Puempel (healthy)

Crazy Prediction: Glass doesn’t get into a fight.

Game time is 7:30pm. Gifs are on @blueseatblogs. Be sure to follow our snapchat (blueseatblogs) too!

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  • Yes I certainly hope he does not get in a fight, I just hope he can hold his stick today …. that was a helmet he was hitting when not landing the upper cuts and low side shots … While I am here, with Tanner’s low minutes, meaning more minutes for the top 2 lines, why do they not score more? Are they not in good enough condition to play a few more minutes at a high level? Do they expect points from Tanner in his 5 minutes? Do NHL players not love getting more minutes? Then use those minutes productively and get that rubber in the cage!!! Also I read that someone called Tanner not fast as in skating speed, I would put my money on him against 70+% of players in the NHL even at his age.

  • GMs met today and ruled to keep offsides rules –and reviews– as they are, specifically that trailing skate must be on ice to qualify as onside.

    I brought this issue up a week or so ago when the Rangers had a goal called back. I sincerely feel that this micro-analyzation of offside plays violates the spirit of the game, and the offside concept itself.

    The rule is in place for one purpose: to prevent players from rushing behind defenders and receiving a stretch pass from outside the offensive zone, which if allowed would prevent defenders from participating in offensive schemes because they’d have to camp well in reserve to prevent these sorts of plays. The rule serves a purpose, and I appreciate the rule. However, micro-analyzing two players rushing the zone by reviewing a blown up frame-by-frame view of whether the puck or a skate fractionally passed the blue line first is ridiculous. If a referee couldn’t reasonably make the call, it shouldn’t be overturned. Waiving off goals as a result of this hairline gap between lead and trailing players is resulting in voided goals that were otherwise well within the spirit of the offside rule, and it seems to be a drawback of the modern game.

    • Agree with you. It sucks.

      I was all for it, but have changed my tune over the past couple of years.

    • I guess they felt that only 9 goals all season being overturned was not enough of a reason to change the rule. I always thought instead of changing the rule that has been around since the 30’s you change the replay rules. For example to challenge an offsides you have only so long to do it or something along those lines.

    • For what it’s worth, I was at that game and sitting along the blue line. As the play happened, I mentioned I thought it was offsides so I really wasn’t surprised they ended up overturning the call.

      That being said, the missed offsides call had no impact on what eventually was a goal and the extremely long review completely changed the momentum in the game.

      • What — It was hugely important. The goal was reversed. Moreover, the Rangers spent over 20 seconds in the zone before scoring the goal. The clock was running on their play, but because of this bizarre rule, no goal could possibly count.

        So here is the effect. 25 seconds of PP time (or whatever). If you don’t score, you are out 25 seconds. If you score, you get to repeat the 25 seconds. That is absolutely unfair.

        And actually McDonagh had his skate on the line and lifted it up to move it behind the blue line, he wasn’t even going in. Absolutely egregious reversal.

        The fact that there were only 9 reversals means the rule has done little good. The cost has been 29 delays and at least one bad reversal. The notion that the change should be kept because it has not done much is just idiotic.

        At the very least, if the team has been in the zone for seven seconds, forget about it — maybe even three seconds.

    • They could solve the problem by reducing the width of the blue line from 12″ to 6″, but, of course, the dinosaurs in the NHL wouldn’t even think of that. It would cut down on offsides in general I would think.

    • Stupid rule. Stupid decision. But, what I’ve come to expect from the NHL. Too bad a great sport has to be run by such a Mickey Mouse league.

    • Actually he wasn’t dumped at the curb. He wanted go go by cab, instead of the teams offer to look after him, so they called a cab. Let’s get it right.

  • Too bad they aren’t playing Ottawa twice instead of the Panthers. I read somewhere that Ottawa wasn’t going to make the playoffs (probably due to poor advanced metrics) and for that to happen the Panthers pretty much have to win both games against the Rangers.

  • Game 67: Play better?
    March 7, 2017, by Dave

    You could have said almost every day Dave. “But they’re record!!”

    Yes, will we remember it after the playoffs are over for them?

