Game Wrap-ups

Howard, Lundqvist put on a show as Zuccarello wins it in overtime

brady skjei
AP Photo/Bill Kostroun

The Rangers and Red Wings had the rarest of the rare in today’s NHL. They had a low scoring game with great flow that was exciting to watch. Both teams traded chances up and down the ice. The Rangers got shelled in the first, but took it to the Wings in the second and third as their superior roster depth showed.

The story of this game was the goaltending. Henrik Lundqvist and Jimmy Howard put on an absolute clinic, with both trying to one-up the other with great saves. This was a great example of a game that was low scoring but still crazy exciting. The building was deflated when Tatar scored. But then came the Kreider equalizer and the Zuccarello winner to extend the home winning streak.

On to the goals:

Wings 1, Rangers 0

With the Wings on a powerplay, Marc Staal failed to clear, which gave the Wings another chance with the man advantage expiring. Eventually the puck got to Tomas Tatar by the faceoff dot, and he rifled it over Hank. Justin Abdelkader was in front, Hank didn’t see it. I also have a problem with Staal chasing that far out to block the shot, instead of trying to get Abdelkader out from in front.

Rangers 1, Wings 1

Mika Zibanejad won the face off clean to Brady Skjei. Skjei got the puck to the slot to Pavel Buchnevich, who was able to get the puck through to Howard. Chris Kreider was cutting through the crease and collected the rebound.

Rangers 2, Wings 1

Mats Zuccarello. What a goal. What a play by Skjei to draw two defenders to him as Zucc found open ice. The second pass got through. What a finish.

Even Strength Score Adjusted Corsi

This game was relatively even at even strength. The major shot difference was because the Rangers took a bunch of penalties. But boy, look at those numbers. The teams combined for over 120 shot attempts. That’s nuts.

Even Strength Scoring Chances (not score adjusted)

The game flow here is what we had expected from watching the game. Detroit had a major advantage in chances in the first, with the Rangers owning the second. The Blueshirts also owned the third, however part of that is likely due to pressing for the equalizer, where Kreider delivered.

Shift Chart

Here’s the shift chart. Nothing crazy about this, but the lines were a bit of a mess after Boo Nieves left the game. Tough to really gauge match ups after that.

Stick tap to Jimmy Howard, who was the reason why the Wings were in it after the second period. Another stick tap to Hank, who was the reason the Rangers were in it after the first. A great goaltending show. I enjoyed the game, and the outcome made it even sweeter. Heck, I would’ve enjoyed this even if they lost. What a game.

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  • From the previous thread:

    Other than the stops and starts in the first period, which seemed to go on forever, lol, a very entertaining, low scoring game.

    But let me say this, and yes I am biased, I had a birds eye view of that Grabner “trip” that led to the Wings’ PP goal and that was a horrific call. I screamed in disapproval (I never scream at the games) right when it happened and more so after seeing the replay on the MSG board to show that Grabner was merely playing the puck. That could have been the game winner which would have been injustice. Thank God the Rangers tied it and negated the Wings’ goal.

    As much as I disagree with Fast being on the top 6, he is a marvelous player. If the Rangers are going to make any noise this year then they will need 4 productive lines. Putting Fast with Boo will help Boo tremendously and I would love to see Lettieri join them, for a nice up tempo 4th line, with Fast as the “digger” for the 2 young players. I bet they do well together.

    I was at a friend’s house for the 2012 draft. The Rangers were picking 28th. When it got to the 20th pick we both started looking at who was left for the Rangers to pick. We both independently chose Skjei. I got to see him play for Minnesota on TV and loved his skating and his game.

    There aren’t too many players I would trade Brady for, but Trouba is one of them. I keep hearing that Trouba is on the Rangers’ wish list but Jacob will cost a ton. Does McD go in a deal like that? Maybe. I’m not sure if McD has a NTC but the Jets are one of the few very “righty” teams and would probably want a top pair left handed D man. I almost believe that Brady is more untouchable for trade than McD is at this point.

    Raise your hand if you thought that Zuc was going to try and pass it back to Brady instead of shooting in the OT last night (my hand is raised, lol). Zuc has a great shot, wish he used it more often. Very good, and hard fought win.

    • And my reply from the previous thread! 🙂

      Great analysis my friend!

      As for McD, he has a Limited NTC, so he could be moved to certain teams that he presumably would have designated. I’m sure the Wild would be on that list. If they continue to struggle, would they be willing to part with some goodies, and maybe bring a hometown boy back? As for the Jets…would McD be willing to go there in a deal? Unknown.

      I’ve been a Skjei fan from the beggining, just like you. During the raging debates two years ago when discussing McIlrath vs Skjei, and who would be more effective, I was shocked so many out here thought McIlrath would be the better NHL player, when the scouts were all saying the former was a marginal NHLer at best, and the latter was the next Ryan McDonagh. Seemed pretty clear to me.

