Rangers hang tight, eventually fall to Nashville

The Rangers came out strong last night, keeping the game with potential Stanley Cup contender Nashville Predators close for the majority of the game. However The Predators were a little too much for the Blueshirts, pulling away with a 3-1 win. The game was pretty close throughout, as it never felt like the Predators were dominating the Rangers.

Henrik Lundqvist was in midseason form with a strong showing. Pekka Rinne was up for the challenge as well. In the end, it was simply the better team winnng a close game. That is going to happen a lot this year.

Focusing on the positives, the Rangers were strong defensively. Keeping in mind how good Nashville is, they limited a lot of the high quality chances. I can only think of one real Royal Road chance, and Hank got that one. The forecheck was active, albeit not that effective against Nashville’s superb puck movers on the blue line.

In the offensive zone, the Rangers seem to focus a lot on the cycle and sustained pressure. That’s a stark contract to years past, where the Blueshirts were focused on one or two high quality chances before retreating to the defensive zone. I’m intrigued to see how that evolves.

On to the goals.

Preds 1, Rangers 0

This is pretty clear cut. This is the exact moment when Vinni Lettieri and Neal Pionk went to the man cutting to the net. This was a 2-on-2 rush, but Filip Forsberg had all day to tee this up. When you give someone like Forsberg that much time to shoot, he’s going to pick his spot.

Rangers 1, Preds 1

Filip Chytil is quite good. He saw Jesper Fast cutting to the net, and put the puck perfectly on his stick for the one-timer. Great job by Fast to recognize the open lane and cut to the net.

Preds 2, Rangers 1

This was a bit of tough luck, as the refs missed a high stick by Kevin Fiala on Adam McQuaid. The ensuing faceoff was won clean and then PK Subban ripped a beauty over Hank. Hank didn’t see this one, as Kevin Shattenkirk screened him incidentally. The picture captures the moment of the shot, which is when Shatty was crossing in front of Hank. It’s not like Shatty just stood there.

Preds 3, Rangers 1

Colton Scissions empty netter.

Preds 3, Rangers 2

Pavel Buchnevich got on the board, finding empty space in front as Mika Zibanejad wound up for his shot. I thinK ZBad missed his shot, but it went right to Buch who deflected it past Rinne.

With Hockeystats.ca officially offline, I’m going to be introducing different kind of game flow charts.

Game Flow (courtesy of Natural Stat Trick)

Over time, Nashville gained a pretty sizable advantage in terms of game flow from the Rangers. They controlled the pace in longer spurts, especially during the middle of the second period and beginning of the third period. The Rangers had spurts of their own as well, but it was again the longer controlled play of Nashville that proved too much.

Shot Heat Map (courtesy of Natural Stat Trick)

This shows where shots came from. The Blueshirts seem to have a hole on the left side of the ice, both at the net and about 20 feet out. It’s one game, so we shall see if that continues.

As for the Blueshirts, they have an eye for the net. Both goals came from there, as did a good number of chances. It seems their cycle and “triangle” offense will be based around getting pucks in front and working from there.

It’s been a while since we’ve had such a stress free start to the season. The Blueshirts lost, but the game wasn’t filled with mistakes that had us screaming at the TV. It did have one though (how do you have seven men on the ice?). It was a good start, and hopefully this is the kind of team we see all year. They kept it close against one of the best. That’s all you can really ask for right now.

"Rangers hang tight, eventually fall to Nashville", 5 out of 5 based on 13 ratings.

46 thoughts on “Rangers hang tight, eventually fall to Nashville

  • Oct 5, 2018 at 7:02 am

    lot of same tendencies as old regimes, like over passing and inability to keep pucks in at blueline. it may take some time before these get flushed out. like I just don’t get why no one has told zucc yet if you don’t take certain shots … you aren’t playing. its not rocket science. (I think they have special hobbit seats on flights to Winnipeg)

    • Oct 5, 2018 at 9:11 am

      Im all for the hobbit seats on a flight to Winnipeg….The over passing is killing me

    • Oct 5, 2018 at 9:52 am

      Why are Rangers D men so bad at pinching. Skjei, Smith and Staal are still terrible at that or just being athletic enough to keep the puck in from the blue line

    • Oct 5, 2018 at 9:54 am

      One assist for Zuccarello, and a dangerous pass to Vesey that should’ve been another goal if Vesey wasn’t garbage. You’re right again on him, those productive forwards who play with energy on every shift and obviously care a great deal about winning and losing—who wants guys like that on the Rangers?

