Game Wrap-ups

Lundqvist returns, but Rangers fall to Ducks

Photo: Ryan Kang/AP

The Rangers fell short in Anaheim on Sunday night, losing to the Ducks 6-3 and delaying their chance to clinch a playoff spot by at least one more day. Henrik Lundqvist reassumed his customary starting goaltender spot after an eight game absence, and some rust was certainly evident.  Though none of the goals were directly the fault of The King, he was victimized by some big rebounds and traffic in his crease, allowing five goals on 33 shots.

There was some news before the game even started that caused a stir. Dan Girardi was scratched from the lineup, as Alain Vigneault shocked the masses and benched the veteran in favor of Kevin Klein.  More notable than the move itself was Vigneault’s reasoning, as he cited Girardi’s sub-par performance – not his injury – as the primary reason for the decision.  Regardless, Klein didn’t exactly acquit himself well (though he too just returned from a long layoff) and wasn’t helped by a rare off-night from captain Ryan McDonagh.

Despite a strong start to the game, the Rangers went into the first intermission tied 2-2, though they probably deserved better.

Rick Nash opened the scoring, finishing a 2-on-1 by taking it himself and beating Jonathan Bernier through the five-hole.  The goal was Nash’s fourth in his last four games.  Patrick Eaves then scored his first of two goals on the night to tie the score, slamming home a rebound just three minutes later.

The highlight of the night may have been when Derek Stepan finished a perfectly executed tic-tac-toe passing play from Chris Kreider and Mats Zuccarello for his second goal in as many games.  It was arguably the Rangers’ prettiest play of the season, but it was unfortunately erased by Ryan Kesler’s power play goal with two minutes remaining in the first.

Special teams continued to trouble the Rangers, as they conceded a shorthanded goal by Josh Manson after Mika Zibanejad tried a behind-the-back pass to the point, leading to a Ducks counterattack.  However, Zibanejad atoned for his error, making an incredible play to knock Sami Vatanen’s cross-ice pass out of midair in the neutral zone and set up the game-tying goal.  Zibanejad fed Jimmy Vesey who set up Brady Skjei for a blistering one-timer that Jonathan Bernier had no chance to stop.

The third period was dominated by the Ducks, as the Rangers did not record a shot on goal until several minutes in.  Two quick-strike goals – by Andrew Cogliano and Eaves just 2:04 apart – put this one out of reach.  The Rangers mounted a comeback but couldn’t beat Bernier again, as Nick Ritchie’s empty-net goal provided the final margin.

After beating the LA Kings on Saturday despite being out-shot and out-chanced, the Rangers could not replicate that success in Anaheim.  While the final stats appear to show a relatively even battle, the Rangers were outplayed for large stretches of the second and third periods, only generating any consistent offense after the Ducks took a two goal lead.

The Rangers did not get enough good performances from their top players in this game, as Ryan McDonagh fought the puck all night, and the JT Miller-Kevin Hayes-Michael Grabner trio was repeatedly burned by Ryan Getzlaf (four assists in the game!) and his linemates.  Alain Vigneault stuck with this matchup throughout the night, even though it was clear an adjustment should have been made.

Blueshirts fans will now turn their attention to Barclays Center.  An Islanders regulation loss to the Nashville Predators tonight will put the Rangers in the playoffs.  If that doesn’t happen, the Rangers will have their next chance to clinch a playoff spot on Tuesday night in San Jose.

Show More
  • Ducks are a heavy, burly team that are tough to move when they put themselves in front of the net. We may need an answer for that in the future. Interesting benching of Girardi. Aanti showing he wants to be our number 1.

  • and the beat goes on….

    Perry is a cheap SOB eh! That hit on Smith was bush!
    Kudos for Smith showing his coconuts!

  • Rangers looked tired in the third period,both mentally and physically. Kreider and Zuc had jump, but the rest, meh. The Rangers can beat this type of team on a consistent basis.I thought Girardi was slow, but Staal is an absolute turtle,especially his first three steps.

  • I will give all of you that Hank was not sharp. So what?

    Next, let me present to you JT Miller. 2 goals in 21, 8 points in 21. Another looong stretch of nothing in an uneven career so far.

    And let me also present Kevin Hayes. 2 in 20 and 4 in 30.

    So how long do we actually wait for those two to not struggle for long stretches of time.

