Game Wrap-ups

Lundqvist keeps Rangers alive for third period rally and win

zibanejad buchnevich shattenkirk zuccarello
Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

The Rangers came out flat, again. They’d score a goal, then let in a pair. They did that twice, actually, before the third period. The game should’ve been out of reach, but Henrik Lundqvist was phenomenal in the game, making a ton of difficult saves and being hung out to dry regularly.

Then the Rangers rallied for three goals in the third period to take a 5-4 lead. A lead they would hold for the huge two points to stay above the critical four-points-out-of-the-playoffs threshold. In that third period, it was all the Kreider-Zibanejad-Buchnevich line. The Rangers needed their top line to produce, and boy did they ever.

On to the goals.

Rangers 1, Vegas 0

David Desharnais made a great play to get the puck to Jimmy Vesey in front here. Vesey was good at getting position on Shea Theodore and having his stick on the ice ready to shoot.

Vegas 1, Rangers 1

Alex Tuch deked Steven Kampfer out of his shoes. Marc Staal went to cover him –which you can argue is the right play because Tuch now has a partial breakaway, but I’d argue Tuch had no angle and rebound control/coverage was the better play– and in doing so left Oscar Lindberg open to bury the rebound.

Vegas 2, Rangers 1

Three guys go to the shooter at the point. Brendan Smith was caught cheating up the ice, leaving his brother Reilly all alone in front to collect the rebound off the deflected shot. There looked to be a communication issue between Brendan and McDonagh on who to cover in front. Smith looks to slow down before lunging at the last second.

Rangers 2, Vegas 2

Kevin Hayes collected a loose puck behind the net, and threw it in front where Rick Nash was waiting. The pass bounced off Nash, but Mats Zuccarello, who came to the front from the corner, was there to bang it home.

Vegas 3, Rangers 2

There’s only so much Henrik Lundqvist can do. Reilly Smith and Jonathan Marchessault got about 9,000 on the rebound here. The McDonagh/Smith pairing did not have a good night.

Vegas 4, Rangers 2

David Perron penalty shot.

Vegas 4, Rangers 3

What a pass by Mika Zibanejad to find the cutting Chris Kreider on the powerplay. Wow.

Rangers 4, Vegas 4

Fourth liner Pavel Buchnevich does it again. The top line forced Deryk Engelland into a really bad turnover. Zibanejad made a great pass to Buch, who had the empty net tap in.

Rangers 5, Vegas 4

Zibanejad from his spot on the powerplay. Kreider in front for the screen. Zibanejad with a great third period.

Rangers 6, Vegas 4

Michael Grabner empty netter.

Score Adjusted Corsi

The Rangers got the win, so we should be very happy about that. However let’s remember that Vegas controlled 40 minutes of this game. Even when score adjusted, the Knights completely dominated the Rangers until the third. And they were on the second of a back-to-back. The Ranger scored three times on a 4th string goalie.

Scoring Chances (not score adjusted)

That second period was just awful. The fact that Hank only allowed one even strength goal is a miracle, no doubt about it. He’s the reason why it wasn’t 18-2 after two. Let’s not ignore the first, which was also really bad defensively.

Shift Chart

Here’s the shift chart. There’s no real craziness here. That’s what happens when you actually put together four lines that work, even if slightly flawed in the bottom-six. Staal and Kampfer saw too much ice time for my liking, but it’s not like McDonagh/Smith were any better this game.

The Rangers may have saved Alain Vigneault’s job with that come from behind win last night. Of course, it may be too little too late, as they again came out flat and were crushed in the first period. Either way, the good news is that the Rangers didn’t shoot themselves in the foot against a 4th string goalie on an expansion team playing the second of a back-to-back. Baby steps.

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  • Nice story, winning on another tragic day in NYC (thoughts and prayers).

    Awful game. They beat an expansion team, on a long road trip, off a back to back, and against their 4th string goalie.

    The proof? 4 goals in the 3rd period after Vegas clearly ran out of gas after they spanked the Rangers for 40 minutes, beating them to pucks everywhere. The charts above tell the real story.

    This game changes nothing. I went to the game leaving sick to my stomach how bad our team is. To me, no one is safe, coach or player or GM.

    • Agree with your sentiment, but I don’t think Gorton is in jeopardy. The organization has to expect some turbulence while ‘retooling on the fly’. 20 games rarely, if ever, will cost a GM his job. Especially when you consider the brass likely does things by committee.

      I know we all are not pleased with the current on ice product, but in a cap world you often have to take a step back (trade Stepan for futures) in order to take two steps forward (clear cap/reshuffle the deck/ reallocate budget and assets). Look at Tampa Bay….. back to one of the top teams in the East after a couple mediocre seasons highlighted by missing the playoffs last year.