  • Oct 5, 2018 at 7:17 am

    Thinking this game will be how the season goes. Close game that we fall a little short in. Nice effort. Hank played well. Hayes was invisible. Vesey is announcer favorite.

    • Oct 5, 2018 at 7:45 am

      Way too early for me to even comment on the negative…..Quinn will mold his own team and the slackers will not be part of this rebuild……Chytil and Howden looked very comfortable…..Chytil IMO is going to be a terrific player…….

  • Oct 5, 2018 at 8:00 am

    Staal looked his usual useless self

  • Oct 5, 2018 at 8:11 am

    Yes, Zuch not shooting again….passing instead of a nice prime shot. Some of the newer skaters are not afraid to shot from anywhere. “You got to shoot dat puck to score dat goal!”

    • Oct 5, 2018 at 8:37 am

      i think part of the problem is that he just isn’t very good at it, so that 15 ft slot shot feels like 50 feet and instinctually opts to pass.

  • Oct 5, 2018 at 8:30 am

    I enjoyed the game despite the loss last night. They brought effort and except for brief moments did not look overmatched while playing a very good opponent. There was a lot to like about last night’s game.

    • Oct 5, 2018 at 10:31 am

      Thumbs down was in error Peter.

      Totally agree with your thoughts

      • Oct 5, 2018 at 11:09 am

        That’s OK Swarty, I have been an attorney for a long time. As a result, my skin is even thicker than my skull. ?

    • Oct 5, 2018 at 10:43 am

      I agree. Was quite pleased with the way they played and I think it bodes well down the line. Sure, lots of mistakes … lots of bad plays that we can point to, but for the most part they all looked easily correctable.

  • Oct 5, 2018 at 8:30 am

    It’ll take time .. even in 14 when we went on our Cup run and AV took over, they started off the year sluggish and had to adjust after years of Torts. Takes awhile to get rid of old habits. Just keep playing hard, give that effort … that’s all I want to see right now in the first few weeks.

  • Oct 5, 2018 at 8:32 am

    I liked what I saw from the boys. In context we need to remember that we are a rebuilding team and not forget as part of the process we need to be a lottery pick. Top 5 hopefully Top 3 pick. The better the players play but lose the better trade deadline day returns will be.
    I assure you that Buffalo and Edmonton will soon be very serious contenders. Bouchard was a perfect pick for the Oilers. Can anyone argue about where the Leafs are headed? Sabers will probably be buyers this year and they have 3 first round picks to boot.
    Just develop the players, and in a perfect world Staal, Shattenkirk, Zibby or Hayes, Zuke and Lundqvist will all agree to trades.
    People harp on Kreider and some with legitimate reasons but to me he is not a bad player. I would try and make him the Steve Vickers of this era.
    Keep the season in perspective. Keep your emotions in check. Just enjoy the developmental year and root for the proper decisions to propel the rebuild to a Stanley Cup in hand in 7 years or less

    • Oct 5, 2018 at 8:43 am

      Very good commentary Leather

      I think we will see effort in a competitive team. Might fall short against teams with more talent, but never an easy team to play. If guys like Chytil and Howden use this year to learn, and Lettieri plays tough every night, we have some nice future building blocks.

      I think we need to let Andersson play 20 in Hartford, then he needs to be here as well. Let’s let all the kids learn, and backfill the team with youth as we move off our aging stars for more picks. As mentioned, Buffalo might finally be good, and they already have 3 first round picks!

      Adding a stud or two to a youthful, but good team next year could put us right where we want to be as the Penguins start to age out. Is NJ for real? Are the Isles ready for the playoffs yet? We could easily pass all three next year with the right moves. Let the kids play, learn and grow.

    • Oct 5, 2018 at 8:50 am

      But but but but what about Hanks Cup ? lol … spot on Leather!

      • Oct 5, 2018 at 10:14 am

        Just a friendly reminder, Sieve, that “Hank’s Cup” would be nirvana for Rangers fans (almost) everywhere. He showed last night why he’s the face of the franchise and deserves the title with a terrific performance that kept the kids in it until they got their feet under them. I expect to see a lot of that this season and I don’t expect to see much “tanking for Hughes” from this feisty bunch. They may not make the playoffs but not from lack of effort, led by the guy in goal.

