Game Wrap-ups

Athanaiou’s pair drops Rangers

Andreas Athanasiou scored a pair of goals for the Red Wings as they topped the Rangers 3-2 in regulation. The game was actually 3-1 thanks to Athanasiou’s second, an empty netter, but Brendan Smith scored with less than ten seconds remaining to cut the lead to one. Ryan Strome had the other tally for the Rangers. Kevin Shattenkirk, Pavel Buchnevich, Brett Howden, and Neal Pionk all notched assists.

The loss doesn’t directly impact the standings, at least not for the Rangers. Detroit gains two points and may climb out of a bottom-three spot. The Rangers, meanwhile still have just one win since the trade deadline. However the Blueshirts did control this game for the most part. Remember that Detroit isn’t that good, and it was all Jimmy Howard for the Wings. Per usual, Howard brought his A-game to MSG for the win.

Wings 1, Rangers 0

Frans Nielsen got past John Gilmour, who was harassing him big time, and managed to fend him off before tucking one past Henrik Lundqvist.

Wings 2, Rangers 0

Brady Skjei made a really bad pinch here, which sprung Jacob de la Rose with Athanasiou for a 2-on-1. Kevin Shattenkirk overcommitted a bit to the shot –remember when Steve Valiquette mentioned that if you have two feet in the circle, you’re too far over?– and de la Rose made the perfect pass for Athanasiou to bury it.

Wings 2, Rangers 1

Ryan Strome was in front to tuck in the rebound off Shattenkirk’s shot. Nothing crazy here, just good positioning, and a good shot by Shattenkirk to get it through.

Wings 3, Rangers 1

Athanasiou empty netter.

Wings 3, Rangers 2

Pionk’s slapper from the point was a bouncing one, which Howard had trouble controlling. Smith was in front for the rebound.

Shot Heatmap

Good for the Rangers, but they ran into Howard. Would be nice if they limited those slot chances though.

The Blueshirts have three days off before they play again on Saturday. That begins a rough stretch of four games against playoff teams. We might not see them get a point for the rest of the month.

I kid, of course. We know they are going to get a few of these games to OT before losing in a shootout.

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  • Now is the time for the Ducks, Wings, and Devil to go on an extended winning streak!!!!!!!

    I would love to be in the top 3-4 drafting this year……..

    • The Devils don’t seem to be moving anywhere. They caught on long ago ! We gotta sit pat and hopefully the Wings can fly by.

    • I just don’t see us finishing worse than 27. Maybe the ping pong balls will fall our way after that and we land top 3

      • We are very close to the Ducks, so at least we can be 5th, but I’m still pulling for these other teams to get hot just the same……………..

  • Youth was served last night, against the lowly Red Wings. Chytl and Andersson back at center, Lettieri on a top 6 assignment and Gilmour getting big minutes. All as a preview of 2019/20. Well I didn’t see anything that gave me great optimism for next year yet. Maybe when Kraftsov joins and a FA or two arrives, it will be a better situation, but I do not see any greatness yet.

    We still do not put enough pressure on the opposition goalie. We did play a cleaner game defensively, but the better players in white & red were able to break through. I think the team has lost its edge since the trade deadline deals, so this type of play is to be expected.

    I am hopeful that we get a great pick, make another deal that rids us of a defenseman and we make a move on a UFA.

    • Sal

      Come on Sal, you know that both Gilmour, and Littieri are career AHL players, and won’t be with us next season.

      • Walt
        Maybe so, but I cannot expect too much more than they delivered from next year’s rookies at this point. We need to add quite a bit of talent to this team, and it currently doesn’t seem to be in Hartford. Howden, Chytl and Andersson need to all step up their game. My issue is that i want to return to the playoffs next year, and not seeing that with the current roster. And yes, I am impatient.

        • Playoffs – you’ve got to be kidding. Without Hayes and Zuc this team looks like a disaster next season. Possibly the worst d core in the league. The forwards look incredibly weak as well. I guess the KZB line will be our top line and may be decent although the recent power play woes are not encouraging. Our second line production will likely be worthy of lower 6 on a good team. And league average goaltending.

          Realistically the rebuild is only about 1/2 done and we will be worse next year than the last two. At least this year and last we were contenders until the TD so the season was mostly entertaining until full youth/tank mode. Next year could be youth/tank mode from the get go.

        • Hey Sal, looking at where the Rangers are going I think that developing patience might be required.

          Most of the young people they have drafted and will be drafting are at least 2 or 3 years away from the NHL. There is also an expansion draft looming that is going to figure in who they bring in and what kids they bring up. The ride is going to be bumpy the next couple of years.They are simultaneously trying to stock their farm system which was depleted of talent. I think expecting them to return to the playoffs next season might be an unrealistic goal.

          I am, however, optimistic that if they draft wisely and develop their youngsters, and add a couple of free agents or make trades for skilled players, that they will build a team that will be competitive for a long time.

          • I thought this was a “retool” and not a total rebuild, as per the infamous Gorton letter. Yes more patience is required, but I do want to see an aggressive push to work on the team for next year, especially if our kids are 2-3 years away. We can buy the correct free agents, and not just plug holes that our kids can play in. We should not buy middle 6 forwards or bottom pair defensemen, when those slots could be taken by our existing kids. Guys like Names and Fast are just taking spots away from kids, and I feel they should be gone. Also draft scoring wingers, not just top defensemen.

            While we cannot move Staal, Smith and Shatty need to go. Let Libor and the Swede have a shot at the team. Pionk is okay, just okay.

            I think that Howden, Chytil and Andersson are centers, let them play those spots – and not just the last 9 games. Surround them with the correct talent that will allow them to succeed.

            I am dying for a 2nd line that can score and a top pair that can stop the opposition. Is that too much to ask?

          • I agree that their young centers should be playing their positions. They don’t have anyone else with upside potential so let Chytil, Howden and Andersson fill out the center positions in the next three lines after Zibanejad.

            Yes, I’d like to see Shatty and Smith gone too.

            I think they might need to wait on free agents until they have figured out their center situation and their defense. There is also the damn expansion draft that is coming that will be a consideration because of the limited number of players they can protect and the requirement to protect certain players because of their contracts. Also, they may be able to make some trades because of all the picks they have amassed instead of spending heavily on free agents. They are sorely in need of wingers and Kravstov might still be a couple of years away from being NHL ready so I’d target wingers as much as might be possible.

      • Agreed Walt. I get that they were the most productive players in Hartford this season and should be rewarded. However I wish Gropp would get a few games to see what he has.

  • I thought Chytil showed the clearest signs of his potential last night. I do think he will need to skate with another playmaker to be elite, but he was fantastic against the lowly Red Wings at least…

  • looking to tank is almost as exciting as looking to see the playoff matchups!


    LETS GO 2019-2020 Season… Drop the Puck

    • Agreed. That’s all we have to look forward to. And then perhaps skip to the 2020 draft as well. Then for the 20-21 season we should be the talented and hungry young team who might be dangerous but not quite ready to go all the way.

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