      First step of course is McDonagh needs to be healthy in order to get a decent return. Second thing is, it will all depend where the Rangers are at the trade deadline, and of course what the return would be. But certainly by next summer, I could see the logic in dealing the captain for the guys.

      • I figured once Shattenkirk was signed there interest in Trouba was over. As for McDonagh if the Rangers want to move him i feel like it would be in an offseason move. I just can’t see them trading him during the season. I think its more likely Nash or Grabner are moved at the deadline if the they are out or are a bubble team.

      • I didn’t think that I would ever want to even consider trading McD but at this point, depending on the return and it would have to be substantial, I think it’s good business to see what the options are there.

      • I was one of the bloggers that a few years ago would of thought McIIrath would’ve develop into a better deferman than Skjei. While Skjei has always been an impressive skater, McIIrath had the heavier shot and the size to make the next step into the NHL.

        Skjei has developed into the better defenceman as he has added a physically to his game and his skill level with the puck has been impressive. How he found Zuc last night all alone in front of the net with 2 players in his grill was amazing. Brady has shown no sign of a sophomore jinx and keeps improving. He is in my opinion an untouchable.

        • Oh no…not another “Untouchable”! I’m not wild about labeling any player other than truly elite ones with that moniker. IMO, those labels are for truly the best of the best. Skjei isn’t there quite yet.

          That being said, Skjei’s play as of late, combined with what he did last year, certainly has him on a path towards that status.

          That’s as far as I’m willing to go. 🙂

          • Bro, you’re looking at just the player, but:

            1) He’s a top D man on the team.
            2) Plays all 3 phases of the game (even, PP, and SH).
            3) Young.
            4) Cost controlled.

            That’s about as untouchable for trade as you can get. If he is traded then its for a select few.

          • No I agree with you….I just hate labeling guys as “Untouchable” unless they are truly special generational players.

            For Skjei, and probably Mika and Buch as well, I’m willing to accept the moniker “Potential Future Untouchable” and certainly agree that they could only be dealt for a select few.

          • To me:

            Untouchable or close: King, Skjei, Zib, Buch, Shatty, and Kreider (the haul coming back would have to be significant).

            Next: McD, Zuc, Nash, Hayes (only because of the shortage at center), Miller, and Grabner.

            Next: Fast, Vesey, and Smith.

            When? lol: Staal and Holden.

            Not tradeable: Kampfer, DD, Carey, Pavalec, and Boo.

          • I largely agree but would reclassify—

            Untouchable (because of contract and age)—Hank

            Untouchable (because it would be insane after just bringing him here)—Shatty

            Untouchable because of the positions they play—Mika and Hayes

            Untouchable because they are Hank’s heir apparents—Shesterkin and Huska (the latter moves off this list once we know for sure the former is coming)

            Only consider as part of a blockbuster in order to get a generational top tier type player—Skjei, Buch, Chytil

            Here’s the sweet spot for me—-very tradeable assets to be used to upgrade team—Kreider, Nash, Miller, Grabner, McDonagh and Andersson.

            Anyone else????….no problem dealing at all as extra pieces in a deal that could upgrade roster.

            I’m just not sold on Kreider. To me, he and Miller are our most tradeable assets. Kreider because he is cost controlled and he teases with his potential. Miller because he is still young with upside. Obviously, in either case, the return would have to be pretty substantial.

          • Kreider is untouchable for the simple reason is that there are very few like him in the league, meaning size and speed.

            He’s annoying, no question. This 2-3 game stretch he’s been great but why not see this 75-80% of the games? He is a dumbass, hockey sense wise, no question, but he has unique physical hockey traits.

            Now, if you trade him for Wayne Simmonds then no argument from me. I mentioned yesterday that Eklund (lol) stated that the Flyers may not re-sign him. I would take him in a heartbeat. Plays around the net, is physical, and an SOB, the kind of player the Rangers could use. I would do Kreider for Simmonds.

            But who else fits Kreider’s mold? Kane, but no way trade for him. Kane is playing for a contract and he does this every time: Plays well in his last year to cash in. He would be more annoying than Kreider.

            So who else? Anyone? That’s why Kreider is basically untouchable for trade.

          • You make a fair point. My old mentor, a HOF GM, told me once that you always are talking pretty much to everybody about anyone. There’s always a chance to pull off that seemingly impossible, incredible deal that can alter the course of a franchise. A guy like Kreider, along with a young player like I don’t know, Chytil, could that land such a player? I have no idea and I have no idea who that person would be. But in my “pretend” GM fantasies, I’m always open to the possibilities.

          • No question that just about every player is “discussed” or “inquired about.” If you don’t ask then you don’t know.

            But realistically, I don’t know of too many matches for Kreider. Simmonds or Landeskog come to mind. But not many in any case.