      • Agreed, it’d be truly shocking if Gorton gets canned. Gotta think he’s got a longer leash than the coach.

      • At this point, I would trade the players that would bring back the best picks, prospects, and young players.

  • Greg Joyce-NY Post on line this morning:

    In search of a spark for his last-place team, Rangers coach Alain Vigneault shook up the lines ahead of Tuesday’s game against the Golden Knights.

    Some players reverted to lines they were part of earlier in the season, but the changes affected nearly everybody — only the top defensive pairing of Ryan McDonagh and Brandon Smith was untouched.

    I think I heard this story before????????

    Stick to some set lines, let them develop chemistry, oh well we’re talking to the wall!!!!!

    • Walt,
      This seems like all AV can do ……..change the lines……and once he does that and it doesnt work, his load is shot!..AV is incapable of anything else….., no strategical changes, no changes in forchecking, no changes in defensive assignments, nothing!!!! Never makes any in game adjustments….Time for a new sheriff…….
      And gorton and sather also should be gone……again…..we lost or traded for nothing- strallman, hagelin, stempniak, talbot, raanta and now lindberg, which destroyed our best line in the playoffs……..

      • I have but one question, how many games have they played together?

        It seems to me that defensive pairs seem to know the others tendencies, and play better with time. Hom many different partners has Mac Truck had to play with this season? Just a thought…..

  • Only sign of life in 3rd was ZKB line.
    Defense looks shattered.
    Nice to see that with less than 5 minutes left AV had Boo on the ice with Fast & Grabner. He plays kids who play within their game and show responsibility.

    What is going on with Smith and McD? You can hate AV all you want, but tell me a defense pair that works right now.

    • ZBK line finally together again, after Buch’s exile to the 4th line. If you leave them alone, they can produce for you.

      The defense, which I thought would have been our strong point, is a mess. Can’t explain it, or even attempt to, but it has got to be resolved…….

      Boo, Fast, Grabner makes for a nice defensive responsible line, agree with you here!!!! They earned the time they played.

      • And Buch is tied for second on the team in scoring in spite of being glued to the 4th line. Boo, Fast and Grabner were very noticeable the first 2 periods when everyone else was still napping.

    • If I was a coach and I was witnessing these almost-nightly top to bottom defensive meltdowns, I may consider changing the system. It is clearly not working for this group of defenders. (I’m not sure man-overload hybrid would work well for many defensive corps in the NHL, but that’s an entirely different debate, really.) I think the fact that we can’t honestly tell you a defensive pair that works right now makes that point loud and clear.

      Tailoring the system to address the strengths and weaknesses of the roster at hand is the logical way to approach this. What this coaching staff is doing instead is trying to ram square pegs into round holes. To note, three different defensive assistants…same system, same approach to addressing when it doesn’t work. Heck of a coincidence, that…call me a hater, but I suspect AV might have something to do with this whole thing.

  • I am happy with the 2 points. I am not that sure we get this win against a better goalie, the kid was out of position big time more then a few times…

    I don’t feel that great after this game, not yet…


  • To this day I will never understand why fans do not like Jesper Fast. 3 zone player who is phenomenal on the fore-check and battling along the boards. Every team needs depth like that. No reason to sour on Fast because AV has been known to use him in the top 6 more often than he should.

    • The subtle consistency & professionalism of Fast’s game escapes most dullards. Similar to the idiots who blame Hank for every goal scored on him. Intelligence among the fanbase is in short supply, and scapegoating is the order of the day.

    • I like what Fast does, but he’s never really shown a top 6 scoring rate at any level of hockey except on his junior team during his draft year(of his co goal scoring leaders, 1 is out of hockey, the other is a depth player in the SHL)

      He a good skating winger who’s hard on the forecehck and screws up on picking up the trailer on the backcheck occasionally. Guys like that are littering the AHL; the definition of fungible.

  • Lundqvist was phenomenal? Seriously?
    Talk about bias, first Vegas gave away this game in the final 15 minutes. Their 4th stringer outplayed the Leaky one.

    All the goals the Rangers scored were due to lack of discipline and a bad bounce. Look players like MDZ, Girardi, Redden and Gomez got bashed but Leaky gets a pass? He simply is no longer the player you imagine.

    • Lundqvist is simply the best Ranger to ever wear the sweater, along with Brian Leetch. Nice examples you offered of Rangers to counter Hank’s greatness:

      Del Zotto–a garbage defenseman, a journeyman who’s disappointed all 4 organizations he’s played for.

      Girardi–a good Ranger in his best years, an absolute waste of icetime in his last 3 years with the team. Nowhere near the stature, abilities, or achievements of Lundqvist.