    • Brace yourself Tomy and other Ranger fans. Prepare yourself for the 13.5 second TG15 #grit forecheck. Don’t get a beer or have to pee, you might miss the turning point of the game like last night!!

      • LOL John, but we were both wrong on this one. The Rangers played one of their better games and Tanner had an impact on the game.

        Bizzaro world, lol.

  • I know this doesn’t have anything to do with this blog but I don’t get it. I’m seeing a bunch of fans getting on Steppaan lately that I do understand. The thing I don’t get is how come Zucc gets a pass? I’m not trying to say Step is playing fin or anything like that but Zucc went just as long without scoring and had 1 goal in a million games whic as an open net goal and yet I didn’t hear anything said really. I realize Zucc battles along the boards an all but I always see fans say they wanna see goals or t least assists. Well right now Zucc has 1 more assist. They’re tied at 12 goals. Step is a plus 16 Zucc is plus 12. I’m not getting on either one cause to me nobody is reallly scoring and they will work through it. I’m basically asking a question

    • Zuc is a fan favorite. He plays tough, much tougher than his size, scores a decent amount of points, and is a bargain at what he gets paid.

      Stepan is the anti-Zuc. Very low key, expected to be a #1 center, and is paid like one.

      Zuc drives possession even when he’s not scoring. My complaint about Zuc is that I could rip his eye balls out every time he passes when he should shoot the dam puck.

      Stepan is invisible when he’s not scoring and his contract makes him a target. He’s really trying to be traded before July 1 when his NMC kicks in.

    • People getting on Stepan just don’t understand the game. Why would it be any better if they did a second dumb thing and went after zucc?

      • People absolving Stepan just don’t understand the game. If they weren’t so dumb they would have traded him last year or before they gave him that ridiculous contract.

    • The whole offense is in a slump, not just Stepan. But somehow Stepan is the whipping boy.

      Clearly, he needs to be better. He’s been a disappointment for sure. But what about our supposedly “untouchable stars” like Miller, Hayes and Kreider. They are proving that they are neither “untouchable” nor “stars”. They are at the moment what they’ve always been–very good but hardly great players that are unwilling or unable to put a team on their back for any lengthy stretch of time.

      The Rangers are in a scoring slump. It happens. The offense will regain its footing eventually. But for the Rangers to make any kind of playoff run, they have to do what they’ve done in the past….contributions up and down the lineup. This is the “no-margin-for-error” team we’ve had for most of the past ten years. To advance, the whole must be greater than the sum of its good but not great parts. If that doesn’t happen, we have no chance against the elite teams.

      Injuries, erratic and unreliable offense, defensive issues all season, moments of disappointing goaltending, integrating young players into the lineup. Most experts thought a low 90s point total and a borderline playoff team would be their result. And yet, somehow, despite the issues, they are on track for a remarkable 107 point season.

      Yep, the coaching sure has been dismal. :).

      And anyone who actually believes that AV has any chance of being fired this summer after just recently being signed through 2020 is clearly delusional. Not happening. In fact, I didn’t have a chance to weigh in on this, but when you look at the quotes at the time of AV’s signing, and combine that with the lack of a typical Ranger “all in” approach at the deadline, it’s evident to me that Gorton realizes that this team is flawed, that little is expected come playoff time, and that AV will NOT be judged on what happens in the playoffs this season. The likely scenario is that AV was convinced to re-sign based on his belief that Gorton will have the team primed as a legit contender either next year or the year after. That’s when AV will be judged. He gets a pass this post season IMO.

      • E3

        How about making some adjustments to the offensive game, instead of always going for the stretch pass that the entire NHL is shutting down?

        You see anything like that coming form the man behind the bench ?

        Didn’t think so!!!! It’s that time of year where the ice surface shrinks, or so it seems, when defenses tighten up, and we can’t play wide open hockey. You remember when coaches coached a certain way in the regular season, and then another when things got ??????????????

        • But Walt, you have to have the personnel and the practice time to make adjustments. This team is what it is. Change for the sake of change is usually counterproductive.