    • How exactly would trading McDonagh or Skjei for Trouba help the Rangers? Trading one D for another doesn’t really address the Rangers’ issues unless you’re moving one of the spare parts guys and you’re not getting Trouba for any of them. Trading McDonagh or Skjei for a top C would make more sense but even then you’re weakening one position to bolster another unless another D is coming back in the deal and even then that guy would probably be either a prospect or an NHL guy a cut or two below McDonagh and Skjei.

      • I would not trade Skjei but to answer your question as follows:

        1) Troba is one of the best D men in the league and is just scratching the surface of being a great 2 dimensional D man, meaning both D and O.
        2) Trouba is righty, which the Rangers are in desperate need of. It doesn’t seem like a big deal but it is. I have read that PPs are statistically better with righthanded shooters on them due to the angle from which the puck comes off the stick.
        3) Trouba is younger and just entering his prime.

      • LOL, I was really wondering what Zuc was waiting for, to make a good shot or for Brady to get open, lol.

        • And I could respond that he is this good this quickly because of the coach. But then we would both be pulling things out of our asses.

          Fact: 110 game in to his career a 28th overall pick is making us contemplate trading a franchise defenseman all while playing for a coach that supposedly is horrible with rookies.

          • I usually respond to everyone that reply to my posts, lol

            Actually I was kidding in my response to you, as God forbid that I give the coach credit for anything good, lol.

    • It was a trip. He never got the puck and instead got the opponents skates. Pretty simple call. Playing the puck doesnt absolve you of making an illegal play.

      • The puck was at the Wings’ players skates. I get what you’re saying but I thought it was a horrible call and I’m usually pretty fair in my assessments on Ranger penalties.

        Maybe I’m wrong.

    • You’re saying a youngster has developed in to such a talent under AV that we are currently having the discussion of whether we trade Mcdonagh? That does not compute!!!

      • Nah, Brady would have been better, earlier with another coach.

        I have an answer for everything my friend. 🙂

    • Richter,

      Doesn’t matter if Grabner was going for the puck. His stick went right into Athanasiou’s skates and sent him flying. The rule is black and white on this, attempting to play the puck is not a mitigating factor.

      And as an aside, does being at the game add any additional perspective to a play like this? I’m always curious about why so many people add that modifier to their analysis. I get that some folks will mention being at the game when analysing play away from the puck where the cameras might not capture, but how does being at the game offer anything other than a limited view of a play like this where homeviewers get a clean replay (as many times as they want) and some broadcast analysis to go with it?

      Not picking on you, just curious why you think an in-arena bird’s eye view is better than what the rest of us saw on tv?

      • Thanks Chris, you and Al seem to out vote me on this one so I will admit that I am in error on this one. Guess I was too bias, lol.

        As for being at the game, not for a call like this, you actually have a better view at home on replays.

        My comments about being at the game are more about assessing players’ play because you can see what they do away from the puck and also see plays develop easier, to see the “cause and effect.”

        My comment about having a birds eye view was more because I was at the game but still had a good look at the penalty call, so I was actually saying that on a specific penalty call, watching it on TV is actually more beneficial.

    • NYR have one to many random bottom 6 players and not enough legit role guys. I much rather lose Vesey or Grabner for Russell from Dallas, that type of guy would really go well what the NYR have like playing next to Fast. Carcillo was a extra pain when he played for the NYR back in 14 because of how this team was assembled. Nobody would like to be down in a game while containing Mika, Hayes, Nash, Buch and Kreider all to have to face a annoying grinder who’s looking to finish their hits.

      • I’d say between Kreider, Zibanejad, Buchnevich, Nash, Hayes, Zuccarello, and Miller, there is enough top-6 talent to go around.

        The problem isn’t that they have too many bottom-6 guys, it’s that the bottom-6 isn’t very good. Between Nieves, DD, and Carey, there’s some real pedestrian talent toiling at the bottom.

        Lettieri could be a big boost on the bottom-6. Or Chytil, anchoring the 3rd line.

      • I hated when Carcillo was first brought here but I was very pleasantly surprised to see that he could actually play the game and had a pretty decent wrist shot.

  • Eh. I’m gonna disagree that we “owned” the third.

    Overall this is yet another game that Henrik Lundqvist stole for the Rangers. Once again 3 of 6 defenseman (somehow Holden managed to be a positive possession player at even’s despite his partner getting shelled) got hammered in possession leading to long long periods in our end. And the quality of chances against were high too. Detroit had an xG of a very high 3.8 if I remember correctly, while we had a very low xG of 3.04 at evens. Detroit also won the xGF% battle 53% to 47%.

    So wash rinse repeat. We’re going to go down the path we’ve been down three years in a row. Win ugly and be “shocked” when we lose in playoffs, shuffle deck chairs on titanic and repeat next year with no fix to the underlying reasons.