      Redden–hahahahahahahahahaha, what a joke. Overpaid, worthless, uninspiring defenseman whose greatest achievement in the Ranger uniform was getting toasted by Fedorov in the playoffs for a series-ending goal.

      Gomez–hahahaha hahahaha. Another gutless, smirking overrated big-ticket acquisition whose greatest worth to the Ranger org was being traded for McDonagh.

      If these 4 players constitute good Rangers to you, small wonder you’re too dumb to appreciate Lundqvist’s greatness.

      • Just about as dumb as you can get.

        I pointed to these players because this is the level Leaky is playing at. Had he been with another team and was traded for and played the way he has the last 3 years, believe me he would have gotten the same treatment.
        Because he is the darling of many fans, he is getting a different treatment. END OF STORY RIGHT THERE!!!!!!

        • Maybe he’s earned the special treatment, y’know….by being the best player this team has had since Brian Leetch. Not to mention he’s a certain Hall of Famer, he’s been remarkably durable throughout his career, consistent in statistical achievement, and an absolute credit to the team and the game of hockey while in public. No hookers & crack cocaine like Kevin Stevens, no crass and classless comments to the media like Sean Avery, no marrying his in-laws like Martin Brodeur.

          He is an all-time great NHL goalie. If you hate Hank, you are pretty much not a Ranger fan. The guy embodies all that is best in sports–passion, ability, desire to compete & defeat your opponent. And he does it in a classy way to boot. Maybe you should try a different team.

          • No he hasn’t as for being the greatest Ranger in history….BWAAAAAHAHA….dream on

            Maybe for you millennials…as you never saw the other Rangers of past.

            That was truly comical…He doesn’t even rate having his jersey retired but…they will retire it

          • If I keep referring to Leetch as the other greatest Ranger besides Lundqvist, that should clue you in that I’m not a millennial. What you are, on the other hand, is an obviously bitter, bitter person.

          • Man are you hostile to anyone who disagrees with you, tone it down or we will have to request the monitors get involved!!!!!!!!

          • snowflake, now you got balls to say that, up against your chip!!!!!!!

            don’t start, I was making a funny, but you seem not to be able to take, but can dish..

          • I’ve been watching Rangers hockey for 50 years. Hank is without question the best Rangers goalie I’ve ever seen (yes, even better than my Eddie!). As for the “best” Ranger of all time, that’s so hard to say. Leetch, Ratelle, Gilbert, Messier (in no particular order) are my top 4 that I got to see. Hank is definitely in the next group. Anywhere from 5 to 8 in my book.

            Simple reason. To me, given the lack of high end talent around him, no Ranger has ever had to carry his team more frequently over more than a decade than he has.

            Regardless of where he ranks, he is a sure fire HOFer, and will obviously have his jersey retired.

            What I don’t get is why the Hank Haters seem to literally revel whenever he struggles. What is your point? He is an aging goaltender playing on what is right now a team on the decline. Is that his fault? Back when he was approaching UFA status, he was a year removed from his Vezina season. There was no evident option as to who was capable of replacing Hank. And what exactly would the Rangers have done with the extra $4 million lets say? What player could they have signed that would have resulted in a better team result?

            It seems to me the Hank Haters only agenda is simply to hate him. I truly don’t get it. But it’s pathetic.

          • E3

            Emotions run high when it comes to this team, including your’s truly. We have our favorites, and there are players you wouldn’t give squat for. I laugh because when someone posts, and yet another who is of the polar opposite view gets all huffy, it’s amusing.

            I have strong views, and have been known to express them from time, to time. We have had our discussions over the past, civil I think towards each other, but the last year or so that’s changed considerably. Too damn many are getting their collective feathers ruffled, and it serves no purpose. When a person goes back four years of posting to try to make a point, all I can say is get a life.

            This too shall pass…………Hank will get his due when time comes, until then, he may have to concentrate a little harder, and prove he is worth all the accolades. We live in a “what have you done for me lately society”………

          • Nah, I’m a 50 year Ranger fan, top 3 drafted Rangers:


            Technically, Gilbert was not drafted and Giacomin was traded for.

    • You watch a game where Hank a) makes a bunch of great saves to make up for his defense. b) gets beat on the breakaway, which he should have stopped. c) won the F’ing game!!!!

      Their 4th stringer outplayed no one.

    • Dude who illustrates an extreme level of bias against Henrik Lundqvist after nearly every game by constantly beleaguering said player accuses everyone else of being biased toward Henrik Lundqvist. Neat.

  • your analysis of goals 1 and 2 are not true to the fact. Those rebounds were uncalled for. For a veteran goalie to make saves like that just horrible and yes I agree defensive coverage also attributed, same is true for goal 3 exception here is defense did their job.
    Look, I want to make something clear which is I am a NY Ranger fan. I have players I love but never over the team.
    Heaslip, Marois, Chris Kotstopulous and Fotiu, I rooted for players like this too.