          The Rangers are 2-1 in their last three. 2-3 in their last five. 5-3-1 in their last nine. 11-4-1 in their last fifteen. They are exactly in free fall here.

          And, correct me if I’m wrong my friend, but aren’t you always criticizing AV whenever he makes any line changes? Haven’t you been preaching patience and continuity with the lines? 🙂

          • E3

            We have played this type of game since the guy got here, and everyone knows what is coming, the Process has to change. We are into the 65th or so game, there is no excuse for the garbage they need practice, that rings hollow my man.

            As for the line changes, when has Marv kept any line together for more than a shift, please!!!!!!!!!!

    • People see Stepan’s NMC/NTC about to kick in and are weary of it. They see his cap hit and make the false correlation of cap hit to “star power” or expected production. Most Ramger fans live in a bubble of only Rangers hockey. Patrick O’Reilly had just recently signed his contract with the Sabers as we were tending to Step contract. The two players were at the time nearly identical in actual production and expected production at the same position, hence we signed him to fair market value.

      Because some players don’t “fit” into a preconceived image of a player at a certain position, they’re “bums”. Stepan isn’t Messier therefore he’s “bad”. Yandle isn’t Leetch therefore he’s a “turnover machine”. Kreider isn’t scoring 50 goals like Graves so he’s “worthless”. Yes these are extremes but actual paraphrased statements from Ranger fans either here, Facebook or other social media outlets.

      And normally when presented with solid evidence that disputes their theory, it dissolves into unmeasurable notions or name calling.

      • I agree with you. Step earned his deal and is being paid what he should be paid. That being said, this clearly hasn’t been the season I expected and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s dealt before the NMC kicks in.

          • Preconceived image of a player: Glass plays he can’t skate and has no skills. Fast has no hands but he is a great defensive player..Girardi blocks shots..he is a dinosaur blah blah blah..New York is about to win 2 in a row after their recent call ups. Bring on the statisticians.

    • Because Zucc plays with heart, while Christy is like a slow moving robot, just going thru the motions !!!!!!!

  • Jagr is a testament to hard work. That is the only way he still plays the game at his age, along with a pretty damn good pair of hands.

    • Ya, many bloggers on here think a player is washed up if he’s over 30. Mark Messier was 31 when the Rangers acquired him. Chris Chelios was amazing in his mid thirties.

      • Yep. I remember fans saying, especially after the 1992-93 debacle, that Messier was washed up and that that deal would be another in a long line of Ranger busts!

        And as for Chelios, mid-thirties? Heck, he was incredible into his forties. Just an amazing player.

  • With Glass back in the lineup, I truly was filled with dread. I actually expected the Four Horsemen of the Apocolypse to show up this morning in retribution. Or at the very least a plague of locusts to descend across our great land. Or maybe a cataclysmic earthquake!

    But no, I woke up this morning to a beautiful day and a Rangers win. Truly remarkable considering the worst player in the history of the sport, who never mind that fact played ten minutes a game on one of the most successful teams in Rangers history two seasons ago, was back in the lineup.

    I don’t know how the Rangers will survive this. I truly don’t. 🙂

    I’m no fan of Glass. I could care less if hes on the team or not. Did his presence spark the team yesterday? Possibly. Do I think he’s the answer come playoff time over better choices? No I don’t. But having him on the roster at the moment is no big deal.

    These discussions about players on the margins like Glass or McIlrath are entertaining, but have little to do with winning or losing. What DOES matter is that our best players need to start playing that way. If that doesn’t happen, the whole Glass discussion is irrelevant.

    Let’s Go Rangers!!!

    • E3

      Missed you there, long time no post. I agree with your entire post, (what you say), but the point being made is not Glass, but someone who will be there to cover others backs, and let them play to their capabilities. It must be something between the ears on some players, knowing that they are getting pushed around by everyone, and no one there to protect them. I don’t want Kreider, Miller, or even Klein breaking their hands defending themselves, I want a skilled player on the team, a Matt Martin, a Tom Wilson, to be there to take the load off of our skilled players, and let them do their thing !!!!!!!