        • Oct 5, 2018 at 12:38 pm

          It’s not the New York Hanks

          • Oct 5, 2018 at 1:00 pm

            Never said it was. I said that most Rangers fans would be thrilled if they win a cup with Hank as their goaltender. Guessing there are a few (who shall remain nameless) that would not be happy because it would ruin their narrative…

            • Oct 5, 2018 at 4:21 pm

              If you are talking about me…how a foolish a statement that is…I would not enjoy a cup run and a clinch because Lundqvist was in goal?…..ok then….cheers

              • Oct 5, 2018 at 11:21 pm

                I hope we both get a chance to enjoy that Leather.

  • Oct 5, 2018 at 8:50 am

    “The Blueshirts seem to have a hole on the left side of the ice”

    Yes, and that Holes Name is Marc Staal (partially kidding)

    At Least Quinn Acknowledged this when we were fighting to comeback, and Staal did not see the ice for the final 7 minutes of the game. Probably the biggest positive to come out of this game was the fact Quinn actually watched the game and played his best players that night in the final 10-12 minutes of the game the most, a far cry from “Sending out the Vets” whenever crunch time hit and showing no faith in our younger guys.

    • Oct 5, 2018 at 1:50 pm

      Yup, I LOVED this. One game without AV, and Quinn puts into context just how extreme AV was when it came to playing favorites. It is not something all coaches do, as was often said in defense of AV.

  • Oct 5, 2018 at 8:54 am

    I liked how Steve Valiquette explained the learning process last night. Basically saying the coach will be talking it up about errors and playing techniques that need to change for the first 2-3 weeks, then players will start to be able to tell themselves what they are doing wrong, this leading to less mistakes and eventually the players playing better…

    Pleasantly surprised at the game on the ice already!


  • Oct 5, 2018 at 9:29 am

    We def have something with Howden…love him

    • Oct 5, 2018 at 9:57 am

      Yep that’s why he’s up here and Lias and down there.

      • Oct 5, 2018 at 12:59 pm


  • Oct 5, 2018 at 9:33 am

    I miss all but the last 10 minutes last night. Did anyone see Namestnikov’s reaction (rolled the eyes) to Quinn asking him to serve the bench minor with 3 minutes to go? WOW! That is one unhappy marriage!!!!!

    • Oct 5, 2018 at 9:39 am

      Yep Names is not long for this team

      • Oct 5, 2018 at 2:07 pm

        I am not necessarily rushing to the defense of Namestnikov for rolling his eyes, because showing up the coach is never a good call…but it does have to feel like a pretty raw deal to him. He has gone from first line on one of the best teams in the league to fourth line on a team that very few expect to finish outside of the bottom third. He had more points last season than any of the LW playing in front of him right now (although, I assume he isn’t bitter about Kreider since he was injured…probably more Spooner and Vesey he could be pissed about having to play behind). That’s gonna be kinda tough to swallow for many guys. He ended up the odd man out, but his talent level is higher than a typical fourth line winger. His skill set isn’t even really appropriate for a fourth line role either, talent level aside. He’s at a point in his career where he has to put up counting stats to get what could be his only long term deal. I honestly can’t blame him for being a bit pissed. Hopefully one way or another, something will happen that works better for both he and the Rangers.

        • Oct 5, 2018 at 3:01 pm

          Management is mishandling him already! If you want to move an asset the best way to get a poor return is to turn the asset. Move Vesey back, he is not the player he was touted to be, and put Namestnikov in his place. Trying to trade a 2nd/1st line winger is going to get a way better return than a pissed 4th liner. It really makes management look bad and negates any type of meaningful return. Of course maybe management is looking to move Vesey and thats why he is in front of Names and Spooner. Oh well! Its better to just be a fan and not a pseudo GM or coach.

          • Oct 5, 2018 at 3:58 pm

            Yeah, I honestly suspect management/coaching is putting Vesey in a “show me” position. Not in terms of proving his contractual demand worth like Hayes, but to prove his worth for sticking around for the rebuild in general. Whether the intent is to trade him or to keep him, they have basically put him in the ideal environment to prove he can become a goal scorer…because if he can’t do it with two above average playmakers and facilitators like Hayes and Zucc, then he probably can’t do it with much of anyone.