    Enough of this bias I am not saying write horrible stuff, just write the honest and factual events. Your assessment of Leaky today was not honest or factual

    • You talk about bias but you are the most anti-Lundqvist poster around. Saying he did not keep them in this game and that his rebound control is atrocious is just not accurate. The only rebound you can fault is on the 2nd goal which he kicked into the slot after a turnover and good shot by Vegas. And again, there was not a Ranger in sight marking the Vegas scorer. On 1st and 3rd goals you either can’t actually be serious about faulting Lundqvist or you don’t know anything about goaltending. I’m betting that it is the former and you are just trolling as usual to get reaction from people who respect Lundqvist for his skill and battle level. But to each their own and I get you wish Hank was no longer a Ranger. Just don’t pretend that you are “unbiased” and those who defend him are not.

      • I became anti-Lundqvist as you put it when it always became someone else’s fault and this started in 13/14 season

        I am 100% serious….Leaky is Leaky and yest Lundqvist contributed to all 4 goals scored against.

        Now look in the mirror Sittoo as what you said applies to you and all other Leaky fans

        • Sittoo is fully correct, Leather. You are absolutely ridiculous with your crusade against Lundqvist. I would not at all be surprised if one of these days you try to seriously blame an empty-netter on Hank.

          • lol….his poor timely goal and soft goal led to the empty netter…yup his fault….this is humor of course

            Look I will say this again….Lundqvist stuff and bias started as by others initially to mask his bad goals but then it morfed into he can’t do no wrong and blame everyone else. As that got out of hand my anti-Lundvist sentiment began.
            I used to like him, I never wish him ill will but I also assess him honestly. He has been a very poor goalie since the Stanley Cup final series against LA.
            He has never had hockey IQ and horrible in handling the puck.

          • Total BS….He was the only reason we were even in the SCF with the way the ice was tilted in that series.

            He was brilliant the next season. Utterly brilliant in the playoffs in 2015 especially during the epic comeback vs the Caps. TB? Not his best series but the defense was ruined due to injury. There was only so much he could do.

            He was out of his world brilliant the start of the next season, when we were getting destroyed in every advanced metric and still got off to a sensational start to the season. That start made it possible to even make the playoffs.

            Last year was his only off season. He has hardly been in a “poor” goalie since 2014. That’s total crap.

    • I think your definition of “not saying horrible staff” needs a serious reality check.
      And it’s not about beeing loyal to a player to a detriment to the team.
      It’s about a baseless hate you show on nightly basis to one of the greatest NYC athletes we ever had.
      Look at your past posts. Win or loose, there is a “get off my lawn leaky” comment.
      Good thing Hank isn’t a woman, or we’ll never hear the end of this.

  • A win for the Rangers a loss for the club.
    It’s amazing how the team can play better when you put players on the right lines. The players can see that the team is put in the best position to win. Even if we did not deserve to win. If the players could see this throughout the season and the playoffs, they would have more confidence and play better.
    Who’s that guy whose mother died and everyone played better? What we lack is faith in the coach to do the right thing when the time comes. Little things can have a big outcome.
    The players don’t want to be responsible for the for their failure. It is a shame management can’t see how the coach enflicts damage to the team.
    This could have been AV’s last game and did you see how he set up the lineup? Why doesn’t AV do that when his team is playing a game 7 and he puts seven defensemen in or the wrong players in. I’m sure to odds of winning goes down with 7 defensemen. Why doesn’t AV supporters see that your odds of winning go down when he puts Glass in or he puts Fasth on the 3rd line?
    Someone said it right, we would have lost if we played against a 1st string goalie.
    The team won but we lost in the long run. Unless of course, AV gets a Lobotomy.

  • I read that the Ranger brass in Montreal the other day not to scout the game, but to talk to Ottawa assistant coach Marc Crawford. Hmmmmm

  • Listened to the game on NHL radio. Dave Maloney commenting on how good Oscar Lindberg was playing. He mentioned Lindberg was the Rangers best 2 way center , during second part of last year and in the playoffs. He was trying to be nice, Rangers sure could use him now, solid two way player, he ended by saying Oh well, life goes on!!!. I hope Gorton and AV were listening and their Bosses too..

  • Lindberg ice time was limited as a Ranger for whatever reason. Now we really see him thrive. I agree with many of the comments. When I look at the lineup of the 4 forward lines and the 3 lines of D, we should be winning. Sure we could use 1 center, but still. You have to look at the coach who either cannot motivate this team or can’t create a new system that works with this group. Gorton, don’t you see that?

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