      Play back the final minute of Saturday’s game, enough said………..

    • Trouble is that, according to you, it is a team with only one star & mostly lesser lights, so how does a team like that win anything.

      • To clarify, I have said with mostly good (even very good when playing well) but no truly great players. I did not say “lesser lights”. Who are the “great” players I am overlooking?

        This team is what it is. They can be entertaining and often successful. You don’t agree but I believe they are well coached and the record after 3+ seasons clearly proves that. When it’s all clicking, yes, they can compete and beat anyone but it all has to go pretty much perfectly in terms of health and performance. Other than Hank, there are no future HOFers on this team like we had in 1994 or like the Caps, Pens and Hawks have now. Very hard to win it all that way.

    • Eh well I’d rather debate who’s in the lineup or out than who plays wing on what line, and see a blog full of everyone’s line combos every day 🙂

  • Crazy prediction: Tanner Glass wins it in overtime on a break away! I can hear Sam Rosen now…?

    • I’m so glad! Not a Glass fan but you have to admire his perseverance. He clearly is very well liked and respected in the room, and even though the fancy stat disciples say he stinks, I think he brings intangibles that are hard to measure. I feel the same way about Girardi, despite his obvious regression in performance.

      Tanner Glass…sparking the Rangers……Got to Love It! 🙂

    • Glass has played very well these two games. No major mistakes, all the while hustling his @ss off every shift. Dare I say, he almost looks fast out there.

      Good positioning to get the rebound goal, and good positioning driving to the net to provide a screen for Holden to score. Certainly adding more than Puemple brought to the table.

  • Amazing what happens when you go to the Net !! I see why the power play is horrible … Everyone looks like they skate in mud … Hank made two great saves in front of us .. On to the second

  • Keep forechecking the Panthers D boys because they are soft as a baby’s @$$ & turn the puck over a lot.

  • Poor Tom Rowe, right about now he’s wishing Gallant was behind the bench. He looks so depressed, if I were him I’d see a psychologist tomorrow. Another goal & watch him go apeshit on the team.

      • LOL!! Man, did you see that blowout on the bench in about his second game behind the bench and the Cats were stinking up the joint. He was so red with fury, I thought he was going to have a stroke.

        • Chris Drury Jr, D Stepan, another bad signing, and lacked speed, and was nothing more than a 3rd line center!!!!!!!!!!

          • I love me some Clutch Drury. How can you rag on him? Class act, true leader, 2-way forward who did all the little things right and came up with big goals at important times.

          • Step reminds me of Drury, slow, two way player, did little things like not score, and cost us a fortune.

            I’ll say one thing about Chris, at least he knew when to hang it up, knowing he wasn’t the player he was when he was younger, and damn sure was a leader.

            On the other hand Stepan is becoming a liability on the PP, isn’t productive, is soft as baby shit, what else can we ask of him, other than ask for a trade !!!!!!!!!

  • Wait, so how is that not a penalty? 6 skaters plus the goalie…. I mean they blew the whistle when Panthers had the puck, yet don’t actually penalize them for it? Bizzare.

  • I’ll look forward to reading tomorrow how this was not the right kind of win and how it signals doom for the playoffs.

  • Hank made some great saves …. Lots of shots .. Some high quality shots but as a whole the D let him see most everything …… Stepan can’t skate for shit , I have no idea how he’s stayed in the NHL …. Glass played a great game overall … He can actually skate and back checked his ass off a few times … The first goal against he was there but just missed the tie up …. Overall good team effort , the forecheck kinda slowed in the 3rd , to many penalties and the PP is just useless ( any way they can decline the power plays ??)

    • Twice in one night you complimented the King. I’m impressed… And also waiting for the other shoe to drop.

      • Said it a bunch of times …. You just keep getting hung up on the screen name to see it!!!we were sitting on his left shoulder top of the lower bowl

          • For some reason most times they don’t show up when they come down here or maybe it’s too much sun !! Panthers fortunately are rebelling against the new coach it seems . They struggle big time ,especially if it’s a small market team ,last night 50/50 crowd and was about 2/3’s full …. Great building by the way

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