    And can we all stop about Pavel Buchnevich please? If I see one more blogger post about his points per 60, I’m going to unfollow you as fast as possible. He has 2 in 22 and a grand total of 6 points. He has 8 points in his last 5 hours of ice time. He gets pushed around and looks terrified. Last two nights, NO shots on goal.

    • Players, especially young ones, go through droughts. You need to look at their trajectory. After 26 and 30 game mini campaigns, Miller has put up 23 points in 58 games, then 43 in 82 and is now 52 in 76. I’m not sure what more you are expecting.

      Unless you’re talking about elite, game breaking players, the 4th year breakout is commonly considered a reasonable time frame.

      If you’re unimpressed with what Miller and Hayes, to a lesser extent, is doing this year then I think you’ve set the bar too high.

      • I’m unimpressed with JT Miller AND Kevin Hayes. JT Miller down the stretch is exactly what he did last year, too. He has one maybe two good stretches a year and the rest is less than acceptable. He should be hitting his prime. He’s clearly not. Hayes and Miller on the PK have been atrocious of late.

        • Is there a forward on this team who doesn’t fall into that category?

          RE Miller not ‘hitting his prime’, I’d disagree. I think he’s projecting nicely to have a 60 point floor over the next number of seasons. And all of this without significant PP time. He get’s scraps on the 2nd unit. Top powerplay usage typically can account for 30% or so of a players points, so if he does find himself cracking that top unit I think you’ll be more satisfied with his production.

          In his early years, I put Miller’s comparables as TJ Oshie and Brayden Schenn. In regards to production, he’s tracking ahead of schedule. Perhaps you have him in higher company, and he isn’t meeting the expectations that come with it.

        • I have to agree Al. JT & Hayes, while not scoring, are not doing much of anything else either. Invisible on the score sheet and pretty invisible on the ice. They at least need to make their presence known out there by hustling, hitting, or making some great plays in the corners, which, IMO, they are not. Their whole game has deteriorated since their offensive game has disappeared. Many make excuses for players they like, and I make barbs at players I don’t. As you know, I am not a Stepan fan, but I can not say anything about his defensive game or his playmaking game even though he didn’t score for 23 games – why, because he plays hard both ways. I have to give him that. I cannot always say the same for JT and Hayes.

    • all players go through cold stretches and hayes/miller are clearly on one right now – they will bounce back and continue to play well (hopefully in time for the playoffs). Lest we forget Rick Nash was playing like shit for most of this season and a mere 10 or so games ago Derek Stepan couldn’t have bought a goal in a monkey whorehouse with a sack of bananas. Buch on the other hand is rookie playing on the 4th line. What do you expect?

      The offense is good but inconsistent. I think we should be less worried about not scoring more than 3 times and be more worried about being scored on less than 6.

    • This is real good for rangers , now a smart GM will sign both long term at reasonable money based off this year……
      Their lack of production of late is nothing to be concerned about, esp miller…..he is a stud and will eventually be kreider #2…….same with vesey, buch….all future studs……best young group we have ever had …..
      How can you watch these players and not see the talent??????/
      As they all continue to grow. put on weight, mature, get some more muscle….you will have 4 top notch power forwards……
      Buch is 10,000 miles from home, different language, culture and what 21 years old? Never the less you see his hockey sense, talent and ability …he definitely needs 15 lbs of muscle……but again 21 years old!

    • When Tanner Glass is on your line, you are less likely to score. When you put Butch on a line with Tanner Fast you are less likely to score. Look at points per minute and Fast is bad just like Glass, but with more skill. The announcers calling the plays say, wow what a play by Fast but he never scores or gives a good assist.
      Blame the coach for not putting him on a scoring line.
      Did you ever see a house with good bones and other people can not see the what the home can become with the right touch?
      You seem like the person that can’t see the greatness of the team because the designer is visionless.
      The right combination would do wonders.
      Blame the coach it is his fault he does not put the right pairing together.

  • Waddling about, the Rangers layed an egg against the Ducks in the 3rd period, no doubt.

    Well, perhaps they can munch on some Mako in San Diego?