    • John there is no way this team is going anywhere as is. I don’t know where the C is going to come from but they need one.

      UNLESS, it is widely assumed that Miller will stay at C and it is more realistic to get a top 9 winger via trade.

      • I honestly feel they need to roll the dice on either Hayes or Miller. One or the other and trade the odd man out. Question is who. Hayes has been better of late with better underlying metrics, but is that a product of Nash being with him. I said it before, I’d trade high on Miller now. His counting stats look great, but his underlying metrics are really poor. Millers had bad metrics with no matter who he plays with, Hayes has had horrible metrics when lined with Miller. Roll the dice and see which one gets you the better return at this point.

        I’m just glad we dodged that Duchene gernade.

        • Hayes stays, for now, he has to because of the position he plays. But that could change in a NY minute because he’s an RFA with arb rights next year, so that means, what, $4M per for his next contract?

          I will tell you that the Rangers are basically banking on both Chytil and Andersson making the roster as centers next year, which means that spots need to be available for them. That means Hayes is probably the odd man out at that point, with Miller playing wing again.

          So in the meantime what do they do? My opinion is that they play Miller at center for now until 1) Chytil is ready this year or 2) the Rangers trade for a wing because there are no centers available at a reasonable trade cost and leave Miller at C for this year. But bet your last dollar that they will do something.

          I’ve mentioned this before but I heard that the Rangers had a “fair deal” on the table for Duchene which was obviously rejected. I do not know who was potentially in that deal on the Rangers’ side.

  • Yes the star of this game was by far Leaky. He played a brilliant game. He willed this win.

    Frankly the Rangers have looked brilliant without McD, so a trade of McD won’t be felt as drastically as some may think.

    Yet again Kampfer was outstanding in this game too. Shatty is coming around defensively but still has a ton to improve there.

    Smith is looking good again.

    This team drastically needs a right shot winger who can be a solid top 9 player along with a top 6 center.

    • 40 save performance by a player you say has been washed up for the last 3 years. A single regulation goal scored. And they look brilliant enough for you to say they should trade their best defender.


      • Ah….bozo at it again….I am simply stating in regards to the rumors of a McD trade floating around, I said it wouldn’t harm the Rangers if he was traded.

        Hey bozo…how about we just ignore each others posts…I think yours are just as ignorant as you think mine are.

    • Agree on the King and disagree on McD.

      How can you say that McD was not missed when your goalie had to play spectacularly and make 40 saves? And the Wings are not exactly an offensive juggernaut.

  • Trading a guy like McDonough is probably something you do only if it is clear that you are not going to be a cup contender. The current defensemen on the team outside of Skjei and Shatty are not supremely talented. If they bring up some kids it will be a learning curve situation. So, you do it only if you are building for the future. Then, you try to get a haul for him because tough and relatively young defenders like him are hard to come by in the NHL. You don’t want to be selling him cheap.

  • Mcd contract isn’t up until 2019 a lot can happen before then. The Rangers should watch how the kids on the farm develop before they make any decisions as whether or not they should resign him.

    I watch a lot of Peg games thanks to NHL Center Ice. The Jets success this year a lot to do with their goalie Hellebuyck who has been lights out. While I like Trouba as a hockey player and agree he is a solid defenceman, he certainly is not better then the faster skating, more skilled Skjei and not worth selling the farm to acquire.

  • So how are the Rangers wearing blue this time for the Classic ? Thought it was a given they are contracted for 41 home games at the Garden ?

    • It is definitely a Sabres home game for the reason you mentioned—the Knicks and Rangers must play all their home games at MSG otherwise I believe they would forfeit their tax-exempt status.

      But obviously, there’s nothing in that deal that says anything about who wears what colors. I suspect both teams as well as the league decided on who would wear what.

        • Yep…..the Sabres this year, as well as the Islanders and Devils four years ago, were more than willing to sacrifice a home game in order to play in an outdoor game. In my experience, most owners subscribe to the Winston Zeddemore philosophy on business— As the famous Ghostbuster would have undoubtedly said, “If there’s a big check involved, I’ll agree to whatever you say.”

          You know, the only two seasons the Rangers played outdoors games (2012 and 2014), the team made two of their most memorable playoff runs of the post-lockout era. And in the latter case, they similarly got off to an atrocious start to the season, only to regroup and make an improbable Cup run. Just saying…..

          Remember that documentary they did on HBO about the Flyers and Rangers leading up to the 2012 game? Does the league still do those?

          • I don’t know about the documentaries but they sure made the players look “human” didn’t they? Really good stuff, almost made the Flyers lovable, lol.

          • He’s missing a few screws …. The best was when they showed the Rangers/Caps game prior and Mics were up and somebody got caught with a high stick I think and the refs Dubinsky and O’vie were chatting and O’vie says “So ur saying probably he’s got soft skin?”! Classic

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