Four questions for the mailbag this week. As always, use the widget on the side to submit your questions.
There was a lot more here, but I’m paraphrasing and getting to the meat of the point, which is the Rangers will need more than Kaapo Kakko and Vitali Kravtsov coming into what they have today. They may be elite potential, but they are still unknowns at the NHL. They will need an additional scorer, and Panarin is the proven talent. I 100% agree here that the Blueshirts do need to add another proven guy. Panarin seems like the easy answer.
Mikeyyy asks: What are your thoughts on the Alex Ovechkin/Andrei Svechnikov fight? Was the last punch and subsequent driving of him to the ice too much?
A couple things here. When I watched the fight, I didn’t think Ovechkin drove him to the ice or gave him an unnecessary punch. Svechnikov getting knocked out was on the punch prior, and it’s a little tough to notice a guy is out until he hits the ice. By that point, your body weight is already moving forward and you kinda just land on him. He didn’t Todd Bertuzzi him in any way, shape, or form.
I like fighting as much as the next guy, and I get that it’s a part of the game. But I’ll tell you what, I won’t miss it if they ban it. It’s causing too many injuries and long term effects. Just not worth it at this point for the 30 seconds of joy.
So here’s the thing with the Islanders – they are being carried by their goaltending. Robin Lehner was phenomenal in the first round, and he and Thomas Greiss had out of the ordinary save percentages in the regular season. I’m not going to look at a four game sample, so let’s look at 2017-2018 compared to 2018-2019.
Their CF% from last season to this season is almost identical. Expanding on that a bit, the Isles average 3 shots fewer per 60 minutes, and allow 5 shots fewer. It’s a net of two fewer shots per game in favor of the Isles. That’s not enough to move the needle. But that’s just raw shots. The big difference is their xGF%, which jumped 5% this year to 51.57%. Breaking that down a little further, the Isles only average .08 xGF/60 more and .48 xGA/60 less comparatively this year to last. The half a goal less is somewhat significant. So they are allowing fewer quality chances.
Assuming Trotz runs the same system in Brooklyn that he did in DC (1-1-3 lock/1-2-2 forecheck and a zone defense), there’s nothing crazy there. The Rangers run something similar, but more of a 2-1-2 zone that focuses on limiting shots in front. I have absolutely nothing to support my next claim from the Isles side, but it’s well known that Quinn’s system was conceding defensive zone entries against by design. My guess is Trotz does not, but again I have nothing to support that claim. I’m intrigued to see how the Rangers do with improved personnel and what the Isles look like if their goaltending comes back to Earth.