  • Went to both games. At the LA game I brought some friends who have never been to a game before. Their comment was the Kings seemed like the better team but still lost. Raanta looked very comfortable in net and played with great confidence. That was our better overall performance. Girardi had a tough game too vs the Kings. It was painful to watch. AV needed to respond, and he did.
    In the Ducks game it seemed that for anything good we could do we just gave it right back. Until they ran away with it early in the third. Not much Hank could have done on most of the goals against us. We was rusty but not jittery. Bad D positioning, poor coverage and turnovers on most of them. (on the Kesler goal it sure looked like his stick was over the cross bar) Nick Holden looked lost most of the night. Probably the guy I would sit the next game. McDonagh had a tough night. I think the Shorty we gave up sort of summed up how things went for him last night. Best line of both games was Zucc-Step-Kred…Zucc was the best forward in both games. Great hustle on the Stepan goal to get into the play. Also I was right near the bench last night. Kesler started some crap with Zucc as they were exiting the ice. Kesler grabbed his jersey up by the back of his neck and the linesmen jumped right in and nothing came of it; but Zucc did not back down. Rick Nash was a close second.
    Last night would have been a reasonable time to have Glass in the line up. Big nasty team and playing a back to back. Coach has a little experience with Kesler. We did get pushed around in both games.

    • Definitely a tough game last night to get Hank back in. They were clearly gassed and sloppy. I thought Hank looked fine overall – obviously some rust, but also some big saves. I was actually sure that 2nd goal was going to be overturned and the 5th was just an unlucky bounce off Brady’s skate. Mac needs a rest. I’d actually sit him for a game or 2 once they clinch. Zuuc continues to amaze me with his energizer bunny style of play and Nash looked great. I forgot Hayes and Miller were playing….

      • Hayes had some good shifts in LA, but not so much in Anaheim. hit the cross bar on a nice shot. I am beginning to wonder if JT is hurt. He did not play well in either game. In Anaheim when he broke his stick on a shot in the second period and he came back to the bench and just looked deflated.

      • and they mocked me for saying AV, playing him in a game that meant nothing in the standings, for 27 minutes was just fine……..we can’t have it both ways folks!!!!!!!!!

        • it’s fine to play Glass vs Ducks, Kings, Jets..big heavy teams…but vs Florida? what’s he worried about Yandle starting something? Kesler was starting something and no one did much about it…if you have an enforcer, he needs to be brought in to enforce and play in the right situations.

          • My response was to Hockey Sitto, and the remark about Mac Truck looked tired, I should have directed to him , which I usually do when responding to someone…….I agree with you Andy, and your point!!!!!!!!!!

  • Why the hell was Skjei playing on the boards for that faceoff on the winning goal? It took him right out of the play. And Stepan was suckered big time by Kesler. As all know, I am not a big Clendo fan, but I’d rather see him out there than Holden who plays like a statue in the D-zone. The big, strong teams always give Rangers a hard time, don’t they? The Ducks are hitting their stride at exactly the right time, whilst the Rangers are so inconsistent that I’m not getting my hopes up.

  • Interesting that McDonough seemed to be regaining his form since the end of February and the overall defense, while not good, had been better. 2 games paired with Girardi then Klein….dreadful. Just saying…

  • How interesting, I thought Girardi was outstanding in the LA game and the Leaky lovers point to how brutal he was and then the Queen goes in and 6 go in and no mention of that….it was everyone else but him….Rangers need to get rid of HenLeak…main reason for many he has become bigger than the team. Rangers reporting has become biased because of Leaky and no player ever must become bigger than the team.
    Note, the Patriots and Brady….Brady is a household name however the Patriots are still the team and he has elegantly made that clear in is interviews. Lundqvist got away from that, granted not all by his doing.
    Anyone else like Paul Ladue’s game for the kings? Manson for the Ducks? I did

    • Girardi was mentioned frequently during the Kings broadcast because that pair were frequently trapped in their own end for an extended time. The defense for both games were terrible. Score easily could have been just like Ducks game. Rannta was the difference but to blame Lundquist for the Ducks scoring is just hate based.

      • I don’t hate Lundqvist, far from it….point one….point two…Bullshit on Giradi as I watched that game on Kings broadcast as well and q

        • I don’t hate Lundqvist, far from it….point one….point two…Bullshit on Giradi as I watched that game on Kings broadcast as well and quite the opposite was mentioned by the kings broadcasters… They very clearly praised Girardi

          • Imagine that.

            Another teams broadcasters praising the defense pair that is allowing their team to get the most shots on goal, otherwise known as a chance to score. It’s almost like, they want them out there?

            I’m not even sure Albert Einstein could connect those dots it’s so complicated.

          • They should praise him. Between him and the officiating the Kings were given the 2014 cup.

            Even AV noticed how bad girardi was Saturday night. Did you see the game or just listen to the announcers?