            • Oct 5, 2018 at 4:59 pm

              I really don’t see the trade options that others do. My first thought was that Vesey would be resigned for something like $1-1.2M and so his contract was outrageous. If I was right and GMs around the league agree with me, he pretty much has zero trade value. So JG is clearly betting that I was wrong and in that case, he is a keeper. So either way, no trade. Last night at least, JG looked smarter than me.

              I also think the biggest reason Spooner and Namestnikov are still Rangers is that there is not much of a market for them. They can play hockey, but they also cost a lot of money and they are not stars. Such players don’t get you too much – except at the deadline and these guys were traded by BUYERS last year.

              • Oct 5, 2018 at 5:37 pm

                Indeed, if JG does trade these guys (and put Zucc in the group, although I do think he should be considered a step up from this group in certain ways), we should not necessarily expect a haul by any means unless they explode their counting stats way more than expected between now and then. I’m not as outraged by their contracts as you seem to be, but just in general, you definitely can’t always bank on the demand for players like these at the deadline.

  • Oct 5, 2018 at 9:41 am

    Shatty looked really bad to me.

    • Oct 5, 2018 at 9:50 am

      He’s not a defenseman

    • Oct 5, 2018 at 9:51 am

      He’s awful

    • Oct 5, 2018 at 10:06 am

      He was pretty bad but Skjei and his new contract scares the crap out of me. Something about his position defense whenever the other teams are on the attack frightens me. He’s constantly giving the puck carrier the edge to be inside or else he’s way to close to his partner giving the puck carrier to much room to go around him. I remember MDZ having better gaps while defending the rush and being more physical in the DZ than this kid.

      • Oct 5, 2018 at 10:28 am

        Yeah Mint…we have to get better D men around him…We gotta lose Staal, McQuaid Smith and Shattenkirk

  • Oct 5, 2018 at 9:46 am

    My expectations are pretty low so I thought it was a very good showing against a much more talented team.

    Can’t blame refs-BUT- the non-call on the high stick and the embellishment call on Vinny certainly had some influence.

    Overall there was solid effort for 60 minutes – and for this year that is what I am looking for

    • Oct 5, 2018 at 12:54 pm

      I think Vinny should have gotten the only penalty on that play. Looked like a dive to me.

  • Oct 5, 2018 at 12:43 pm

    Not sure why some of you at the beginning of the comments are so low on Zuuc.. ‘He needs to shoot more’. Are you kidding me???

    He had 3 glorious chances in front of the net in which he was totally stoned from one of the best goalies in the league! In fact, I can say he was the best Ranger forward on the ice…. You know who was invisible? Kreider that’s who! But yet, he gets praise here and Zuuc takes heat… I swear sometimes I feel like you guys aren’t even watching the games..

    Anyway, I really liked what I saw, aside from a few breakdowns. That is going to happen along the way until this team gels. However, they definitely looked better then I thought they would.

    Exciting times!


    • Oct 5, 2018 at 2:50 pm

      Zuccarello had 4 shots on goal, an assist, a 53.7 Corsi and a 7.7 relative Corsi last night. That’s a pretty solid game, by old-school eye test or new-school fancy stat standards. Should’ve had a 2nd assist too if Vesey could finish. So it’s pretty easy to see that the anti-Zucc crowd is already not basing their hate in any sort of reality. Gonna be a fun year!

  • Oct 5, 2018 at 1:00 pm

    A few negative notes. The strengths of the team did not augur so well for the long term. Offensively, the team was mostly carried by Hayes-Zucc-Vesey, the soon to be ex-Rangers line. The aging goalie was good and I thought McQuaid vastly exceeded my expectations. OTOH, I thought Pionk struggled and the KBZ and Howden lines were largely invisible.

    And the seven men on the ice issue was bad coaching. With 1-1/2 minutes to go, the Ranger should know that they need to give up the puck immediately to get a Pred off the ice. A rookie coach. Mostly the team seemed well-coached though, so he’ll learn.

  • Oct 5, 2018 at 2:05 pm

    Shattenkirk led all defensemen with 20:41 in ice time. I would guess that is the only time in Ranger history no one played 21 minutes.

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