          • couldnt agree more……….and our best d man strallman, we decided ti let go………..
            cant totally exonerate hank, given leads going into 3rd period and lost all 3…….
            however the refereeing was brutal…….
            girardi was terrible….
            av poor coaching, no strategy changes…..
            stepan disappeared…….
            the more things change…….

          • From AV:

            ““If you look at Saturday night’s game, both Danny and Ryan spent a lot of time in our own end, if you look at our puck possession numbers when they were on the ice,” said Vigneault, who inserted Klein into Girardi’s spot on McDonagh’s right side. “That pair got caught out quite a bit in our own end. This seemed like the smarter way to go.””

            He’s only 4 years late to the party that cost us a better shot at a Stanley Cup, a second possible Stanley Cup final appearance the following year and defensive respectability

          • You cant get water from a stone……
            His biggest fault , which has cost us the 2015 and 2016 etc etc …is letting strallman go!!!!
            If I were coach, I would have told sather that he was our best defensemen during the playoffs and our # 1 priority is to resign him!!!!
            What does AV expect out of girardi, he was once a terrific player but now he is terrible, physically he can get beat on every play….
            Insert anyone else……..with younger legs…..

    • So Antti and the team get 3 wins (2 against teams out of playoff picture) and 5 losses (all against teams not in playoff position) while Hank is out but Antti is the better option than the Hall of Fame goalie? In that stretch Antti had 2.7 GAA and a .909 sv%. And you know what? He in fact played pretty well but got hung out to dry by his team a lot. In Hank’s 19 starts before he went out with an injury he was 12-5-1 with 2.26 GAA and .930 sv%. Throwing him under the bus after last night’s game is just silly. The team had a very bad night and Hank was average in his first game back in 3 weeks. Give it a rest…

      • I wouldn’t bother much. We’re still waiting on proof that Hank is nothing more than an AHL caliber goalie.

      • Yes, Lundqvist had a good stretch — everyone does. Truth is that if the 16 teams currently in playoff spots make the playoffs and each uses the goaltender who has played the most this year, we have

        Lundqvist is 16th out of 16 in GAA and 14th out of 16 in save percentage.

        Hank has had an illustrious career. This year may not be indicative of his present skill and he may rebound in the playoffs or next year, but let’s not use the word average to describe awful.

        In truth, Hank is still better than Hellberg and almost every other AHL goalie and that is actually saying a lot because frankly those guys are pretty good. But …,.

        • “Lundqvist is 16th out of 16 in GAA and 14th out of 16 in save percentage”

          Because you want the numbers to justify your “theory”.

          Of Goaltenders who’ve faced 1,200 shots or more at 5×5 this season, he’s at .920 for 13 out of a possible 16, and five of those 16 won’t make the playoffs.

          But I’m sure factual facts won’t sway you from your false narrative. It’s ok.

          • John B did you kiss your Lundqvist poster and wash your #30 Jersey…to get that stain off it?
            Your defense of Leaky is just as bothersome as my comments are in regards to the imaginary hero, to the adoring Queen’s fans.
            If you want to bash this player or that player for their decline then guess what Leaky fits right in with these players.
            I will say again Cam Talbot is far better than the Queen. You want to know why I bash Leaky…it is to annoy his fans who would switch teams should he get traded and there are a few of these dudes on this site.
            I am a Rangers fan not a players fan.

            Final note the defense of Leaky being that these players who get bashed leaving him out to dry is sooo not the case. shame on you fans who defend your hero by claiming it is the other players fault.
            That’s what annoys me. I would rather praise Leaky and see us bring home the Cup. Let’s face it this will not happen because we have glaring problems that includes Lundqvist.

          • So you’re a troll.

            You didn’t need to write all of that you simply state, “I’m a troll”

          • That’s the best you got?….chuckling….a troll..brilliant..Takes a troll to know a troll

          • Best I’ve got? No. I never disparage the person, just the thesis behind their theory.

            These are your words: “You want to know why I bash Leaky…it is to annoy his fans who would switch teams should he get traded and there are a few of these dudes on this site.”

            The very definition of an internet troll is someone who willfully and intentionally makes comments meant to aggravate/offend/belittle/disparage another. You’re “comment” suggesting that I, or anyone else who offers factual evidence that counters your “theory” masturbates to a hockey jersey is a telling indicator of your maturity level, thought processes and further proves the allegations that you are nothing more than a troll.

          • Wait – so your defense is that he plays a lot?

            If your goal is putting Hank in a good light, I like your numbers less than mine. With respect to GAA and save percentage, Hank does reasonably well when contrasted with goalies who won’t make the playoffs.

            Now, what do I think of your numbers? First of all, where did the number 1200 come from? Why not 1000? It’s a nice round number, comes to about 25 even strength shots a game for 40 games. That’s the number I would have picked. Maybe you had a legit reason for 1200, I don’t know. But if what you did was pick the highest round number that allowed Hank to qualify, that is cherry-picking.

            Playing time is not irrelevant. However, it is also not a direct function of quality. It is a function of reputation, a trailing indicator of quality.


            By the way, I use the numbers I do because i do not understand why throwing out SH numbers makes them better.

          • Hes got a 8.5 mil contract , he should stop a few , Raanta has what a 900k contract ? Cnat expect much from him but he has played pretty damn good last year and this year but he’ll never get the chance … they’ll play Hank the 5 games in the PO’s and its over , or maybe 6 if he steals one

          • Henrik Lundqvist has faced over 1,200 even strength shots against. Closer to 1,300. Comparing him to goalies who’ve faced almost 300 shots less skews numbers. Therefore, 1,200 is the lowest even number with which to compare him.

            Second the majority of the game is played at 5×5. The Rangers take more penalties than they draw. Once again, including special teams skews numbers all over the place. If team A only takes 5 penalties a game and kills all 5 but let’s in 75% 5×5, it’ll still work out to around a .875 Sv%.

            If Team B goalie stops 9 of 10 5×5 shots, but let’s in 3 of 5 PK shots, it works out to be around a .750 Sv%. One goalie is penalized for actions they have no control over (the penalty called) while another is rewarded.

          • You really don’t understand how statistics work. It is not less fair to include goalies with barely 1000 shots; the same reasoning would suggest that it is unfair to compare Lundqvist to Talbot because Talbot has faced so many more shots.

            It is easier to get exceptional results with a smaller sample size. But a sample 80% of the size is nearly as good AND, since Hank’s numbers this year are rather pedestrian, there is nothing exceptional about better numbers.

            When comparing goaltenders, the main sample size issue is this. Goalies who are not especially good can perform at a high level for a small number of games. Indeed, Talbot was not as good as his 2013-2014 numbers because frankly nobody is that good. However, when you are talking about starters on playoff teams, you are not talking about AHL guys on a streak.

            The number of PK goals against is really a function of PK success and not number of penalties. Most teams are SH more than the Rangers. And maybe it is true that the goalie is not as responsible for PK goals, but I don’t understand why.

            Reality: Hank has had a good stretch this year and has had a bad stretch. On balance, it has been a relatively poor year. He is probably better than he has shown this year, but how much better is not at all clear.

            When a goalie is beaten statistically by his backup in a single year, it is probably a statistical fluke. Four years in a row is another story.

        • Hank has had a decade or more of a “good stretch.” Not another goalie in the league who can claim to be in his league on every metric that matters. And before you give me “he doesn’t have a Cup” last I checked you need a team firing on all cylinders to hoist that trophy. Hank is the generational goalie of the past decade. To say otherwise is to ignore reality.

          • Hate to say it Sittoo but I think the name stays …. Lol … Maybe we’ll get a D man next year ( hopefully not the over priced one !! ) , the kids will have a season under their belts and maybe the new backup will make a run for it …. I know E3 is coming …. Lol

          • I’ve given up on the idea that we will see a name change! Just hoping he proves you wrong and they go on a terrific run…

  • I have to laugh at some of these people who may disagree with your opinion, and have to call you out as a hater…….I like Hank, but others don’t, so let them vent and go on about your day. This is pure BS!!!!!!

  • Really folks the nasty stuff is pretty silly.

    Hank is a HOF tender, of that there can be no real argument.

    But most of this season, due to injury and sometimes due to just being out of sorts, Hank has not played very well. He had a good streak recently, but then was injured yet again.

    You of course start Hank in the playoffs. Antti has nowhere near the playoff experience Hank has accummulated. But, in view of Hank’s struggles this season, you put him on a short leash. Antti has proven to be a very capable netminder. If Hank plays below expectations, Raanta should step in. That really is the realistic way to speak about this.

  • If Girardi & McD aren’t chasing people around and leaving low probability shots, spending extended periods is going to be the result. That isn’t necessarily a problem, but the liklihood of anaerobic excercise makes for fatigue. Sure saw that the next night.

    Klein is just shot right now.

  • Back to top button